During these days of corona – starting to feel endless – essential business has become a lightning-rod phrase. For entrepreneurs and independent businesspeople trying to make a buck to feed families by providing products and services, every one of their enterprises is essential.
Please don’t ask me to be the arbiter of essentiality. That’s a no-win proposition.
But one thing I know for sure: We do like our drugs – sipping them, smoking them, shopping for them, keeping them a part of our lifestyles.
And most of all in this society, we don’t want to do without our alcohol or caffeine or nicotine. Liquor store sales don’t appear to have slowed a bit. The same appears to be true with coffee sales. Smokers will always find their tobacco, marijuana believers their pot, heroin users their smack.
But for this column let’s focus on alcohol, a big part of our beach culture.
Early in Delaware’s shutdown, some questioned why liquor stores weren’t being shuttered. Those rumblings faded quickly.
Countering arguments centered around alcohol withdrawal and associated problems such as domestic abuse, especially at home where people are advised to shelter in place.
Erin Willis monitors patient activity and volume at SUN Behavioral Health in Georgetown. In conversation last week, she reconfirmed an observation she made a year or so ago, not long after the facility first opened. While the medical staff there expected to see a lot of problems associated with opioid abuse, the surprise came with what they found with alcohol. “Treating people abusing alcohol has always been a big unit for us. We’ve found that alcohol is No. 1 here in terms of substance abuse,” she said.
Willis said SUN is starting to see a number of readmissions due to alcohol relapses. “It seems like people are sheltering at home and abusing alcohol – riding it out there. But that only lasts until there is a crisis. We’re expecting to be flooded here with detox patients. In the meantime our patient census is remaining really low. People are still going to the liquor stores to get their fix, but we think that will end soon. We’re already starting to see an uptick in the numbers we’re seeing.”
Willis said SUN is also seeing a rise in mental health issues during this time of corona.