A regional healthcare provider has reported that lockdown has negatively affected many people's drinking habits.
Grampians Community Health Healthy Communities program leader Gemma Beavis said patients had noted the effect of COVID-19 on their drinking behaviours.
"People attending GCH alcohol and other drug services have reported that during the pandemic their alcohol use increased," she said.
"This can impact on their mental health, shown by an increase in people attending hospital contemplating suicide as well as causing other health problems such as pancreatitis.
"For many people, their drinking habits changed, that meant they were drinking more.
"Where they would only drink on a weekend they started drinking during the week, and with nothing else to do they started drinking earlier in the day, reporting that it made the time go faster."
In August 2020, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education published its Annual Alcohol Poll 2020.
The findings suggested the increased speed of home deliveries was problematic.
The poll revealed 70 per cent of people who online retailers delivered alcohol to within two hours would consume more than four standard drinks that day, while 38 per cent would consume 11 or more standard drinks that day.
Ms Beavis agreed home-delivered alcohol presented various difficulties.
"For some people, home delivery provides the opportunity to access and to buy alcohol on an impulse," she said.
"This means they may drink more than their usual amount and also spend a greater amount of money on alcohol, leaving them with problems paying bills and buying food.
"Another potential problem is it provides the opportunity for underage purchasing of alcohol and an increased ability to buy alcohol while intoxicated, both preventable when buying in person in a store."
People experiencing problems with alcohol can phone Grampians Health Care on 5358 7400.
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