February 16, 2021
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Australia’s alcohol retailers turned over a record $15.6 billion in sales in 2020, providing evidence of changes in alcohol use and associated consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The turnover represents an increase of 26.7 per cent or $3.3 billion more than in 2019.
We at WRAD are concerned for a range of possible negative physical health associations. Excessive alcohol use may lead to and/or worsen existing mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, which may themselves be increasing during COVID-19.
Whilst alcohol is a legal commodity with known rates of sales etc, we suspect changes in trends of use of other substances as well.
We need to identify who is responsible for greatest growth; men, women, younger people or distinct groups. The government will then need to look at supporting development of marketing strategies and education approaches to highlight these concerns and to educate consumers about increased alcohol use during the pandemic and to identify factors associated with susceptibility and resilience to the impacts of COVID-19.
Broad data like this does not absolutely equate to increased use as we have seen with toilet paper sell outs. Some people are stockpiling but the reality is for people who struggle with issues of addiction, availability can often lead to an over-consumption so we warn against stockpiling.
WRAD asks all people who are anxious over the thought of not being able to access an alcoholic beverage to do a self-check on their relationship with alcohol as it may be more of an issue than they realised.
There is a thing called plausible deniability and so some people don’t see themselves as problematic drinkers because they can still work or still have a home or some other comparison to what they perceive as a “problem drinker”. We have national guidelines around safe consumption of alcohol and you should check yourself against that. There are numerous online “check your drinking” questionnaires that can inform you of where you sit on the scale of problematic drinking. If you find you score in a harmful range then please call WRAD 1300 009723 to further discuss the role alcohol plays in your life. We have a range of services here to help people overcome problems with substance use.
You can also visit the self-assessment tool https://eassist.assistportal.com.au/#/e-assist
which screens for a range of substances, not just alcohol.
The WRAD Centre’s vision is to advance the health and wellbeing of those in the South Western Region of Victoria affected by Addictive behaviours and to promote optimal enjoyment of life.
The WRAD Centre seeks to provide comprehensive, holistic support and treatment to individuals and others affected by addictive behaviors and associated issues.
The philosophy of harm minimisation underpins the delivery of all programs offered by WRAD. This principle recognises that people in our society use both licit and illicit drugs, and that drugs can be used in ways that are more or less harmful to individuals, families and society. Harm minimisation offers a number of options designed to reduce the harm of drug use to the user and society.
Emergency call 000
For medical issues call South West Healthcare 55 631666
For mental health issues call SWH emergency dep't 55 631 666 or 1800 808 284
For drug and alcohol issues call Directline 1800 888 236
For Lifeline call 13 11 14
Or click on the links below for help.