Study: Alcohol Is Risk Factor in Crises

A study by Ramboll on behalf of Systembolaget has found that alcohol is a risk factor during crises, such as COVID-19, for both the individual and society as a whole.

Men, socio-economically disadvantaged groups and young people are at higher risk of developing heavy alcohol use consumption due to anxiety, isolation and stress caused by crises such as the current pandemic.

During previous crises increased heavy use of alcohol has been noted among the unemployed and specifically among unemployed men.

Alcohol is a risk factor for violence as well.

Alcohol is present in a majority of all violent crime. Children of parents with alcohol problems are especially exposed to harm and there is already data showing domestic violence is increasing during the pandemic.

Since most people have switched to home-based work, it has become harder for supervisors and colleagues to support those who have alcohol use problems or are in recovery. Those who are laid off during crises can also develop alcohol use problems.

Early studies show that total alcohol consumption still remains the same as before the pandemic in Sweden. However, the Ramboll study states it was too early to say how this crisis will affect total consumption in the long run.

To reduce the risk of increased alcohol harm and societal costs, it is important that society is prepared for the long-term public health consequences that the crisis may lead to. For the same reason, it is important that the new ANDTS strategy for Sweden takes the coronavirus into account so that today’s crisis does not become tomorrow’s problem.

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