ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- A study from Johns Hopkins University found COVID-19 related stress caused 60.1% of alcohol drinkers to drink more after March 2020. Approximately 4,500 deaths in New York can be attributed to excessive alcohol use and men account for 71.6% of those deaths, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS).

Liver disease is the number one killer of heavy drinkers (31.08%), followed by alcohol poisoning (14.85%), and suicide (10.44%), said NCDAS. When looking at the top reasons why people drink, it’s no surprise why the majority started drinking more at the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

Top five reasons people drink

  1. They consider themselves social drinkers
  2. Peer pressure
  3. Family history of alcoholism
  4. Stress
  5. Mental health issues

*Source: Alcohol Rehab Help

Excessive alcohol use is especially deadly for men. Besides liver disease and other long-term health problems, men are 50% more likely than women to have been intoxicated in fatal motor vehicle accidents and more likely to have been drinking before suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Excessive drinking can also affect men’s sexual health. It can affect hormone production that could cause erectile dysfunction or infertility. Using alcohol increases the chance that men will engage in sexual behavior that could put them at risk for sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies.

How many is too many?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism excessive or heavy drinking is defined as having more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week for men. For women, it’s much less: having more than three drinks on any day, or more than seven drinks per week.

Need to get help or know someone who needs help getting sober? There are a number of resources on the Alcoholics Anonymous of Northeastern New York’s website including hotlines and a listing of local meetings. People can also call or text the New York State HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY.