Does it seem like people are drinking more than usual during this time? If it does, then you are right. While we have all been accustomed now to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are underlying effects of the stay-at-home orders. One of these is the take-out and delivery of alcohol. Because of the shutdown of restaurants, many of them resorted to an only take-out and delivery services. Most restaurants served an assortment of alcoholic beverages before this time and now their customers can still buy alcohol from them, ultimately leading to an increase in alcohol consumption. Along with restaurants selling alcohol, people can get the alcohol from ABC stores, grocery stores, and delivery services like Amazon or InstaCart. The buying and consuming of alcohol has also taken a toll on the relationships between parents and their teens.
I am a strong believer in waiting until it is legally OK to drink. There is no reason to start drinking heavily or regularly if you have your whole life to drink after you turn 21. I want teenagers to feel comfortable in staying away from alcohol because they would then decrease many health risks and their dependency on alcohol. Teens who start drinking when they are under 15-years-old are four times more likely to develop an alcohol dependence. I want adults and teens to realize the health risks they could have if they don’t stop drinking. I want adults to find fun, healthier hobbies that will relieve their stress throughout this time period. If this doesn’t happen, we could have a lot of alcoholics who have no idea what they can do to help themselves because they have this huge addiction that was encouraged by their parents and peers.
I have seen many teens and parents drinking during the pandemic for no reason other than being bored. Some adults will drink more during this time because they are under stress. They can now have the alcohol delivered directly to their home from their favorite restaurant. If the delivery is contactless, there would be no way to know if the beverage was ordered by an adult or teen who had their parent’s credit card. There is very easy access to alcohol leading to a much larger consumption. The percentage of alcohol sales has gone up by 55% from this time last year for both teens and adults. I see teens posting stories of being out with friends drinking and how their parents gave them the alcohol.
I want adults and teens to realize the health risks they may be facing from this misuse or underage use of alcohol. If you know of people who are drinking more or binge drinking, try reaching out to them. Or, if you aren’t comfortable talking to them, get one of their friends or someone else they know to try. Let them know the facts so they understand the consequences of drinking heavily and can make more informed decisions in the future.
Elizabeth Perkins is a rising senior in Orange County Schools, and a member of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT), an initiative of Orange Partnership.