LC-MS

  • How Does Social Distancing Affect Alcohol Consumption? - Chromatography Investigates

How Does Social Distancing Affect Alcohol Consumption? - Chromatography Investigates

Oct 23 2020 Read 451 Times

Governments around the world have reacted in many ways to try and reduce the spread and impact of the virus SARS-CoV-2 and its associated disease Covid-19. The numbers of people affected globally has been increasing ever since the virus and disease spread beyond the confines of Wuhan, China in January 2020. Death rates have also been increasing with the numbers of deaths above the expected death rate reaching over 500,000 by July 2020. The World Health Organization has given the label pandemic to the outbreak and by late October 2020, the spread of the virus and disease was going through a second growth spurt in many countries.

Social distancing – avoid thy neighbour and get a drink

Governments have introduced measures including lockdowns, social distancing, and self-isolation to combat the spread of Covid-19. A paper published in the journal Addiction reports on the impact of social restrictions on consumption of alcohol and in its pattern of use compared with pre-Covid-19 days. The study follows the Australian government’s policies to close non-essential services in March 2020 including clubs and licensed premises. This severely limited the availability of alcohol to standalone liquor outlets.

A review of the literature shows conflicting epidemiological evidence regarding the degree of alcohol use following a catastrophic event. In stressful times, people may increase their alcohol consumption above normal levels due to the perceived relief from stress. But alcohol can also impair both the physiological and psychological responses to stress. There are also the consequences of a predisposition to depression or anxiety that both alcohol and stress can exacerbate.

Analysing the waste – toilets don’t lie

Knowing how much people are drinking and correlating that with behaviours can help researchers understand the effects of a catastrophic event and alcohol consumption. A recent survey in Australia focussed on alcohol sales and use in the initial Covid-19 phase. The results implied that alcohol sales and use had increased since the beginning of the pandemic. However, although surveys are a useful tool, there is evidence that they can lead to response biases in the assessment of alcohol use.

One method that has been used successfully in recent years to assess the use of alcohol and drugs is wastewater epidemiology. This involves sampling wastewater from a given population sample and analysing the samples using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. The use of chromatography to analyse food and drink samples is discussed in the article, A question of taste?

The data obtained by the analysis and presented in the paper suggests that the population under investigation heeded government advice to stay home and selfisolate, therefore resulting in decreased social and binge drinking occurring in pubs and clubs. The evidence suggests that there was no increase in alcohol consumption, and it is likely that the major impact of the COVID19 epidemic may be a decline in alcoholrelated problems.

Reader comments

Do you like or dislike what you have read? Why not post a comment to tell others / the manufacturer and our Editor what you think. To leave comments please complete the form below. Providing the content is approved, your comment will be on screen in less than 24 hours. Leaving comments on product information and articles can assist with future editorial and article content. Post questions, thoughts or simply whether you like the content.

Post a Comment





Digital Edition

Chromatography Today - Buyers' Guide 2021

December 2020

In This Edition Articles Modern & Practical Applications - LC-MS Analysis of Therapeutic Oligonucleotide and Related Products - Expanding the Boundaries of Light Scattering for Macromolec...

View all digital editions

Events

PITTCON 2021

Mar 08 2021 Virtual Event

ISCC & GCxGC 2021

May 09 2021 Fort Worth, Tx, USA

Plastics Recycling World Expo - NEW DATES

Jun 01 2021 Essen, Germany

ASMS Conference

Jun 06 2021 Philadelphia, PA, USA

PREP 2021

Jun 06 2021 Baltimore, MD, USA

View all events