Vermont liquor sales on the rise, health experts are concerned

Local News

At the start of the pandemic, liquor stores in many parts of the US were deemed essential and stayed open. In Vermont, liquor sales have gone up. 

The Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Liquor Control Gary Kessler said there’s been an increase in alcohol sales since the start of the pandemic.

“The sales are up 8.6% compared to the exact same months last year,” Kessler said. 

Just as toilet paper sold out at stores, people made sure they were stocked up on alcohol. 

“People were wanting to make sure their liquor cabinet had liquor in it in case they wanted it and were concerned it might not continue to be available,” Kessler said. 

Division Director for the Alcohol and Drug Programs at the Vermont Department of Health, Cynthia Seivwright said she has concerns about this trend. 

“People are feeling depressed and anxious, and many people will turn to alcohol and drugs to try to feel better,” Seivwright said. 

When the pandemic hit in March they launched vthelplink.org a website and call center for people to access services for substance use. 

“Currently what the data is showing, people are calling for services for alcohol three times more than any other substance,” Seivwright said. 

Clinical Supervisor at Central Vermont Substance Abuse Services Dawn Palladino said isolation has been a concern.

“One of my favorite quotes in this field is that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety it’s connection,” Palladino said. 

Now that people are home more often, the lines can become blurred. 

“I think as a culture in general we have this like I’m not going to drink during the week but I might drink a little bit extra on the weekend to make up for it, whereas now it’s almost always the weekend for some folks,” Palladino said.  

Palladino said even alcohol detox can be dangerous. 

“On the safer end of that people can get tremors and they can start to shake a little bit and the very extreme side they can have seizures,” Palladino said.  

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