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Drinking more than usual? So are a lot of other people

One of the significant and largely untold stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic relates to the amount of alcohol Michigan residents consume.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the average Michigander consumed nearly 956 alcoholic drinks in 2020, an average of 18 drinks per week.

This exceeds “heavy drinking” as defined as 14 drinks per week for men and seven per week for women, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On top of that, Michigan ranked in the top 10 among states that drank the most throughout 2020, beating the national average.

Whether it’s stress or boredom or something else, Michiganders — and, it seems, residents from many other states — are drinking at an historic pace. That’s why April has been designated Alcohol Awareness Month.

“The stresses of COVID-19 over the last year have stretched the limits of otherwise moderate drinkers and we’re seeing an increase in alcohol consumption and binge drinking that can result in long-term health issues,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “If you drink alcohol, be aware of how much you’re consuming and always do so in moderation.”

Some common-sense rules recommend include —

— Set limits on the amount being consumed.

— Don’t relax the rules; stick with your usual limits on alcohol.

— Consider low- or no-alcohol drinks.

— Limit sugary cocktails that can affect the immune system, especially if you already have underlying health conditions.

For more information and resources available, go online to MDHHS – Treatment at michigan.gov or Ncadd.org/.

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