While Australians are drinking more alcohol than usual, they are also concerned about how much they are consuming and the consumption of others in their household during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data.
The poll conducted by YouGov Galaxy and commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) showed that 20% of Australians purchased more alcohol and 70% of them are drinking more alcohol than normal, with 33% now drinking alcohol daily. Additionally, the data revealed 28% are drinking alcohol to cope with anxiety and stress.
Almost a third of people who purchased more alcohol are concerned about their own drinking or someone in the household’s drinking, the poll showed.
FARE CEO Ms Giorgi says that governments need to be taking action now to ensure that harms from alcohol don’t increase now and into the future.
“We need to get ahead of this before it’s too late and this involves action from governments across the country to address the alcohol industry’s aggressive marketing practices, place limits on late night and rapid online alcohol product delivery, boost funding for our alcohol and other drug services and provide messages to the public on how to reduce the risks from drinking alcohol as part of their current public health campaigns,” she said.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is also concerned for anyone recovering from alcohol or drug dependency due to the challenges of isolation and the difficulty of accessing the usual support services.
“As stricter isolation requirements are imposed by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), there is an increased risk of people using drugs alone as they may not be someone there to ask for help if something goes wrong,” their website suggests.
Meanwhile the government has provided $6 million for online and phone support services for those experiencing drug and alcohol problems during COVID-19 to meet additional demand caused by isolation and social distancing measures.
The government believes online and telephone counselling are effective in reducing reliance on alcohol and other drugs, stating they are important components of the treatment spectrum, particularly when opportunities for face-to-face counselling and rehabilitation are reduced.
The funding will also provide a range of information and resources to help individuals, friends and families with drug and alcohol concerns, and to provide important prevention messages.
This funding will be be rolled out by 30 June 2020.
If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s alcohol or other drug use, contact the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015, or visit drughelp.gov.au.