Fallout from COVID-19 pandemic leads to rise in heavy drinking, domestic violence

Sistercare in Columbia says their emergency hotline has received 86% more calls since March

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is driving more and more Americans to go into their fridge and crack open more beers.

A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that chronic alcohol consumption went up 14% over the last few months, while women were 41% more likely to consume multiple alcoholic beverages in one day.

“In the recovery world, there’s an old saying that the opposite of addiction is connection, and when we distance ourselves to stay safe from COVID, we are losing that connection to folks, and often times, people turn in that isolation to alcohol,” said Sara Goldsby, the Director of South Carolina’s Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS).

However, another issue that has emerged due to chronic alcohol usage has been a rise in domestic violence.

“Domestic violence survivors often report to us that drinking, drugging, substance abuse disorders occurred in a high percentage of cases,” said Leah Wisevic, the Director of Grants Management for Sistercare, an organization in Columbia aimed at helping survivors of domestic violence and their families. 

Wisevic said the number of calls to their domestic violence hotline has gone up 86%, though not all of those cases involve alcohol. Wisevic said more and more cases are involving weapons, like guns and knives.

Even during the pandemic, they say their services have not slowed down.

“We continue to offer all of our services, counseling, advocacy, anything like that, we’re still here and ready to help,” Wisevic said.

If you or someone you love has been impacted by domestic violence, click here.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by chronic alcohol use, click here.

Categories: Local News, News