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NJ alcohol-related hospitalizations, deaths soared throughout COVID –


Because the early days of COVID-19, public well being officers had been warning a couple of probably rise in substance abuse resulting from worry, isolation, job loss and different penalties of the pandemic.

It seems these warnings have been correct.

The variety of New Jerseyans hospitalized for alcohol-related liver illness jumped 19% from 2019 to 2021 whereas the variety of deaths skyrocketed from 357 to 444, says a report launched Thursday by the New Jersey Hospital Affiliation.

“Rising alcohol gross sales and consumption have been effectively documented in the course of the pandemic,” mentioned Cathy Bennett, the affiliation’s CEO. “Now we’re seeing the downstream toll it’s taking up New Jersey residents and the rising burden on our well being care system.”

The numbers do not come as a shock to those that deal with psychological well being and substance abuse.

Alcohol-related hospitalizations and deaths jumped in New Jersey during the COVID pandemic

New Jersey noticed 3,046 and three,125 drug overdose deaths in 2020 and 2021, respectively — the 2 highest totals since overdose deaths have been first tracked 10 years in the past.

In the meantime, demand for psychological well being companies throughout the state is at an all-time high, with many ready weeks and even months for a primary appointment. Many counselors have been inundated for nearly three years with elevated caseloads by folks affected by despair, anxiousness and a bunch of different illnesses introduced on or exacerbated by the pandemic.

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In New Jersey’s hospitals, 13,188 folks have been admitted with alcohol-related liver illness final 12 months, in contrast with 11,039 in 2019, the 12 months earlier than the pandemic, the brand new report says.

Males accounted for the very best uncooked numbers. However the largest bounce occurred amongst girls — a 22% enhance.

Consuming at house elevated considerably within the first months of the pandemic, when liquor shops recorded 20% extra gross sales from March to September 2020 in contrast with the identical time interval in 2019, a Columbia College study reveals.

Liquor stores have been among the many few New Jersey companies allowed to stay open in the course of the peak of the pandemic.

Gov. Phil Murphy deemed them “important” — together with supermarkets, pharmacies, gasoline stations and different retailers. Substance abuse counselors mentioned this was carried out to maintain alcoholics from looking for hospitalization for withdrawal at a time when emergency rooms have been inundated with COVID sufferers.


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