Alcohol use in the U.S. increased profoundly during the pandemic-related shutdowns

The study involved more than 1,500 adult participants affiliated with the online-based RAND American Life Panel.

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A new RAND Corporation study found that adults in the United States have engaged more substantially in alcohol consumption during the shutdown by the coronavirus pandemic.

The study, released in JAMA Network Open, involved more than 1,500 adult participants affiliated with the online-based RAND American Life Panel.

In the study, the participants were surveyed on their level of alcohol consumption during the Spring of 2019 and then in the Spring of 2020, by the early stages of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

From their assessment, researchers concluded that the overall frequency of alcohol consumption spiked to 14 percent among adults over age 30 in comparison to the previous year. The rate of consumption was higher for adults well into mid-adulthood (age 30-59) with a 19 percent increase.

“We’ve had anecdotal information about people buying and consuming more alcohol, but this is some of the first survey-based information that shows how much alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic,” said Michael Pollard, the study’s lead author, in a news release.

“Alcohol consumption can have significant negative health consequences, so this information suggests another way that the pandemic may be affecting the physical and mental health of Americans,” Pollard concluded.

As of September 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, alleged to have originated in China, remains a top public health priority among officials in the U.S. and abroad.

Image courtesy of PAHO