WARNINGS have been issued more than one in five people in the region are drinking more since lockdown began.
Charity Drinkaware says lockdown and the impact of the pandemic could have a lasting impact on drinking levels – and therefore devastating health consequences – for many people if action is not taken.
The study of 2,000 people across the UK found 21 per cent in the West Midlands are drinking more since lockdown began.
Some 12 per cent say they are drinking more in the day and ten per cent find it harder to stop at one drink.
The charity is urging people to look out for drinking triggers to help them cut back and is calling on government to raise the issue of alcohol higher up its harm reduction agenda.
Chief executive Elaine Hindal said: “Our research clearly shows certain groups of people are displaying worrying new drinking patterns during this very challenging time.
“We’re concerned that, for a significant number of people, lockdown levels of drinking may become ingrained and hard to break. Drinking more can lead to an increased tolerance for alcohol, and this can lead to alcohol dependence.
“It is crucial alcohol is considered as a factor when the government is looking at tackling obesity. Alcohol consumption should also be looked at as a factor within mental health strategies, including for those furloughed and younger people who may feel uncertain about the future, and for parents who are juggling work and family life.
“The important thing to remember is that, if you or someone you care about is drinking more than usual at the moment, it’s not too late to cut down or find support to help you. Understanding what triggers you to drink more can help you avoid reaching for alcohol. Sticking to the low risk drinking guidelines of no more than 14 units a week – that’s about six glasses of wine or six pints of beer – is a good place to start to help you keep track.”