Margate, FL - Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a careful balance between the economy and loss of life due to COVID-19. Government measures taken to try to mitigate the damage caused by the virus had to be weighed against the ramifications of closing businesses across the country because eventually, the impacts on people’s livelihoods may outweigh the damage that the virus could cause.
One of the ways state governments tried to help restaurants and bars was by allowing the sale of alcohol to-go or by delivery, allowing them to continue their sales while adhering to social distancing regulations.
As more people are being vaccinated and the spread of COVID-19 is slowing, some states have opted to keep the relaxed laws around the sale of alcohol through to-go orders, drive-through pick-up, and alcohol delivery. Concerns are now being raised over the impacts these laws will have on people who are at risk for alcohol use disorder as well as those who are currently dealing with alcohol addiction.
The pandemic has had serious ramifications for substance use disorder. The lockdown period put tremendous mental and emotional strain on people and substance abuse rates dramatically increased as a result.
A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reported that 60 percent of respondents increased their alcohol consumption during the pandemic. Thirty percent of these people attributed their increase in drinking to the increased availability of alcohol through the relaxation of laws surrounding the sale of alcohol. In the same report, 58.1 percent of people reported that their alcohol consumption decreased when alcohol was less available to them.
A third of respondents reported binge drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic. The average alcohol consumption rate prior to lockdown was around 12 drinks a month whereas during the pandemic it was around 26.8 drinks a month.
While the relaxation of laws surrounding the sale of alcohol may have been necessary to help struggling businesses, the question now is whether keeping these laws in place will cause more problems as states recover from the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19.
Legacy Healing Center, an addiction treatment center with locations in Florida and New Jersey, points to the studies that show a connection between increased drinking due to availability. Their team has expressed concern that people who are at risk of addiction might suffer as a result of the relaxed alcohol sale laws.
Environmental factors such as the ready availability of alcohol may lead to serious alcohol use disorder among a larger cross-section of people. It is already understood that the availability of alcohol can lead to an increase in alcohol use disorder and binge drinking and alcohol treatment centers want these risk factors to be considered by the states that have opted to keep the relaxed alcohol sales laws in place.
While it may help business sales now, it may lead to a dramatic increase in alcohol-related deaths and a substantial cost to the country in addiction treatment and even in incarceration costs as domestic violence, drunk driving, and other problems arise.
Legacy Healing Center is working closely with communities in New Jersey and South Florida to heal the impacts of mental health and substance use disorders. For anyone in need of help with addiction treatment, their team is available 24/7. Call (888) 534-2295 or visit www.legacyhealing.com.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
Legacy Healing Center - Alcohol, Drug Rehab & Detox is South Florida's #1 resource for drug, alcohol and prescrition drug treatment.