TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. – For more than a year, Americans have been strongly advised, and other times forced, to distance themselves from one another and withdraw from social gatherings. This societal abstinence has created new norms, including when and how much people consume alcohol according to recent reports.
A survey of 3,100 people conducted by AlcoholRehab.com found that in Florida alone, nearly 2.5 million people admitted to drinking alcohol before noon. Addiction experts warn these trends could have lasting effects even as COVID-19 dissipates.
With social distancing advisories and mandates put into place for the better part of a year, residents of Florida have felt the psychological consequences of isolation, unemployment, and other pandemic-related stressors, and have been reportedly consuming alcohol as a means of relief.
A Nielsen Company study found that in the first few months of the pandemic, internet and mail-order alcohol sales rose by 240 percent nationwide, while stores sold 54 percent more alcohol in late March of 2020 than the year prior throughout the country. Drizly, an alcohol delivery service, reported a 400 percent increase in sales from the previous year.
In short, Floridians, like many Americans, are drinking earlier in the day, more days per month, and with greater excess since the onset of COVID-19.
While hosting Zoom happy hours and enjoying ‘quarantinis’ with friends and family has become a popular new way to retain connection, health experts at Footprints Beachside Recovery warn that this change in behavior can be a slippery slope when used as a coping mechanism.
“We’ve seen in the past that people drink more during traumatic events, such as Hurricane Katrina or 9/11,” said John Templeton, founder of Footprints Beachside Recovery. “The issue with COVID-19 in particular is that it is an event affecting billions of people around the globe with an unforeseeable end date. Combine this with social isolation and job insecurity and you’re left with a perfect storm for substance abuse.”
While social avoidance has struck some as a mild inconvenience, it has presented a different challenge to those who struggle with addiction and rely on support from in-person recovery groups.
“Those who depend on group settings for their recovery have suffered significantly, however, there are still resources available and more are opening back up,” said Templeton. “If you or a loved one is experiencing problems related to alcohol, drug abuse or substance dependency, we’re here to help.”
To learn more about Footprints Beachside Recovery Center, visit www.FootprintsBeachside.com.
Founded in 2008, Footprints Beachside Recovery Center is a small, private, holistic substance abuse treatment center for adults and is located in Pinellas County, Fla. Footprints provides specialized treatment plans for patients from throughout the U.S. and around the world. Opioid addiction recovery programs at Footprints focus on ensuring safe withdrawals and often combine holistic treatment with medication assisted therapies to reduce cravings and provide more successful recovery outcomes for patients.