CBC: PEOPLE ARE DRINKING MORE DURING THE PANDEMIC — INCLUDING PARENTS

Amy Bell · CBC News · Posted: Nov 21, 2020

Clinical counsellor Kuldip Gil says a lack of routine and structure could be contributing to increased alcohol consumption. (Getty Images/Imagebroker RF)

This story is part of Amy Bell’s Parental Guidance column, which airs on CBC Radio One’s The Early Edition.


From “quarantinis” to zoom cocktails, the pandemic certainly hasn’t been a dry one.

With liquor stores deemed an essential service, and alcohol easily available for delivery, many people have been turning to the bottle — including parents.

According to a study conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction shortly after the pandemic first threw our lives into chaos, seven out of ten Canadians were, obviously, at home more. And of those people, two out of ten reported an increase in their drinking — for different reasons.

Dr. Seonaid Nolan, a clinician researcher with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, says the reasons for increased consumption differ between men and women. 

“Women were more likely to cite that stress was the predominant reason for an increase in their alcohol consumption compared to men,”  Nolan says. “Men were reporting an increase in their alcohol consumption mainly as a result of boredom.”

Registered clinical counsellor Kuldip Gill has also noticed the trend in her patients.

“People are describing a pattern of drinking more,” Gil says. “The lack of routine, structure that we had to our day, stress … all could be contributing reasons to why we are drinking more. People are developing different coping strategies.” 

Sara Funk also increased her intake significantly in the first weeks of COVID restrictions.

Alcohol was an easy way for her and her husband to escape the stress and worry temporarily each night. But as the weeks have turned to months, both she and her partner are still indulging more than she is always comfortable with, and she worries how that might impact her three teens. 

“They’ll be like ‘Are you drunk mom?’ That actually kind of bothers me where I’ll actually go ‘Oh, maybe they are paying attention?’” Funk says.

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