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Pandemic mixed with the holidays is a cocktail for relapse, creating new addicts

New study predicts impacts will last even after coronavirus vaccine
Posted at 9:33 AM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 09:33:45-05

At Uptown Wines, Beer & Spirits, sales have surged since the COVID-19 crisis started and are expected to rise even more during the holidays.

“Last time I’ve seen sales like this, it would be considered New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Halloween night,” said beer specialist Wiley Deerman.

Deerman says with more people quarantined at home many started stocking up on alcohol to-go.

“We’ve seen a lot of these half-sized bottles, the sales have increased on those,” he said.

Now, new research from Vanderbilt University shows not only are more people drinking alcohol and abusing other drugs during the pandemic, but that this increase could create new addicts as well.

“You’re seeing an increase in drinking, in drug use in people at home. When the pandemic’s over, this isn’t going to go away," said Erin Calipari, Ph.D., with the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research.

Calipari’s team conducted the study, which shows addiction triggers during the COVID-19 crisis could make the holiday season even worse for many adults struggling with sobriety.

To help fight this problem, Calipari says America needs the same kind of investment in battling addiction as is being put into solving the pandemic.

“Addiction kills just as many people as the pandemic has this year and we haven’t done the same thing,” she said. “We’ve kind of, you know, funded it a little bit but we haven’t had this community investment and this kind of global revelation that this is a problem that we should be solving.”

Without proper attention, Calipari predicts addiction cases will continue to increase across the country, even after there’s a cure for COVID-19.

“This isn’t going to go away when we get the vaccine or solve the pandemic,” she said. “This is going to be a kind of long-term problem that we’re going to have to deal with as a society.”

A very costly problem both in money and human lives.

That’s why Deerman’s business focuses on more than making a buck, saying the best way to serve his community is to sometimes actually not serve them at all.

“There’s times where we have to say, ‘Look, I think you need to cut back, take it easy. we care about you,’” he said.

Care about stopping an addiction before it even starts.