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By Robert Preidt
Health Day reporter

TUESDAY, August 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Americans drank more at home during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, which researchers say could be linked to an increase in domestic violence and other problems.

“Our results appear to support an increase in alcohol consumption at home over the period, which could potentially lead to higher alcohol consumption and alcohol-related adverse health effects,” said the study’s first author, Dr. João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, postdoctoral researcher in epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York.

Between March and September 2020, beer, wine and liquor store sales totaled $ 41.9 billion, 20% more than in the same months in 2019 and 18% more than between August 2019 and February 2020, his team reported.

Meanwhile, restaurant and bar sales fell 27% between March and September 2020, according to the study published recently online in the journal. Alcohol.

In September 2020, restaurant and bar sales were around 15% lower than pre-pandemic levels, while beer, wine and liquor store sales were 17% higher and have since remained close to this level.

When the researchers compared the sales of beer, wine and liquor stores in the first three quarters of consecutive years between 1992 and 2020, the biggest change was an increase of $ 7.5 billion between the three first quarters of 2019 and 2020.

Binge drinking at home could be an unhealthy way to cope with the stress of pandemic-related issues such as quarantine and an uncertain future, the researchers said.

They also pointed out that drinking alcohol in the home was linked to domestic violence.

“During the pandemic, the increase in alcohol consumption in the home could potentially exacerbate the effects of social isolation on domestic violence,” Castaldelli-Maia said in an academic press release.

He noted that U.S. law enforcement has reported a 10 to 27 percent increase in domestic violence calls during COVID shutdowns. The calls came from a wide variety of locations, from Alabama and Texas to Oregon and New York. Castaldelli-Maia said it was not clear, however, whether drinking alcohol at home played a role.

Lead author Dr Silvia Martins, associate professor of epidemiology, said there is still a lot to be learned about drinking alcohol in the era of the pandemic. Still, he said, it’s important to warn people about the risks of increased alcohol consumption at home.

“It is also important to investigate drinking behaviors in people at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection, such as frontline workers and in those living alone during periods of time. longer isolation, ”Martins said.

More information

The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests rethinking alcohol consumption.

SOURCE: Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, press release, August 19, 2021