We are all familiar with the saying ‘new year, new me’ – the declaration of a clean slate after the high-stress year that has just passed. With 2020 having had such a drastic impact on our lives, we are all very eager to move forward. Last year, many of us tried to dull the stress and anxiety of isolation, and a host of other pandemic-related effects, with an overabundance of alcohol. With 1 in 4 drinkers admitting to having drank more during lockdown due to it being cheaper than a night out, it begs the question: exactly how much have we consumed over this difficult period?
DrugAbuse.com, a leading provider of substance abuse treatment resources, conducted a survey of 3,000 drinkers (aged 21+), and found that, overall, the average Marylander consumed 669 ‘standard size’ drinks in 2020. This was below the national average of 17 standard size drinks per week, and just below the CDC defined ‘heavy drinking’ amount of 14 drinks per week for men and seven per week for women.
Note: The CDC defines heavy drinking as more than 14 drinks per week over the past year for men and more than 7 drinks per week for women. A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol), 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 ounces of liquor (40% alcohol).
Broken down across the country, it appears that Alaskans consumed the most with an average of 27 standard drinks per week during lockdown. Comparatively, residents in Hawaii and New Hampshire had just 10 drinks per week – the lowest figure across the US.
Nationally, when the figures were placed side by side, it was found that the average man consumed just slightly more (17 drinks per week) than the average woman (16 drinks per week).
Hangovers are never fun to do deal with, and of course, they are a consequence of consuming too much in one sitting. As a result of one too many cocktails far too many times, the average drinker spent 112 hours hungover during the pandemic.
A separate survey by American Addiction Centers found that 1 in 5 people unemployed due to the pandemic said they turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism during lockdown. The severe economic hit so many experienced over the last few months is at least partly responsible for the reason why people have turned to alcohol in an attempt to cope with negative feelings they might be having.