R 201
2021 -- H 6245
Enacted 04/15/2021

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Representatives Casey, Shekarchi, Blazejewski, Phillips, Hawkins, Craven, Cardillo, McEntee, Caldwell, and O'Brien

Date Introduced: April 15, 2021

     WHEREAS, Alcohol Awareness Month is a public health program which began in April
of 1987, and is organized by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence as a way
of increasing outreach and education regarding the dangers of alcoholism and issues related to
alcohol; and
     WHEREAS, The Disease of addiction, including dangerous alcohol use, continues to
devastate Rhode Island’s communities and remains a public health emergency that poses a
significant public health and safety threat to the State; and
     WHEREAS, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA) reports that alcohol use disorder (AUD) was the most common substance abuse
disorder among adults in the United States in 2018. In the same year, SAMHSA reported that
around 59,000 Rhode Island adults qualify as suffering from AUD. Unfortunately, only 10.2
percent of Rhode Island adults suffering from AUD receive the treatment they need; and
     WHEREAS, AUD affects every community and demographic in Rhode Island. AUD is a
chronic brain disorder that is characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use
despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences and often goes untreated; and
     WHEREAS, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2010, excessive
drinking costs Rhode Island over $886 million, which accounts for $842 per person in Rhode
Island. These costs result from losses in workplace productivity, health care expenses, criminal
justice expenses, and motor vehicles crashes. About $2 of every $5 of the economic costs of
excessive alcohol use were paid by federal, state, and local governments; and
     WJHEREAS, Alcohol consumption is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the
United States. The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report states that in Rhode Island
there were approximately 337 alcohol attributable deaths each year and 27.4 years of life lost per
alcohol-attributable death from 2011-2015; and
     WHEREAS, Nationally, alcohol-related disorders are the leading cause of 7-day and 30-
day hospital readmissions. In 2013, alcohol use and dependence was the number one reason for
potentially preventable hospital readmission related to a substance use disorder initial admission
in Rhode Island; and
     WHEREAS, Emergency Department visit-related diagnoses increased by 47 percent for
both men and women from 2006-2014, and the costs for such visits increased from $4.1 billion to
$15.3 billion in the same time period. In 2016, alcohol-related disorders were the 10th most
common reason, among all Rhode Islanders, for a visit to a Rhode Island emergency department.
In 2014, alcohol abuse was 8th in reasons for potentially preventable emergency department visits
in Rhode Island, and it was 2nd in those covered by Medicaid; and
     WHEREAS, The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated effects have led to elevated
levels of harmful substance use, including an increase in alcohol use and related consequences.
The dangers of excessive alcohol use should not be ignored; and
     WHEREAS, According to RTI International, average drinks per day and binge drinking
increased from February 2020 to April 2020; and
     WHEREAS, A 2020 study funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism found overall increases in alcohol consumption among adults, including a 41 percent
increase in heavy drinking among women; and
     WHEREAS, Some hospital systems nationally have noted increases in admissions for
alcohol-related liver disease during the pandemic ranging from 30 percent to 50 percent higher
than previous years; and
     WHEREAS, Meeting people where they are in their recovery journey is a critical
component of public health and every setting of care should be aware of the signs of dangerous
alcohol use, trained in assessing and/or identifying AUD, and treating AUD; and
     WHEREAS, In December of 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
(P.L.116-260) was enacted, which included $1.65 billion in the supplemental Substance Abuse
Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant funding as provided as part of the law’s section
dedicated to COVID-19 relief; and
     WHEREAS, In March of 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2) was
enacted, which included $1.5 billion in longer term supplemental SAPT Block Grant funding;
now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island hereby
proclaims April of 2021, to be "Alcohol Awareness Month"; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That this House hereby respectfully requests that the Governor of the State
of Rhode Island, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of
Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, the Department of Corrections,
and the Department of Health consider utilizing the supplemental SAPT Block Grant funding
provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan for these efforts;
and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Honorable Daniel McKee, Governor of the
State of Rhode Island, Womazetta Jones, MA, Secretary of the Rhode Island Executive Office of
Health and Human Services, Patricia A. Coyne-Fague, Esq., Director of the Rhode Island
Department of Corrections, Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island
Department of Health, and to the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare,
Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.