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Coronavirus remote work leads to drinking on the job: Study

Jeanette Settembre

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Americans may be working under the influence.

People who are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic are consuming more booze while in quarantine, according to a new study from Alcohol.org.

The study of 3,000 American workers across the country found that one in three say they’re more likely to drink alcohol while in isolation during quarantine, with one-fifth of respondents saying they’ve stockpiled alcohol.

And beer is the No. 1 most preferred beverage of choice, according to the findings.

Budweiser parent Anheuser-Busch InBev North America CEO Michel Doukeris said Monday that alcohol consumption has remained flat for the most part during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the brewing company, which also makes Corona and Stella Artois, has seen a spike in retail demand since coronavirus reached the U.S. as Americans stock up as a result of not being able to go out to bars and restaurants.

Alcohol.org broke down alcohol consumption based on states and found that people living in Virginia and Rhode Island are consuming the most with half of their inhabitants reporting that they’ve imbibed on the job while working from home.

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Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Idaho, Nevada, Kansas and Montana came in second with about 40 percent of people saying they’ve consumed more alcohol while working remotely. Thirty-eight percent of workers based in New York and California, meanwhile, said they’d tip back a few drinks “at work.”

With stay-at-home orders across the U.S., a number of bartenders who are out of work during the coronavirus have been hosting virtual happy hours via video conferencing platforms like Zoom to boost social morale and raise funding for health care workers by teaching viewers how to shake up quarantine cocktails. And more Americans are sharing a virtual drink via the video chat app Houseparty, which has seen an uptick of new subscribers.

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However, isolation can be particularly challenging for those struggling with substance abuse issues and can be a trigger for many battling addictions, experts say.

“Social isolation can bring loneliness, and loneliness is a trigger for relapse,” Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, a chief medical officer at American Addiction Centers, told FOX Business last month.

As a result, a number of recovery groups and meetings have resumed virtually to help those stay on track. Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-step abstinence program, has a number of online resources available. And those who have a family member or loved one who is struggling with alcoholism can take part in remote meetings through Families Anonymous. 

For individuals who may be more sober-curious and want to moderate their drinking without abstaining entirely, there are virtual support groups through Moderation Management.

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