Massachusetts Alcohol Deliveries Surged During Pandemic

Unsurprisingly, people relied on delivery services heavily during the COVID-19 pandemic. But while people opted for a safer way of supporting their local restaurants, they also seem to have been drinking heavily at home as well.

Part of this should come as no surprise: with many of the bars and restaurants closed, people are bound to consume their favorite beverages at home. However, the sheer volume of the sales may have some disturbing implications.

Massachusetts alcohol regulators reported a 300% increase in alcohol deliveries to consumers since the pandemic began.

There are many reasons that may explain why alcohol sales and consumption have spiked so substantially. First, there’s boredom—with most things closed there’s little to do, which may cause certain people to overindulge. Other reasons for drinking may indicate more serious problems.

Feelings of stress and isolation are common triggers that lead people to drink. Being drunk can numb or disguise these feelings but over time it will make them worse. People that drink every day are known to have higher rates of depression and anxiety than people that do not. Co-occurring disorders such as these are very common and frequently worsen cases of substance use disorder and vice versa.

Stress caused by losing a job, getting hours cut, or worrying over the economic toll can also lead someone to drink to escape these feelings momentarily. Of course, this often does more harm than good, causing someone’s career or academic performance to decline.

According to data compiled by the University of Arizona, younger people are the most vulnerable to drinking more during the pandemic. During lockdown, hazardous alcohol use rose from 21% to 40.7% over the course of 6 months and likely alcohol dependence grew from 8% to 29%. Severe dependence rose from under 4% more than quadrupled to 17.4% during the same time frame.

Another demographic has also shown a disturbing rise in alcohol consumed—parents of young children. A May survey conducted by the Research Triangle Institute International found that people with children in their household were drinking more, even when compared to the general increase in drinking across demographics.

Online learning seems to contribute to this uptick: parents with feel stressed due to online learning drink 7 more drinks per month than those who say it isn’t a cause of stress. Some parents also worry about the negative effect of isolation and being deprived of recreational activities might have on their child’s development.

Not everyone that has increased drinking while staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as having a drinking problem. However, when someone finds themselves exhibiting several of the classic criteria of alcoholism, they should consider the possibility they have developed an alcohol use disorder. In that case, consulting with a medical professional about quitting drinking safely is the best course of action.

AdCare Treatment Centers helps patients not only withdraw from alcohol or other substances safely, but also learn the skills to be successful in long-term recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please reach out to an admissions navigator at to learn more about AdCare’s inpatient and outpatient programs and addiction treatment facilities in Massachusetts as well as our addiction treatment facilities in Rhode Island.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
AdCare has multiple locations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, making it easily accessible to most parts of New England. We offer an integrated system of care and have been helping individuals and families struggling with addiction for 45 years. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs in MA and RI or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.