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Pandemic Leading to Higher Levels of Alcohol Consumption, Alcoholism

The coronavirus pandemic leading to a higher increase in alcohol sales and alcohol abuse, and health officials don't see this issue ending anytime soon.

Posted: Nov 12, 2020 5:31 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2020 4:14 PM

The coronavirus pandemic bringing with it many difficulties, and with those increased difficulties, many more turning to alcohol.

According to the Indiana University School of Public Health, national alcohol consumption has increased by more than 15 percent since the pandemic began, and we’re seeing that increase right here in our tri-state as well.

44News spoke to many treatment centers across the Tri-state, and they said this pandemic is a perfect recipe for substance abuse.

With anxiety being added to people's lives based on job loss, isolation, and general uncertainty of what the future will look like for them.

And many people in our area, turning to alcohol to help escape those fears.

“It’s about an escape and about calming those feelings of anxiety, calming those feelings of worry and depression, and once that light switch is turned on, it’s very difficult to turn it off,” said John Horsey, VP of adult services at Oaklawn.

Nielsen reported a 54 percent increase in national alcohol sales back when the pandemic began, and local liquor stores say they’re still seeing that surge.

“There was a pretty big spike in our sales," said Pawan Sooch, owner of High Spirits Liquor Store. "Selling, like I mentioned earlier, your mixed drinks, ready to drink products, pre-mixed cocktails, and mixing ingredients. All those things have seen a big spike.”

High Spirits said they don’t condone alcohol abuse and will not sell to anyone suspected of abusing alcohol or anyone under the influence.

And with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in our Tri-state, health officials don’t see this increase in alcohol abuse stopping anytime soon.

“Things were trending in the right direction, and then the pandemic hit, and then we see spikes, and it’s really horrible at this point," said Horsey. "We have a serious problem, and we’re not even close to out of it at this point.”

If you or a loved one has found themselves abusing alcohol, you can contact one of the more than 30 rehab or treatment facilities in our Tri-state.

Stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus information and more by downloading the 44News mobile app on the Google Play Store or in the Apple App Store

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It was another brutally hot afternoon throughout the Tri-State; afternoon highs peaked in the mid to low 90s for our third straight day with heat indices approaching and even surpassing 100° at times earlier on. As for the remainder of the evening, one can expect much of the same - temperatures will stick around the upper 80s through at least dinnertime before dipping to 80° or so by 10PM. Winds shifting southward overnight will only allow temperatures to fall as low as the mid to low 70s throughout the Ohio Valley; we'll kick off what may end up being our hottest day in years with a morning low temperature of 73° in Evansville.
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