Study shows pandemic affecting Canadians’ consumption of alcohol and cannabis
Adults who use alcohol and cannabis increased their consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, research suggests
OTTAWA — Results from an ongoing Pan Canadian study by the Canadian Red Cross suggest a portion of adults who use alcohol and cannabis have increased their consumption of those substances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Findings of the June segment of the study show that, among those who used alcohol in the previous 14 days, 26% consumed more than during an average two-week period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, while 11% used less.
Among those who used cannabis during the previous month, 27% reported using it more frequently than during an average month prior to the pandemic. 12% reported using it less. The result is a 15% net gain in the consumption of both alcohol and cannabis.
Included is a 23% net gain in alcohol consumption among adults aged 18-34 — prompting cautionary words from Red Cross and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).
“Most young adults (66%) are consuming no more — or even less — alcohol than prior to COVID-19,” said Paul Hebert, medical and science advisor for the Canadian Red Cross, in a prepared statement. “While that is encouraging, we remain concerned for those heading in the other direction, as the pandemic is often a magnifier of pre-existing vulnerabilities.”
According to CCSA, findings of the Red Cross study regarding use of alcohol among young adults during the pandemic are consistent with their own research and that of other organizations.
“Substance use during COVID-19 has not increased for the majority of young adults, but we need to be concerned for the segment that is not coping well,” said Rita Notarandrea, CEO of CCSA, in a statement. “This appears to be related to stress, anxiety, loneliness, boredom and a lack of regular routine — but more research and analysis is needed in this area.”