In the past year, Americans have increasingly been relying on delivery services like Amazon, Instacart, or GrubHub. Since pandemic restrictions prevent many bars and restaurants from opening to full capacity — or from opening at all — these businesses likewise have come to rely on take-out and delivery services in order to survive. Total alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants had increased 24% by September 2020, and products with high alcohol content have seen a sales boom of 27% compared to 2019. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, alcohol consumption among adults in general increased by 14% by September 2020. Dr. Leggio Lorenzo of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers an explanation. He says that alcohol, for cultural reasons, feels safer than other substances, and is a part of social life, meaning that Americans are more likely to consume alcohol than any other substance to destress and relax. However, alcohol related illnesses can be deadly, and are known to cause developmental disability in children who were prenatally exposed. Dr. Lorenzo added that after past traumatic events like Hurricane Katrina or 9/11, some survivors developed an alcohol use disorder related to post-traumatic stress. Warning signs include a strong urge or need to drink, or drinking more than planned. The impact of increasing consumption of alcohol, consumption of beverages with higher alcohol content, and the threat of resurgent and growing alcohol addiction, could last beyond the end of the pandemic, with more Americans struggling with alcohol use and more babies born with FASD.
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