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Help for those struggling with alcohol through the pandemic


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    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV, KSMO) — Some call it the pandemic within the pandemic. Studies have shown the number of people drinking at alcoholic levels during the pandemic is at about 75 percent.

But some may find help and hope in a new medication currently being studied.

“When the lockdowns happened, drinking levels significantly increased,” said Bill Stilley, CEO of Adial Pharmaceuticals. “And the types of drinking, the patterns of drinking, are more harmful.”

Adial Pharmaceuticals is working on a new pill that curbs the desire to drink. Researchers believe they have identified a genetic marker that is targeted to help people control their drinking—a pill to reduce cravings.

Clinical trials of the medication have been very successful. The pill releases dopamine, a natural substance alcoholics usually get from drinking.

“When they did drink they were able to put the bottle back down – so they drank a lot less,” said Stilley. “Let them control the alcohol rather than the alcohol control them.”

For some, alcohol doesn’t just control their lives, it can destroy it.

“I always knew I had a sick relationship with alcohol and with any substance–all drugs,” said Taylor Johnson. “I couldn’t get through a day without drinking without taking a pill or some drug. It got really bad.”

Johnson is now the director of Admissions at Midwest Recovery Center in Kansas City, MO. He first arrived at the facility three years ago—as a patient.

“Completely broken, evicted from my town home, restraining order against me, fired from my job, in debt–I had no hope of anything,” said Johnson.

Johnson found hope at the recovery center and works with others who have struggled.

Jeff Howard is the center’s CEO and in recovery himself. He says alcoholism took his brother’s life. He built the treatment center in 2015 to help prevent more deaths.

“I put our success on the facts that we’ve helped hundreds of people fight this disease of addiction and find a new way to live,” said Howard.

“The thing that scares me the most about this pandemic is that this is happening to high functioning people and they’re afraid to talk about it,” said Howard. “And it’s such a shame.”

They want those struggling to know there is hope—with both therapy and medicine. Adial Pharmaceuticals expect the clinical trials to be finished up by the end of the year. And the medication could be available early next year.

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Article Topic Follows: National-World

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