We have been reporting on the many destructive socioeconomic, geopolitical, and personal implications of the COVID War on society. The RAND Corporation released a study in the medical journal JAMA Network Open that asked 1,540 adults to compare how their drinking habits have changed compared to last year. The study found drinking is up among all adults, but “heavy drinking” is up 41 percent for women. Heavy drinking is considered four or more drinks within a few hours.
Jonathan Metzl, Director of the Department of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University, called the coronavirus outbreak – with the virus itself and job losses that have accompanied it – an “incredible, once-in-an-epoch stressful situation, and the kinds of outlets people usually have in their lives are just not available.”
Dr. Metzl told Jessica Grose, author of a NYT column on the matter and the mother of small children, that many people’s lives have been upended and otherwise unremarkable events, like going to the gym or seeing friends, are likely no longer possible for many.
Ms. Grose’s column is focused on the number of her friends – young mothers – who have turned to alcohol, marijuana, and prescribed drugs to deal with the uncertainties and fears that come with the coronavirus.
As Dr. Metzl pointed out, the turn to self-medication is not unique for this generation, as the post-WWII generation of women also turned to tranquilizers.
He is the author of “Prozac on the Couch: Prescribing Gender in the Era of Wonder Drugs,” and told Ms. Grose that these drugs were intended to sedate women who were returning to life at home after taking jobs in the workforce while the men in the country were fighting.
“It’s ironic we’re having this conversation now, in light of profound threats to everything women stood for in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Metzl said.

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