Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 16(4) May 2021 : 17-24.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2021.26502
Discussion and Debate

The Shadow Pandemic of Alcohol Use during COVID-19: A Canadian Health Leadership Imperative

Elizabeth Hartney

Abstract

Increased alcohol consumption among Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic will impact our health systems in the short and longer term, through increased hospitalizations due to alcohol-related illness, addiction, violence and accidents. The increased stress due to involuntary unemployment, confinement and boredom during the pandemic has led to an escalation in alcohol use. It is imperative that policy makers recognize and address the inherently conflicting roles of provincial/territorial governments as regulators/retailers of alcohol and funders of healthcare and prioritize the development and implementation of an evidence-based framework to mitigate the increased population health risks of alcohol-related harms.

 

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