A new, interim report from the Global Drug Survey has shown that more than half of British respondents have increased the number of days they drink alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The special COVID-19 edition of the Global Drug Survey, the world’s largest survey analysing the public’s use of psychoactive substances, compared respondents’ intake of alcohol before the COVID-19 pandemic to their intake during the pandemic – showing that over half of British respondents have increased the number of days they drink alcohol.
Alcohol intake during a global pandemic
The survey compared alcohol intake before and during the pandemic, looking at the number of days on which respondents had consumed five or more drinks, whether they started drinking earlier in the day, what their reason for this was, and whether they had experienced an impact on their health.
55.7% of respondents said they had increased the number of days they drink alcohol during the crisis and of that, 35.1% said they had increased the amount a little, and 20.6% said they had increased it a lot.
The reasons given for the increase of alcohol intake by all global respondents were boredom and having more time to drink, with just 25.3% of respondents linking their increase to anxiety regarding the pandemic. Other reasons for the increase in alcohol consumption included depression, worry, and loneliness.
The survey also highlighted the UK as having the most respondents who reported drinking earlier in the day – 46.8% – which was higher than any other country, and a total of 33.1% who said they had increased the number of days on which they binge drink (classed as five or more drinks in a single session).
The health impacts of alcohol
Recently, experts have warned that the COVID-19 lockdown could lead to a surge of alcohol and drug addiction relapses, however, alcohol intake can have health repercussions for all.
Respondents to the survey cited mental and physical health consequences from their alcohol intake, as well as financial pressures and decreased performance at work. Overall, 42% of global participants said they would like to drink less.
The survey includes a free and anonymous Drinks Meter that people can use for feedback and advice on how to cut down. More information can be found at www.drinksmeter.com.