Dr. Sarah Callinan, Senior Research Fellow from Latrobe University’s Centre of Alcohol Policy Research, discusses how Australian’s alcohol use patterns have changed during the pandemic, shedding light on some troubling and some promising trends.

Dr. Calinnan discusses research showing several changes in the trends of alcohol use among Australians including the following:

  • People are consuming alcohol more regularly, but less alcohol in one sitting.
  • People are consuming alcohol more at home with bars and restaurants being closed.
  • Young people, specifically young men, are consuming less alcohol than in 2019.

Movendi International previously reported that a study by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found increasing alcohol harm during the early stages of the pandemic between March and May, 2020. Key findings from the report showed:

  • There were early indications of increased demand for online Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) support services.
  • There were 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 a FARE commissioned YouGov survey in April 2020, including
    • nearly one in seven (13%) Australian alcohol users being concerned about the amount of alcohol they or someone in their household were consuming,
    • 11% were reporting they were consuming alcohol to cope with anxiety and stress, and
    • 14% reporting they had been consuming alcohol daily.
  • Consumer spending data on alcohol sales results from retailers indicated there had been significant increases in packaged liquor sales since the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns in Australia, particularly for online sales and home delivery.

The alcohol consuming setting has also changed to more home-based consumption. Consuming alcohol more at home can have problematic consequences if it gets normalized. Even after the pandemic threat is over people could go on to consume alcohol at home, as well as outside, making overall alcohol consumption increase. This could further increase alcohol problems and addiction in Australia.

Younger generation reduces alcohol use

One silver lining is that younger generations are consuming the least amount of alcohol even during the pandemic and their alcohol consumption keeps declining in 2020. According to Dr. Callinan, young men are consuming less alcohol now than in 2019.

As reported by Movendi International a study by the University of New South Wales in Australia has found that Generation Z is the most likely to have reduced their alcohol consumption during COVID-19.

The trend for younger generations to reduce alcohol use or go alcohol-free has been unfolding globally over recent years. The current Generation Z is said to be the least alcohol using youth cohort in history.

The reason is that young people tend to consume alcohol when they go out to socialize rather than at home. The trend is promising as it means younger people consider alcohol less-important in their daily lives. By tackling the pervasive alcohol norm associated with socializing young people could reduce their alcohol use even more or switch to alcohol-free lifestyles.

Source Website: 3AW