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  • Writer's pictureErik Frederickson - Life Coach and Recovery Coach

Alcohol Sales are up over 50% since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

The opioid epidemic is not new news. This drug epidemic has frequented the headlines for over 15yrs as over 700,000 people died from an overdose between 1999 and 2017, cited the CDC. It would help to put this in a bigger perspective. That is just the amount of people dying from overdose, not the amount of people overdosing and surviving it.

What few people realize is that the problems surrounding alcohol have been a distant conversation, but have recently taken an average of 88,000 lives a year in America alone. Yes, alcohol related deaths take the lives of roughly 18,000 more people a year then the opioid epidemic currently is.

And with the new "stay at home" orders being decreed as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to bombard the world, people are turning to the bottle more then ever. More then that, the drink of choice is overwhelmingly liquor with a 75% increase in sales.

"In the week ending March 21, sales on alcoholic beverages have spiked by 55 percent according to market research firm Nielsen." -Newsweek

The increase in problem drinking has been ramping up for years now, and this pandemic seems to be the perfect excuse for excessive alcohol consumption.

"According to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, several signs of alcohol misuse are on the rise. Between 2001-’02 and 2012-’13, 12-month alcohol use increased from 65.4 percent to 72.7 percent, and high-risk drinking increased from 9.7 percent to 12.6 percent. And alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) increased from 8.5 percent to 12.7 percent — a whopping 49.4 percent increase. The increase in alcoholism in particular suggests that nearly 30 million Americans now suffer from alcohol addiction." -Vox

The rise in recent years for problem drinking among women has been eye opening as well.

WEDMD recently revealed some sobering statistics.

  • Female alcohol use disorder in the United States increased by 83.7% between 2002 and 2013, according to a 2017 study sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

  • High-risk drinking, defined as more than three drinks in a day or seven in a week for women, is on the rise among women by about 58%, according to a 2017 study comparing habits from 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.

  • A 2018 study found a steep rise in the rate of alcohol-related ER visits between 2006 and 2014, and increases were larger for women than men.

The current state of the world may be in isolation so we can best handle and defeat the pandemic we face, but it may causing the age old issue of alcohol abuse to grow deep and ugly roots. It would benefit all of us to reach out to our friends, if we haven't already, and see how they're doing.


Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is a drug.

Oxford dictionary definition, Drug - A medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.

Alcohol may be the most easily accessible and accepted drug in society, but it is still a drug. Time will tell how long this pandemic dictates our day to day living, but another problem is clearly emerging. Alcoholism is on the rise.

If you need help, there are plenty of resources that can help you even while being asked to stay at home for a while. This may be a good place to start, Online AA meetings.


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