(WTRF) – 100,000. It’s a large number.

It’s also the number of people who die across the country each year from alcohol realated causes.

Every year HELP4WV takes hundreds of calls from people who are seeing negative outcomes from their alcohol consumption in West Virginia. 

During Alcohol Awareness Month, the organization is encouraging people to reach out for help.

Most people when they think about addiction in West Virginia their mind naturally goes to the opioid crisis, but in fact we get a significant amount of calls from people who are using alcohol. Nearly 900 people last year. So, that’s just below methamphetamine and heroine.

Sheila Moran, Director of Communications & Marketing, First Choice Services

The state’s mental health and addiction helpline said that because alcohol use is so common and acceptable in many settings, it’s often the people closest to the caller that realize they need help first. In fact, 85% of adults have used alcohol.

It’s the people in their lives closest to them or their employer. They get in trouble. They get a DIU. They get in trouble at work and their wife leaves or their kids won’t talk to them before they even pick up the phone to call.

Andrea Harrison, Shift Lead

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder include:

  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Drinking in the morning or at inappropriate times
  • Drinking to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Drinking to the point of blacking out or passing out
  • Increasing tolerance to alcohol
  • Neglecting responsibilities and obligations
  • Continuing to drink despite negative consequences such as problems at work, in relationships, or with the law
  • Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence of alcohol, such as driving or unsafe sex
  • Having physical symptoms of alcohol abuse, such as shaking, sweating, or withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
  • Developing health problems related to alcohol abuse, such as liver disease or high blood pressure

Several of the people who answer the helpline’s calls are in recovery themselves, so they can easily relate to what someone is going through. 

For the caller, you can hear it in their voice when you say ‘oh yeah me to’ to let them know that you know exactly what they’re going through. You can hear it in their voice. It becomes less of a business call and more of a ‘holy crap how did I get here, what did you do to get out’. 

Andrea Harrison, Shift Lead

Then, they help the caller find the next steps that are right for them. 

A variety of resources are available to the callers including outpatient services, inpatient services, counseling, meetings and more.

HELP4WV encourages people to call early. They will arrange any services you may need.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 844-HELP4WV or visit HELP4WV.com.