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Section: abuse, addictions

Dear Ann Landers,
Nearly 14 million people in the United States -- one in every 13 adults -- abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. In addition, there are countless more who binge drink or who may be on the verge of developing a serious problem. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Mental Illness Screening Project are offering the first-ever National Alcohol Screening Day on Thursday, April 8. There will be 2,000 screening sites across the country, 500 of them on colleges campuses, offering free, anonymous screening sessions for a range of alcohol problems. This is an opportunity for anyone concerned about themselves or a loved one to seek education and advice in a non-threatening environment. The program can benefit college students who wonder how many drinks are considered a "binge." It can help if your spouse drinks too much or you have an alcoholic family member and are concerned about the risk of inheriting the illness. The screening can steer you in the right direction if you notice that drinking is interrupting your productivity at work or school. At the screening, participants will hear an educational presentation on alcohol problems and complete a written self-assessment survey. They will have the opportunity to talk one on one with a health professional and will be given the names and phone numbers of support services and treatment facilities in the area. All screenings are free and anonymous. Ann, please urge your readers to take advantage of this unique program. They can find a site in their area by calling 1-800-697-6700 today. No shame, no guilt, just honest questions, honest answers and a helping hand. -- Enoch Gordis, M.D., director, NIAAA, part of the National Institutes of Health

Dear Dr. Gordis,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my readers about National Alcohol Screening Day, Thursday, April 8. Readers, especially college students, if you have any questions regarding alcohol, or if you know someone who could benefit from this anonymous screening, please call 1-800-697-6700 today to find a site in your area. It could save your life or the life of someone you love.

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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
-Ann Landers