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Thanksgiving Eve drinking has experts worried about further surge in alcohol, drug abuse during holiday season

A group of young adults celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at a bar.

A local drug and alcohol treatment center is hoping to prevent holiday drug and alcohol abuse from adding to the already problematic pandemic abuse statistics.

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. – Experts from Footprints Beachside Recovery Center, a drug and alcohol treatment center in the Tampa Bay area, want people to be on the look out for signs of loved ones struggling with abuse or addiction this holiday season.

While experts typically see an increase in drinking and drug abuse around the holidays, Thanksgiving can be particularly troubling. With most people scheduled to be off from work for Thanksgiving, and college kids returning home to celebrate the holiday with family members, many bars acknowledge that Thanksgiving Eve has become one of the biggest drinking nights of the year in America, rivaling both St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

“This is even more troubling when you look at this on top of a year, which has already seen troubling statistics due to COVID and other factors,” said John Templeton, founder of Footprints Beachside Recovery Center.

In January, a study revealed that alcohol-related deaths more than doubled in the U.S., and in late September, a study conducted by the RAND Corporation showed adults in America have significantly increased their alcohol consumption since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the study, the most dramatic increase was in binge drinking episodes in women. Women reported a 41 percent spike in episodes of binge drinking in the spring of 2020 when compared to that of spring of 2019, with binge drinking being defined as four or more drinks within two hours. The national survey also found alcohol consumption increased in general by 14 percent in adults over the age of 30.

“Sadly, during the holidays, we often see a doubling of alcohol abuse, and add to this, the surge related to COVID and the other alarming news about alcohol-related fatalities doubling, and we could be in for major problems,” said Templeton. “However, as always, we’re here with a positive message, and that is that help is available. We’ve had hundreds of people successfully complete our drug and alcohol treatment programs, and with the holidays now in full swing, we need to do all we can to help people find sobriety and claim recovery by letting them know that there is hope.”

Footprints provides treatment options including day/night treatment, a men’s program, women’s program, outpatient treatment, virtual outpatient treatment, relapse prevention, sober living, detox, treatment for professionals, and treatment for doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals. Some of the areas of treatment are for alcohol, heroin, meth, cocaine, opioids, ecstasy, marijuana, hallucinogens and dual diagnosis disorders.

About Footprints Beachside Recovery Center:

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.

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