Calverton, NY (July 23, 2021) – As part of its response to the deadly spike in substance abuse being felt across the region during the Covid-19 pandemic, Wellbridge Addiction Treatment and Research conducted a professional symposium that examined the genetic and environmental roots of alcohol. Joined by scores of healthcare professionals, keynote speaker Dr. Jessica Bourdon, a research scientist at Wellbridge, discussed the substance abuse threat, its genesis, means of alcohol addiction treatment and how the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated alcohol abuse across all demographics. The event was held at Wellbridge’s campus in Calverton, NY on Thursday, July 22.
“Individuals in our communities continue to battle alcohol addiction, a crisis exacerbated by the isolation and mental toll of the pandemic on daily our lives,” said Wellbridge CEO Andrew Drazan. “Today’s symposium brought our healthcare professionals together to help us further understand the root causes of these addictions as we continue to find effective solutions to helping every individual fight this disease.”
During the symposium, Dr. Bourdon conducted presentations aimed at helping attendees understand that there are genetic and environmental factors that create alcohol addiction disorders, while describing differences between individual and population-level risks for addictions. The group analyzed critical ways genetics influence addiction, including family history and the body’s molecular information. Environmental factors that could influence addiction included exposure to substances, peers, romantic relationships, or trauma. Recent studies reveal a direct link between an individual’s environment and alcohol addiction. A September 2020 survey* showed that 3 in 4 Americans increased drinking during the pandemic by at least one day per month, with a significant increase – 41 percent – of heavy drinking among women. Another survey**, conducted in February 2021 by the American Psychological Association, showed that nearly early 1 in 4 adults (23 percent) reported drinking more alcohol to cope with their pandemic-related stress.
“While there has been considerable and appropriate attention focused on opiates and other drugs that have led to tragedies among far too many Long Islanders, alcohol is harming families, careers, and lives with little fanfare but with enormous destructive power,” stated Dr. Bourdon.
“The thought and the treatment that have been created here (at Wellbridge) is extremely unique, and it’s a place where people can come to really get the support that they need,” said Mike Dzwil, clinical outreach specialist at Newport Academy.
“The emphasis on Wellness is so important, not just to teach people how to stop using, but to teach them how to start living,” said Katherine Mitchell, owner of East End Counseling.