Alcohol Use and COVID-19
National polling recently commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has demonstrated that alcohol sales and use have increased in Australia during COVID-19. One in five households purchased more alcohol than usual in the last month, and in these households 70% were drinking more alcohol than usual, 34% were drinking daily and 32% had concerns about the amount of alcohol they or someone else in the home were drinking. A key concern is whether this increase in home drinking may become difficult to reverse once the pandemic is over.
Alcohol use has been shown to increase during disasters and crises, as people try to navigate stress, uncertainty and upheaval. However, alcohol also contributes to substantial illness, disease, injury and deaths in Australia. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that alcohol contributes to one third of all road traffic accidents and contributes to 4.6% of all disease burden in Australia. Personal relationships can also be placed under pressure when there are high levels of drinking, increasing the risk of domestic violence and family breakdown.
It is therefore essential for those who choose to drink, to drink in moderation, to not drink everyday, and to remember that drinking alcohol is not a helpful coping strategy.
Turning Point has developed an Alcohol Use and COVID-19 resource as a general guide for the public, including tips on how to manage alcohol consumption during COVID-19 so as to stay healthy and minimise harm.