Excessive Drinking Has Increased In Quebec Because We Can Actually Go Out & Do Stuff Now

Excessive drinking has increased in Quebec.

According to a September survey from Éduc'alcool and polling firm CROP, 42% of Quebecers "exceeded the recommended low-risk drinking limits" on at least one occasion even though 70% reported no change in their drinking levels and 16% said they were drinking less.

In an October 13 press release, Éduc'alcool attributed this increase in excessive drinking to the end of lockdowns and the reopening of restaurants and bars.

"Spring turned to summer, and people began resuming their social lives and family gatherings," Éduc'alcool director general Hubert Sacy said in the release.

"Given how humans have behaved historically whenever a society has emerged from a crisis or pandemic, we expected an increase in episodes of excessive drinking, although we hoped it would not be too pronounced."

Fourteen percent of polled Quebecers said they were drinking more — less than the percentage of people who said they had reduced their alcohol intake. That's a "major" trend reversal, according to Sacy.

Éduc'alcool says that in May 2020, 21% of Quebecers reported drinking more than usual.

Many who said they drank more have said they did so out of "boredom, to reduce anxiety" or because they've been "spending more time at home."

Despite the downturn in increased drinking, vigilance is "still called for," Sacy said.

"We still have to be watchful. While the number of people who are drinking more in order to relieve boredom has dropped significantly, the number of those who are drinking less because of the lack of social contact and fewer opportunities to drink is also down a lot."

"People appear to be switching from compensation drinking to festive drinking, which comes with its own set of risks."

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.