CONTROLS to counter the coronavirus could spark a spike in alcohol-related harm, it is feared.
Although UK pubs, clubs and restaurants have been forced to close, off-licences have been deemed ‘essential’ and business is brisk on booze aisles at supermarkets.
Home drinking has been on the increase in recent years fuelled by pub closures and cheap supermarket prices causing concern over consumption.
Now it’s feared the ban on social contact to contain Covid-19 will lead more people to adopt home-drinking habits.
Experts are concerned that a prolonged isolation could cause a rise in alcohol-related health issues that account for 1.3m hospital admissions a year in England alone.
Writing for the Society for the Study of Addiction, James Morris, a researcher at the Centre for Addictive Behaviours at London South Bank University, says it is difficult to predict the long-term impact but he’s not optimistic.
He said: “The impact of alcohol only being available for home consumption is unlikely to yield many positives beyond certain retailer profit.
“Rises in domestic violence, fires and potentially alcohol dependence are logical predictions in the wake of the Covid 19 outbreak.”
Mr Morris, suggested home drinking could become habitual, or that newly liberated drinkers might go on a booze binge once the lock-down lifts.
“For some, home drinking may become more embedded, potentially exacerbated by the further closure of already struggling pubs and bars,” he said.
“For others, the period could highlight how valuable public and social drinking settings are, resulting in a boom in drinking out to celebrate the end of isolation.”