Alcohol Use in Times of the COVID-19 Virus

During this global lockdown, most people have had to make major lifestyle changes in order to adhere to guidelines outlined by their respective governments.

The situation has forced people's behaviour and choices to change, and it is important to monitor these adjustments from a public health perspective.

In the past, researchers have monitored how major events have influenced peoples drinking behaviour, both during and post-crisis. Although behaviour scientists around the world are carrying out similar analysis, there are several factors that make this situation unique. These include the introduction of mass social distancing, the closure of on-licence premises, and the common use of social media for interaction.

In this paper, researchers propose two potential scenarios in relation to alcohol consumption.

  1. There will be an increase in consumption for some populations, particularly men, due to distress experienced as a result of the pandemic. 
  2. There will be lower levels of consumption based on the decreased physical and financial availability of alcohol.

As well as changes in drinking behaviour, there will undoubtedly be changes in the consequences of drinking. For example, the researchers suggest that we will see a reduction in alcohol-related road incidents. However, violent crime, particularly domestic violence, is on the increase.

It will be vital to track the impact of COVID‐19 pandemic to see the effects alcohol consumption will have on different groups. Moving forward, it will be necessary to reexamine policies and initiatives in order to reduce alcohol consumption and harm in a significantly altered landscape.

Citation
Rehm, J., Kilian, C., Ferreira‐Borges, C., Jernigan, D., Monteiro, M., Parry, C.D.H., Sanchez, Z.M. and Manthey, J. (2020), Alcohol use in times of the COVID 19: Implications for monitoring and policy. Drug Alcohol Rev.. doi:10.1111/dar.13074
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