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Growing concern over how much alcohol Americans are consuming during the pandemic

The Atlantic senior editor Kate Julian joins ‘The News with Shepard Smith’ to discuss America’s drinking problem as there's growing concern over how much alcohol people are drinking during the pandemic. According to a report, American adults are drinking 14% more often, with women drinking 17% more.
02:31
Fri, Jun 11 20217:49 PM EDT

Shepard Smith

Kate Julian now, senior editor of The Atlantic, out with a new article titled America has a drinking problem. Okay, thank you, that title kind of jarring, what have you found?

Kate Julian

So in addition to the numbers you just cited, the thing that I think is most important here is not just how much we're drinking, but the way we're drinking. 25% of Americans say that they're drinking more over the past year as a means of coping with anxiety and stress. And we know that that kind of drinking isn't particularly fun and isn't particularly healthy. It sets you up for long term issues,

Shepard Smith

By the numbers strictly by the numbers, the pandemic really changed drinking habits.

Kate Julian

Well, yeah, I mean, just looking at my own life, I grew far more likely on a given night to crack open a bottle of wine and have a class at the end of the day, it was a way of relieving some of the stress and anxiety. It was a way of just trying to demarcate work and home when everything was blurring together. The problem is, you know, we haven't been doing the fun, social kind of drinking as much. And that's the drinking that scientists say, really, they have some benefits.

Shepard Smith

Was there something in particular that made you dive into this topic and write this article?

Kate Julian

I'm glad you asked. You know, over the past several years, I've been seeing the same headlines everyone else has about drinking, even before the pandemic being up, about rates of death from alcohol being up. And I started to wonder what was going on. And I started to also look around for clues as to what might be happening. And I was struck by alcohol being in all kinds of places that it hadn't been before. I like wine as much as the next person. Like, you really need to have a wine bar inside the supermarket.

Shepard Smith

There's a lot of there's now drinking on the streets, you know, post-pandemic. It's easier to get alcohol, it seems like about everywhere.

Kate Julian

I think that's right. I mean, I noticed in recent years in the zoo, and Starbucks, you know, in salons and boutiques, they're pouring it out. And you know, it makes sense, right? If we're not drinking as much in the places that we used to, right, we know that bars have been closing for decades, now. That's not just a pandemic era thing. Their numbers have been dropping, we know people are hanging out less in person than they used to. So if we're drinking, you know, we're more likely to be doing it by ourselves. The problem is, you know, as I said before, there are some real benefits to drinking with other people, right? We get some benefits from them, we bond, we have fun. And the kind of drinking we're doing now is really more the sad, anxious kind of drinking. So we're getting all those health effects that you talked about before, but without any fun or the joy.