One in five Americans is heavily drinking alcohol, according to a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll, one of the top analytics firms. And it appears Covid may be part of the reason. The study was commissioned by an Irish biopharmaceutical company called Alkermes.
In the study, seventeen per cent of Americans polled admitted to “heavy drinking” within the previous month. Heavy drinking is defined as a day consisting of four drinks or more for women and five or more for men. This is not the first study to suggest Americans are drinking more these days.
Many of the respondents blamed Covid for the spike in drinking, saying unemployment and related woes from the Covid epidemic were contributing to stress. However, we located a respondent named Toby Nichol. First Toby explained, “Oh, I’ve been drinking more since the coronavirus happened. A lot me.” But then he sheepishly admitted, “To tell the truth that’s mainly an excuse. I’m home all the time, might as well drink. Kind of, how would you say, convenient. I’ve always been a kind of a latent alcoholic. Being laid off from work has presented me with a fantastic opportunity. I mean, that Covid’s got to be good for something. You’re gonna have an epidemic, you might as well make the most of it.”
Of course, no individual study is conclusive, and the firms involved agree that more study is needed in this important subject. Even the head of Alkermes, Richard Pops, admits the study may be flawed. “We are Irish,” he says, “that may have something to do with.” When questioned about what he means by this, the spokesman admits, “Many of our pollsters showed up at people’s houses with bottles of Irish whisky or vodka and invited the respondents to help themselves. We invite our respondents to help themselves. It loosens them up, and everybody knows imbibing makes people more honest. And if our pollsters are drunk, it makes them more approachable. People are more likely to respond to a drunk pollster. Hell, I’ve been known to drink on the job myself.” He demonstrated by pulling a pint of gin out of his desk and taking a swig. “See,” he said, “harmless.”
As you might guess, not everybody thinks this drinking is a problem. Chris R. Swonger, a top spokesman of the alcohol industry asked, “So what’s the problem here? They want to drink, let ‘em drink. I don’t see a problem.”
Lawson E. Whiting, the president of the Jack Daniels corporation, summarized by saying he doesn’t see a problem either: “Look, drinking’s not a problem until people do it irresponsibly. We only want people who will drink responsibly. We’ve always encouraged responsible drinking. We want people to drink responsibly, and do it in huge quantities. Huge, huge quantities.”