April 10, 2021

Alcohol consumption fell during confinement due to the closing of bars

Alcohol consumption during confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic “surely decreased significantly” due to the initial closure of bars and catering establishments, the delegate of the National Plan on Drugs, Joan Ramón Villalbí, explained this Monday. “It is interesting, because when talking internationally about regulating alcohol, reducing availability is one of the aspects that have been considered and that some countries have developed more than others. Therefore it is a case study that we can take into account”, has stated.

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This significant decrease has occurred despite the fact that alcohol continued to be available at all times in stores. “Although there was access, the availability was much lower”, he has influenced, which seems to confirm the importance of social consumption of alcoholic beverages. The general fall of the drink did not prevent the probable growth of the alcohol that was ingested in the homes, since during the months of confinement it was observed a big increase when buying products commonly consumed in bars and restaurants, such as wine, beer and spirits.

The effect of COVID on the consumption of most drugs in Spain has been relevant, according to Villalbí, except for example in the case of tobacco, which has not undergone changes since the tobacconists have remained open at all times. “This is very incomplete and qualitative information, we hope to have detailed data soon,” he said.

Thus, this analysis has not yet been endorsed by the Survey on Alcohol and Other Drugs in Spain (EDADES), since it had to be interrupted precisely in March due to the pandemic. Their results so far, presented this Monday, showed a greater compulsive use of the Internet in Spain.

Regarding illegal substances, the delegate recalled that the stoppage of travel due to the pandemic also affected international drug trafficking, which produced a change in consumption patterns. “We have an incomplete knowledge of this reality,” he admitted.

The impression conveyed by the delegate is that there were more adulterated substances circulating, and a greater demand for access to treatment by dependents, which was added to the precariousness of work in the treatment centers due to the pandemic (sick personnel, teleworking, etc).


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