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Boredom during lockdown is leading to excessive drinking, Christian group warns

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian group which works to reduce alcohol-related violence has warned that boredom during the UK coronavirus lockdown is triggering higher-alcohol consumption. 

The Christian Nightlife Initiatives (CNI) Network echoes research released from Alcohol Change UK which found one in five adults who drink alcohol are drinking more often since lockdown began on 23 March - around 8.6 million people.

Paul Blakey, CEO of CNI Network told Premier he's not surprised by the statistics. 

"Having seen the empty shells of alcohol a few weeks ago as a lockdown came in my local supermarket, and increasingly empty shelves since,  you realise that one of the things that people do in a time of crisis like this is drink alcohol.

"If we're all isolated, we're all in lockdown, then it's very easy to kind of open the bottle of wine, open the can of beer very early.

"There's not much else to do once you've done your daily walk and you've been to the supermarket once or twice a week. There's not much on TV, you kind of sit down and relax and drink alcohol.  

"Most people are doing it sensibly. But of course there will be those few, as the survey says that overindulge.  That kind of increase comes all sorts of problems, which is very sad."

The research also found 1 in 14 people - roughly 3.5 million adults - are living in households where alcohol is leading to greater tension or conflict. 1 in 7 people with children under 18 reported that alcohol had increased tension in the household.

The research follows figures from global data analytics company Nielsen which suggest that the sale of alcohol has increased by 291 per cent during the pandemic.

Blakey told Premier people who drink should put healthy habits in place such as having non-alcohol days and also having mixed alcoholic drinks instead of fully alcoholic drinks. 

"Also just ask family members to kind of be aware of amount that you're drinking," he said. 

"It's very easy just to kind of fall into that trap."

Blakey expects there to be a spike in people enjoying nightlife when the country ends social distancing measures and said CNI Network is preparing on how to respond to that. 

He said the charity is also working on how to help those who work in the industry.

"It's obviously a very volatile environment, anywhere that relies on weekends and peaks to keep going, especially the night-time economy. So we're thinking, what will the effect be and we're aiming to support those that we know who work within this industry to offer them our prayers, opportunity to chat, opportunity to get alongside them, and hopefully just to kind of weather the storm."

Listen to the full interview here:

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