A new report in Australia has found that the number of calls to alcohol support services in 2021 was triple that made before the pandemic.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education in Australia has found that the number of calls surged due to the higher levels of stress and anxiety, as well as boredom and isolation that Australians experienced during lockdowns.
Parents, the unemployed or people with insecure jobs were all more likely to drink during the pandemic.
The report released on Friday shows Australians made 25,000 calls to the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline last year, compared to about 7800 calls in 2019.
Study director Luke Hutchins says the psychological impacts of the pandemic have been linked to more risky drinking.
“The demand for help will not go away just because restrictions have eased,” he said.
“The effects of the pandemic have been felt deeply at all levels of our community and will continue to be felt for years to come.”
The report points to an Australian National University study from 2020, which found about one in five people had increased how much they drank during the initial phases of the pandemic.
About one in four actually decreased the amount they drank, while about one in two Australians drank the same amount.
The foundation urges further monitoring of how people are drinking, as well as keeping a close eye on the use of online booze delivery and the boosting of domestic violence support services—with alcohol abuse often a dominant factor behind domestic violence.