University of Portsmouth researchers say coronavirus lockdown has led to us 'drinking more alcohol' as sales rise by almost 300 per cent

BOOZE is flowing and drinks cabinets are rapidly emptying as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research.

Thursday, 16th April 2020, 12:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th April 2020, 8:11 pm

A study being led by researchers from the University of Portsmouth suggests that while we’re all stuck indoors, many of us are spending our free time reaching for our favourite tipple.

Whether it’s from boredom, stress or anxiety, alcohol sales are up by a staggering 291 per cent.

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Have you started drinking more? Picture: Johnny Green/PA Wire

Dr Matt Parker and Dr Lorenzo Stafford from the University of Portsmouth, leading the study.

Dr Parker said: ‘The potential public health effects of long-term isolation on alcohol use and misuse are unknown.

‘Alcohol misuse is one of the leading causes of preventable mortality, contributing annually to about three million deaths worldwide.

‘This period of isolation might lead to a spike in alcohol misuse and potentially, development of addiction in at-risk individuals or relapse in recovered addicted patients, therefore placing further strain on drug and alcohol services, and the health service in general, during and after the pandemic.’

The research itself is going global, posing the questions of how much and how often people are drinking during the crisis, and how drinking habits might change as a result of the lockdown.

People volunteering to take part are also reporting their alcohol use, stress and boredom levels on a weekly basis – as researchers look at whether there is a correlation between them.

The survey itself is anonymous, with around 350 test subjects taking part at the moment.

‘We are seeing across the world reports of higher than average alcohol use,’ said Dr Parker.

‘However, there are no data currently that tell us how much, or how often, people are drinking.

‘It is unprecedented to have so many millions of people across the world effectively locked away from their jobs, friends and families.

‘How people cope with this is varied, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of people responding by drinking more alcohol worldwide.’

The researchers hope many more from across the world will take part in the research.

To share your lockdown drinking habits – anonymously – you can go to brainandbehaviourlab.jimdofree.com/research/alcovid19.

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