Data from a study found consistent increase in alcohol use among adults.
During this period, states in the US reacted differently:
- some states increased direct-to-consumer alcohol access, allowing shipping from online vendors and delivery from grocery stores, liquor stores, restaurants and bars.
- other states decreased access by restricting these types of sales
- several states expanded access through the use of apps such as Drizly, DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub to name a few.
What consequences were brought by this new accessibility in buying alcohol?
- The app Drizly reported an increase of online alcohol sales over March and April with tripled sales compared to the same period the year before.
- There was a 14% increase in the number of days drinking compared to 2019
- Women reported a 17% increase in days where they drank
- Women further reported increase in 41% of episodes of heavy drinking
Rebecca Williams, the researchers said: “during the pandemic, states made rapid alcohol policy changes to support struggling restaurants, bars, and retailers, and to give people who were unable to go out and purchase or consume alcohol more options for having it delivered to them at home”. She continues by expressing concern over the underage access to alcohol.
As a consequence, she received fundings to conduct a study which will survey 7,500 adults from the age of 18 in states with different alcohol policy situations. Participants will be asked to report information over three time periods: pre-pandemic, early pandemic, and current. By comparing responses and sources of alcohol consumed, negative outcomes associated with alcohol use, and drinking behavior will be assessed.