New Mexico ranks 3rd in alcohol consumption during pandemic | KOB 4

New Mexico ranks 3rd in alcohol consumption during pandemic

Patrick Hayes
Created: April 13, 2020 06:24 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Experts say Americans are buying more alcohol to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s not clear if people are stocking up to comply with stay-at-home orders or drinking more frequently. Whatever the reason, a doctor at the University of New Mexico told KOB 4 it’s the wrong time to start drinking because alcohol lowers the body’s immune system.

“It can give them temporary relief or euphoria so those are some of the positive sides and why people drink more,” said Dr. Paul Romo, medical director at UNM’s Addiction and Substance Abuse Program.

“The downside is that it can also reduce people’s immune system and that’s one of the last things anyone needs during a pandemic," he added.

The state’s Taxation and Revenue Department said they’ll know how much excise tax was generated in March next month, but it won’t reflect retail sales. However, a recent survey from the BBQ cooking website, Seriously Smoked, ranked New Mexico third in alcohol consumption behind Texas and California.

The study analyzed data from Twitter including phrases and hashtags.

Romo believes New Mexicans are stressed because of the pandemic and looking for an outlet.

“One of those outlets can be alcohol or substances,” he said.

“Not only the pandemic but the social distancing, the stay-at-home orders, can be stressful for people, psychologically,” he added.

Despite the state’s public health orders and various restrictions, Romo said there are still plenty of resources available for people looking to get help for alcohol or substance abuse including the county’s Department of Behavioral Health.

To contact the Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health, call 505-468-1555.

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