There have been reports from around the world of rising alcohol use during lockdown in some groups. Rising alcohol consumption means increasing alcohol harm, such as family violence, alcohol use disorder and suicide. However, there have also been reports that the limited availability of alcohol during the pandemic lockdown has helped other groups to cut their alcohol use or go alcohol-free entirely.
A new report by FARE provides a snapshot of the most recent available data on alcohol use and related harm during the pandemic in Australia, focusing on the period between March and May 2020. The report references service provider data, national and international surveys, alcohol purchasing data and news media reporting.
Key findings from the report:
- There are early indications of increased demand for online Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) supports. There are also early indications of increased incidence of family violence across Australia, and increased involvement of alcohol in family violence situations.
- A number of potentially problematic alcohol use behaviors during COVID-19 were recorded in an April FARE commissioned YouGov survey, including
- nearly one in seven (13%) Australian alcohol users being concerned about the amount of alcohol they or someone in their household is consuming,
- 11% reporting consuming alcohol to cope with anxiety and stress, and
- 14% reporting they have been consuming alcohol daily.
- Consumer spending data on alcohol sales results from retailers indicate there has been significant increases in packaged liquor sales since the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns in Australia, particularly for online sales and home delivery.
Movendi International is monitoring and reporting on emerging alcohol issues during the ongoing public health crisis around the world. Previous stories on the Australian situation have highlighted
- The changing alcohol norm and alcohol consumption behaviors in the country,
- Increasing violence during COVID-19, and
- Big Alcohol exploiting the pandemic in their marketing in Australia.