A&S Addiction Expert Discusses COVID-19 Related Spike in Alcohol Consumption

ABC-17 News

Denis McCarthy, Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, recently discussed addiction risks for a story on ABC-17 News:

As stay-at-home orders and self-isolation continue to keep people cooped up, experts say some are turning to alcohol to cope with the stress and anxiety related to COVID-19.

Data shows alcoholic beverage sales went up by 55 percent in late March 2020, compared to sales in 2019.

As sales spike, Denis McCarthy, Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, said he's worried about what is to come when social distancing loosens and if unemployment remains high.

He compared it to when the market crashed in 2008 and there was an uptick in alcohol and other substance abuse in the aftermath.

"We expect we'll probably see that again as unemployment, stress and poverty are big causes of increases in substance abuse," McCarthy said.

A major concern for McCarthy is a lack of trained addiction providers to help those who may become addicted to substances.

"I think if we are doing anything right now, it should be getting ready to meet that need even stronger after this happens," McCarthy said.

" We already didn't have enough people to provide addiction services and support and we're probably going to be even further behind."