Pandemic drinking could lead to 8,000 additional alcohol-related deaths by 2040, study says
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had many unintended consequences with unknown long-term impact,” researchers said.
By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
January 31, 2022
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the spring of 2020, drinking among American adults has shot up.
One study published in 2020 found that drinking among adults 30-years-old and older increased by 14 percent with and some researchers have found an association with stress stemming from the pandemic and more drinking among women compared to men.
The increase has some scientists worried, as a separate recently published study claims a one-year increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic will result in 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040.
The study, published in the journal Hepatology, found that the increased rate of alcohol consumption linked to the pandemic will cause 100 additional deaths and 2,800 extra cases of liver failure by 2023.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had many unintended consequences with unknown long-term impact. Our modeling study provides a framework for quantifying the long-term impact of increased alcohol consumption associated with COVID-19 and initiating conversations for potential interventions,” Turgay Ayer, a co-author of the study and the George Family Foundation Early Career Professor of Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, said in a release.
The study was led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital who used data from a national survey of American adults on their drinking habits. The survey found behavior such las binge drinking has increased by 21 percent.
“While we have projected the expected impact of societal drinking changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic without any interventions, we hope that our research can help jumpstart needed conversations at every level of society about how we can respond to the many behavioral changes, coping mechanisms, and choices that have short- and long-term implications for the health of individuals, families and communities in America,” Jovan Julien, lead author and data analyst at the MGH Institute for Technology Assessment, said in a statement.