Changes in Adult Alcohol Use and Consequences During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the US


As stay-at-home orders began in some US states as a mitigation strategy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission, Nielsen reported a 54% increase in national sales of alcohol for the week ending March 21, 2020, compared with 1 year before; online sales increased 262% from 2019. Three weeks later, the World Health Organization warned that alcohol use during the pandemic may potentially exacerbate health concerns and risk-taking behaviors. This study examines individual-level changes in alcohol use and consequences associated with alcohol use in US adults, as well as demographic disparities, from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

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