"Carry Me Shoulder High Like A King," Obiaozor Urged His Children.

The epic tales that portrayed Obiaozor the drunkard calls to mind the shameless of drunkenness as WHO shifts global focus of Sustainable Development Goals 2030 towards tackling alcohol abuse.
Obiaozor was notorious for heavy drinking. At every drinking joint, he was known as "anwụ" (Bee) while others refer him as "mkpọfụlụ (sugar ant) for his love for palmwine which he often mixed with his "a kpụlụ a chịa" (a nickname for locally refined alcoholic spirits).
The only way Obiaozor would drink palmwine without mixing it is if it has lasted for two days or if it was tapped from an "akpala nkwụ" (fallen old palm tree).
It was difficult to determine when he is sober or drunk. He was a very merry man but his drunkenness was a shame to his family.
When Obiaozor's wife heard that her husband was drunk and that he fell into a drainage channel, she pleaded with her two sons to go and bring their father home.
Although, Okoagọ and Ọkwụaṅyụsi the sons ofOko Obiaozor were not happy with the idea of their mother, they dared not to disobey her.
So, when they finally found their father by the roadside comfortably asleep and messed up by his vomits, they assisted him to his feet before Okoagọ lifted him to his shoulder.
Obiaozor opened his eyes halfway and tried to put up a futile resistance but realized he was on his son's shoulders. He smiled as he muttered: "Buni m, o bubu kwe bu eze" (carry me my sons, this is how kings are carried).
Enraged, Okoagọ was forced to put him down.

The story of Obiaozor and his family is the reality in many homes today.
Alcohol and alcoholic beverages have assumed a princely status in many contemporary societies. In fact, in some culture especially in Africa it is now regarded as the symbol for prayer and communion with divinity.
Being a natural product, alcoholic beverages have become a routine part of the social life for many. This holds true for those who live in social environments with high visibility and societal influence, nationally and internationally, where alcohol is associated with socialization.
Therefore, it becomes easy to downplay or undermine the health and social damage associated with drinking.
Kathleen Davies in  (2018) reported that frequently drinking too much alcohol is harmful to health as alcohol can have an impact on every body system.
How much alcohol a person drinks, genetic factors, gender, body mass, and general state of health all influence how a person's health responds to chronic heavy drinking.

According to WHO Global Status Report On Alcohol And Health (2018), the
burden from drinking alcohol is great and widely distributed.
The report pulls together current knowledge of
alcohol consumption and its risks to health on a global level, the health consequences of
drinking alcohol and policy responses globally and in major world regions.

Health and well-being has an important place in the SDGs adopted by the United Nations on September 25, 2015.

Alcohol is specifically mentioned under health Target 3.5: “Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance use, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol”.

The health and social harms from drinking alcohol occur through three main interrelated
mechanisms: 1) the toxic effects of alcohol on diverse organs and tissues in the
consumer’s body (resulting, for instance, in liver disease, heart disease or cancer); 2)
development of alcohol dependence whereby the drinker’s self-control over his or her drinking is impaired, often involving alcohol-induced mental disorders such as depression
or psychoses; and 3) through intoxication – the psychoactive effects of alcohol in the hours
after drinking.

Several studies reveal that, heavy alcohol consumption is detrimental to health and remains a leading preventable cause of death.

Kathleen Davies in her 2018 Study summarized the effects of alcohol as follows.

1. Liver disease
Excessive alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can affect many of the body's systems.
Alcohol is mostly metabolized in the liver, which is why the liver is particularly at risk of damage.

The body metabolizes alcohol into acetaldehyde, a substance that is both toxic and carcinogenic.

Alcoholic liver disease is influenced by the amount and duration of alcohol abuse. Chronic, heavy drinking poses a substantial risk for its development.

Drinking heavily significantly increases the risk of alcoholic fatty liver, an early and reversible consequence of excessive alcohol intake. Chronic drinking alters the liver's metabolism of fats, and excess fat accumulates in the liver.

Other effects on the liver include long-term inflammation, called alcoholic hepatitis. This can lead to scar tissue.

Over a period ranging from several years to decades, the scarring can completely invade the liver, causing it to be hard and nodular. This is known as cirrhosis.

If the liver cannot perform its life-sustaining functions, multiple organ failure and death will occur. Symptoms often develop only after extensive damage has already been done.

2. Pancreatitis
Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas that often requires hospitalization.

The inflammation is likely related to premature activation of proenzymes to pancreatic enzymes and chronic exposure to acetaldehyde, and other chemical activities in the pancreas caused by alcohol injury.

Around 70 percent of cases of pancreatitis affect people who regularly drink large amounts of alcohol.

3. Cancer
Chronic alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing different cancers, including cancers of the mouth, esophagus, larynx, stomach, liver, colon, rectum, and breast. Both acetaldehyde and the alcohol itself contribute to the heightened risk.

People who smoke tobacco as well as drinking have a higher risk of cancer of the upper gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract.

4. Ulcers and gastrointestinal problems
human digestive system
High alcohol consumption is linked to alcoholic fatty liver.
Heavy drinking can cause problems with the digestive system, such as stomach ulcers, acid reflux, heartburn, and inflammation of the stomach lining, known as gastritis.

As alcohol initially passes through the gastrointestinal tract, it begins to exert its toxic effects.11 Damage to the digestive system can also lead to dangerous internal bleeding from enlarged veins in the esophagus related to chronic liver disease.

Alcohol interferes with gastric acid secretion. It can delay gastric emptying, and it can impair the muscle movements in the entire bowel.

The gastrointestinal tract sustains a considerable amount of damage from alcohol.

5. Immune system dysfunction
Drinking too much weakens the immune system, making the body vulnerable to infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Alcohol causes changes in red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

A drop in the white blood cell count can occur due to alcoholism. This happens because the body's production of white blood cells is suppressed, and the cells become trapped in the spleen.

Each episode of heavy drinking reduces the body's ability to ward off infections. Exposure to large amounts of alcohol and chronic, heavy alcohol use will adversely affect white blood cell production and function over time.

There will be a higher risk of pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), HIV infection, and other conditions.

6. Brain damage
Alcohol is associated with blurred vision, memory lapses, slurred speech, difficulty walking and slowed reaction time. These are all due to its effects on the brain.

It alters the brain receptors and neurotransmitters, and it interferes with a person's cognitive function, moods, emotions, and reactions on multiple levels.

Because alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, it causes difficulty with processing information and poses challenges with solving simple problems.

Alcohol's effect on serotonin and GABA receptors may cause neurological changes that could lead to a reduction in a person's normal fear of consequences to their own actions, contributing to risk-taking or violent behaviors.

Alcohol also disrupts fine motor coordination and balance, often leading to injuries from falls. Excessive drinking can cause "blackouts" or the inability to remember events. Long-term heavy drinking can speed up the brain's normal aging process, resulting in early and permanent dementia.

Until the age of 24 years, the brain is still developing. As a result, young adults are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol.

7. Malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies
Dysfunctional drinking leads to malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies.

This may be due partly to a poor diet, but also because nutrients are not broken down properly. They are not adequately absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood, and they are are not used effectively by the body's cells.

Also, alcohol's ability to interrupt the bone marrow's red blood cell production and to cause bleeding from gastric ulcers may lead to the development of iron deficiency anemia.

8. Osteoporosis
brain with a puzzle piece missing
Long-term heavy drinking can cause a form of dementia that affects memory, learning, and other mental functions.
Chronic heavy alcohol consumption, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood, can dramatically affect bone health, and it may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, with a loss of bone mass, later on in life.

Osteoporosis increases the risk of fractures, especially in the proximal femur of the hip.

Alcohol interferes with the balance of calcium, vitamin D production, and cortisol levels, adding to the potential weakening of bone structure.

People who drink excessively are more likely to fracture a vertebra than those who do not.

Drinking high quantities of alcohol during adolescence increases the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

9. Heart disease and cardiovascular health
Heavy can cause blood pressure to be high by triggering the release of certain hormones that cause constriction of blood vessels. This can adversely affect the heart.

Excessive alcohol intake has long been linked to multiple cardiovascular complications, including angina, high blood pressure, and a risk of heart failure.

Stroke is a potentially deadly complication of binge drinking. Fluctuations in blood pressure and increases in platelet activation are common during the body's recovery from a binge. This deadly combination heightens the chance of ischemic stroke.

10. Accidents and injuries
Drinking alcohol in any amount is linked to car crashes, domestic violence, falls, drowning, occupational injuries, suicide, and homicide.

Driving ability may be impaired with as little as one drink, and a person who drinks heavily is likely to sustain a greater severity of injury with an accident.

Chronic or heavy drinking poses an enormous health risk. Drinking too much, whether on one occasion or over an extended period, can lead to severe and irreversible body damage.

No pattern of drinking is entirely risk-free, and there is no reliable method of predicting how or when an individual will be harmed as a result of the chronic heavy drinking of alcohol.

Girls who suffer concussion in childhood could be at increased risk for abusing alcohol as adults, though the risk is reversible, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Neuroscientists locate 'alcoholism neurons' in the brain

Alcohol consumption alters the structure and function of neurons in an area of the brain called the dorsomedial striatum, find scientists.
Heavy drinking in midlife increases stroke risk 'more than diabetes'.
It is well known that high blood pressure and diabetes can raise the risk of stroke. But a new twin study finds that, for people in middle-aged, heavy alcohol consumption may increase that risk even more.

In conclusion, the Holy Bible in Pro 20 Vs 1 warns that Wine is a mocker and strong drink a brawler,
and whosoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Save yourself, your family and others from the danger of alcohol.

Disclaimer: The character portrayed in the headline photo was obtained from social media and it is not clear whether the photo is real or not.

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