Ditch the drink

THE Alcohol and Drug Foundation is warning Australians not to use booze as a crutch during the coronavirus pandemic.

Spending on alcohol at bottle shops is up 86 per cent compared to the end of March last year as people stockpile grog and quell their anxiety with drink.

“We are worried that as alcohol sales continue to rise, so will excessive drinking and related harms such as violence, accidents, injuries and dependence,” Foundation CEO Erin Lalor said.

“It’s particularly important at the moment that people maintain their physical and mental health,” Dr Lalor said.

“People need to understand that there are no health benefits of alcohol, in fact, consuming alcohol can weaken your immune system, disrupt your sleep and make feelings of stress and anxiety worse.

“Try alternative tactics such as listening to music, exercising, reading and connecting with loved ones.

“If you are still feeling stressed or anxious, seek advice from a health professional.”

Recently the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons reported a “concerning” number of alcohol-related hospitalisations during the coronavirus pandemic.

RACS said preventable drink driving cases have contributed to a recent spike in trauma-presentations.

“A reduction in alcohol-related accidents and injuries is a key step in taking pressure off hospital resources needed for coronavirus presentations,” Dr Lalor said.

For more information or support go to http://www.adf.org.au or call the foundation’s info line on 1300 85 85 84.

The non-judgmental service provides facts about alcohol, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant support services.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s tips on booze during the lockdown:

• Stick to the national guidelines. The National Health and Medical Research Centre recommends drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion to avoid injury or illness, and no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of alcohol-related injury and disease such as cancer;

• Avoid using alcohol as a mechanism to relieve stress and/or anxiety, as alcohol can heighten these feelings. Try alternative tactics such as listening to music, exercising, reading and connecting with loved ones. If you are still feeling stressed or anxious, seek advice from a health professional;

• Model responsible drinking around children, including limiting consumption and avoiding intoxication

• Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs, including medications; and,

• If you are consuming alcohol, the safest option is to avoid getting behind the wheel.

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