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More Americans Binge Drinking During Pandemic


Researchers say binge drinking, especially among women, has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.


And increasing numbers of Americans appear to see drinking as an essential part of their COVID-19 coping mechanism, too. Binge drinking in the United States has spiked considerably since the pandemic began, according to a new study from re- searchers at the RAND Corporation. Women, in particular, are taking part in more unhealthy


M


drinking behavior, according to data on 6,000 Americans col- lected using the RAND American Life Panel. The survey found that frequency of drinking — measured in


days per month that alcohol was consumed — increased 14 percent overall as well as 17 percent among women. “On average, alcohol was consumed one day more per


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ost U.S. states designated liquor stores and other alco- holic beverage outlets as “essential businesses” that could remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.


month by 3 of 4 adults,” researchers reported. “We didn’t pick up signifi cant increases in overall drinking, but we found that drinking is being packed into binge episodes,” Michael S. Pollard, PhD, the study’s lead researcher and a RAND Corporation soci- ologist, told Healthline. “For people who reported changes, there were big changes.” Pollard added that the research provides evidence that an- ecdotes about heavier drinking during COVID-19 “are real.”


‘Startling’ fi ndings on women Researchers said heavy drinking rose 41 percent among


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women, noting that 1 of every 5 women in their survey had heavily consumed alcohol at least 1 additional day per month compared with the previous year. “That’s probably the most startling fi nding,” Pollard said.


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