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ABSRACT: The impact of COVID-19 on consumption of alcohol among young people in Australia

The impact of COVID-19 on consumption of alcohol among young people in Australia

Presenter: Philip Clare


Author names: 1Clare, Philip J; 1,2Peacock, Amy; 1Aiken, Alexandra; 1Yuen, Wing See; 1De Torres, Clara; 1Upton, Emily; 1Boland, Veronica; 1Degenhardt, Louisa; 3Kypri, Kypros; 4Slade, Tim; 1,5,6,7 Hutchinson, Delyse; 8Najman, Jackob M; 1,2Bruno, Raimondo; 9McBride, Nyanda;

10Horwood, John; 11McCambridge, Jim; 1Mattick, Richard P


Author affiliation: 1 National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, Sydney NSW 2052 Australia; 2 School of Medicine, University of Tasmania, Hobart TAS 7000 Australia; 3 Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle NSW 2308 Australia; 4 The Matilda Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia; 5 Deakin University, Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development, School of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Geelong VIC 3220 Australia; 6 Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Victoria, Australia; 7 The University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics, Royal Children’s Hospital, Victoria, Australia; 8 Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072 Australia; 9 National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth WA 6845 Australia; 10 Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch 8140 New Zealand; 11 Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, United Kingdom.


Introduction: COVID-19 has had far-reaching consequences beyond the direct illness and death caused by the disease itself. In particular, it has been suggested the social distancing restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the disease may have led to other serious harms, such as increases in substance use, and poorer mental health.


Aims: The aims of this study were to: 1) provide a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on young people, and 2) assess change in consumption of alcohol and other drugs due to COVID-19.


Methods: This study used data from a special survey on the impact of COVID-19, on the Australian Parental Supply of Alcohol Longitudinal Study (APSALS) cohort, a prospective cohort of young adults recruited in adolescence. APSALS participants were asked a range of questions about the impact of COVID-19, as well as their use of alcohol and other substances.


Results: Data collection is currently underway, and will be completed by July 2020. Analyses will examine the immediate change in reported use of alcohol, nicotine and illicit substances during the COVID-19 crisis compared to use in February 2020. It will also examine reported use against 2019 and earlier. Analyses will be stratified by gender, to examine whether changes in the use of substances is different for males versus females.


Implications for policy and practice: The findings will help us understand impacts of COVID-19 on substance use among young Australians, compared against reported use prior to the start of the pandemic.


image - Phillip Clare