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{ 10 }  SNJ Today  |  APRIL 6, 2022,                                                                               APRIL 6, 2022,  |  SNJToday.com  { 11 }
             COMMENTARY


                                        Alcohol Awareness



      MAYORAL MUSINGS                                                                                        Albert B. Kelly, Mayor, City of Bridgeton

           ou know I’m being cynical when   In working the night               and their relationship to it is central in their   Regardless of what contributed to the
           I state that February is “Return   shift for Code Blue to           lives, they’re less present in relationships, in   struggle, I think we need to abandon the
     YShopping Carts to the Supermarket”   provide a warm space                their work, in their play, and in the moment.   mentality that condemns the person strug-
     Month. I refuse to be cynical about the fact   for the homeless, I          How much parenting doesn’t get done   gling with alcohol as weak-willed or lack-
     that April is Alcohol Awareness Month.   would venture to say             because of alcohol? How much connecting   ing in character and recognize that this is
     Nothing against other causes, but alcohol   that most of the home-        doesn’t happen? How much potential goes   a medical and biological problem and not a
     impacts so many people in so many ways that   less in need of Code        untapped and how much talent gets left on   moral failure problem.
     I’ll treat it with the seriousness it deserves.    Blue are either actively   the table because alcohol assumes a central   With that in mind, there are four medica-
        According to the National Institute on   struggling with alcohol or had done so in the   place in someone’s life? My guess is that   tions used in the treatment of AUD, includ-
     Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol   past and have now moved on to some other   what alcohol itself doesn’t directly steal from   ing Disulfiram, Acamprosate, Topiramate,
     use disorder (AUD) affects some 15 mil-  substance. Such are the obvious impacts of   a person’s life is still stolen or compromised   and Naltrexone. Some medications repair
     lion adults in the country and beyond that,   alcohol abuse.              by the shame, guilt, worry and anger that   the chemical imbalance in the brain while
     an estimated 88,000 people are dying from   But I’m also thinking about everything   mark the cycle of emotions experienced by   others block the side effects of alcohol or
     alcohol-related causes each year. This trans-  not captured in the statistics, the stuff that   those who struggle daily with AUD.   make someone sick when they drink.
     lates into alcohol being the third leading pre-  is hidden, less visible—the slow and quiet   None of this is meant to condemn or pass   Short term, medications may be the place
     ventable cause of death in the country.  death of a marriage, a relationship between   judgment on anyone who is struggling with   to start. Longer term, wellness will involve
        While the stats say 15 million, my cyni-  parent and child, a career, dreams, or what-  alcohol. I know that for some people, it is   changes in behavior and confronting issues
     cism says that the number is an undercount   ever. These don’t get captured in surveys and   an attempt to ease an incredible amount of   in one’s life. For those needing a place to
     in the same way I suspect the census folks   statistics but they’re real and ever-present.   pain or emptiness in their lives that led to   start, there is an alcohol treatment naviga-
     missed several thousand people during the   There are many whose lives are less than   the struggle with alcohol. For others, they   tor at alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov/. Let
     last census. When it comes to alcohol, there   they should be because while “functional,”   started life down in the count 0-2 because of   Alcohol Awareness Month be your starting
     is the obvious fallout we see every day.   they are still addicted, and because alcohol   genetics and a family history.   place. n
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