It’s hard to report all the news all the time about the coronavirus health emergency. Wading through it is wearing and, I hate to say it, but increasingly hard to know what’s real and what isn’t.

That’s why I’m glad to have the assistance of news releases delivered to my email.

The coronavirus is serious, deadly and debilitating, and we are far from done with it. It dominates our every waking hour. Unlike many readers, I’ve not had a loss of work, very fortunately. I worked from home for a few weeks and came back into our closed office six weeks ago.

Our email is clogged with news releases; it seems like more than ever during this emergency. Some releases are really news but most are thinly disguised – and some are just blatant – advertising.

Some releases do report on interesting side notes. Here are two from an outfit called White Hot PR out of Portland, Oregon. While making the case for getting help with alcohol problems, they report some interesting figures about alcohol use during this pandemic. Who would have thought?

Clocktail hours

The average Hoosier spent 102 hours drunk during lockdown, according to a study.

Being stuck at home for a solid few months means many Americans have had to get creative when it comes to ways to pass the time during lockdown.

American Addiction Centers, provider of rehabilitation resources and programs, conducted a survey of 3,200 adults (aged 21+) to find out how much time they have actually spent drunk during lockdown. Overall, it was found that the average Indiana adult was drunk for 102 hours during lockdown (compared to a national average of 172 hours)!

This is based on an average of 11 weeks spent in lockdown across the US.

Having a few more extra hours per day means many people were inspired to try new things during lockdown. Nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) of those surveyed said lockdown inspired them to experiment with different types of alcoholic drinks that they hadn’t tried before. It appears men (29 percent) were more experimental, while women (19 percent) preferred to stick to their usual drinks.

As many Americans are used to the chaos of everyday life and being busy all the time, having extra free time on their hands can actually be difficult to deal with. In fact, 1 in 10 respondents (10 percent) said they had to confront a partner, family member or friend about their excessive alcohol consumption during lockdown.

Additionally, 14 percent of people said they have spent more time drunk during lockdown than they did before it began.

Nearly 1 in 5 people (18 percent) who were in lockdown with their partner admit they secretly had a drink without telling their significant other. Nineteen percent of women admitted to this compared to 17 percent of men.

“As daily routines approach normalcy, if you find that your drinking, or the urge to drink, is interfering in multiple areas of your life, it may be time that the issue is addressed clinically,” said Dr. Shahzad Allawala, medical director at Greenhouse Treatment Center.

Booze budgeting

Indiana workers are saving $311 (on average) by skipping after-work drinks during lockdown: 1 in 10 employees working from home attend virtual drink meet-ups hosted by their office during lockdown and 37 percent say they find lockdown hangovers easier to deal with.

Now that many workers across the U.S. still remain in lockdown, post-work office parties are no longer possible in person. While you may not prefer attending virtual office parties from the comfort of your couch, your wallet certainly does! It’s saving on the small expenses – such as a beer or two a few times per week.

American Addiction Centers surveyed 3,000 workers asking how much they are saving by not attending after-work drinks during lockdown. Overall, it was found American workers have saved $480 each since lockdowns began – the equivalent of over 90 beers! Hoosiers, on the other hand, have saved $311 per month!

Kentuckians are saving the most – an average of over $922 – while Louisianians and New Mexicans are saving the least, $45.

One in 10 employees are still bonding with their colleagues via video call by attending virtual drinks hosted by their office. With the wide variety of online games available, it’s possible to enjoy a wholesome night in with a general knowledge quiz night or open mic karaoke.

Not only are employees saving money by not attending after-work drinks in person with their colleagues, they could also be saving time. The survey also revealed that the average after-work drinking sessions at a bar or restaurant lasts an average of 1.8 hours for American employees. Comparatively, if you attend virtual office drinks from home, you are saving time and money by not having to public transport back afterwards.

“Enjoying a drink or two virtually with colleagues can be a bonding activity, but it’s important to be mindful of alcohol intake if these activities occur frequently,” said Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer for American Addiction Centers. “Alcohol use disorder is much more common than people realize. The most recent SAMHSA stats state that nearly 140 million Americans currently drink alcohol, and it’s also the number one reason that people seek treatment .... There is treatment for alcohol use disorder, but if untreated, it will get worse.”

Bob Hansen, the Connersville News-Examiner’s editor, spends entirely too much time looking through news releases. Contact him at bhansen@newsexaminer.com or 765-825-0588 ext. 235.