Dangers of excessive alcohol use during pandemic

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) announced the launch of a new Alcohol Awareness campaign to caution people of the warning signs of excessive alcohol use, and where to go to get help. In addition to warning signs, the campaign will also help offer alternatives to using alcohol for stress management, at a time when the danger of excessive alcohol use is increased as a result of the pandemic.

“Now more than ever, it is important to raise awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol and promote healthy ways to deal with anxiety and stress,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the NYS Heroin and Opioid Task Force. “We want to make sure individuals and families have the information and resources they need to cope with addiction and other struggles during the pandemic. The launch of this new campaign will highlight the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, the warning signs and ways to manage stress. This is part of our ongoing efforts to provide New Yorkers with the services and support they need to address mental health and substance abuse and encourage healthy and safe lifestyles.”​

“During this difficult time, it is important that people recognize the dangers of increased alcohol consumption,” OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said. “With this campaign we are reminding people of the negative consequences they could face by not using alcohol responsibly, and are also helping direct them to the services they need to manage any addiction issues.”

As New York State continues to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, excessive alcohol use may be especially risky to both mental and physical health. It can lead to or worsen existing depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Alcohol also may decrease immune function, which can increase susceptibility to illness.

The campaign consists of radio ads that will air statewide in both English and Spanish. Individuals will be encouraged to visit the OASAS webpage for information about prevention, treatment and recovery services, and will also be directed to the NYS HOPEline, where they can receive help for themselves or someone else. Campaign materials are located on the public awareness section of the OASAS website.

“It is truly important that New York residents understand all of the risks connected to excessive alcohol consumption, especially now when many are experiencing pandemic-related stress and anxieties,” said Sen. Pete Harckham, chair of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. “I appreciate this new effort being made by OASAS to publicize the many resources, services and programs available for people looking to safeguard their health in this regard.”

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369). 

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the NYS OASAS website.

Find more from HERE

And visit OASAS website (November 2020)

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