This past year, we navigated unprecedented challenges. We shifted programming online. We were pushed to be more creative and flexible. We saw staffing cuts, increased workloads, and turnover. We worked through the benefits and challenges of working alongside partners, children, and pets. We did all of this as policy and protocols changed weekly. And it has been exhausting. To get me through, I have gone back to a few of my key tenets in prevention.
First, follow the data.
To add to our stress, in the months following statewide shutdowns, we saw concerning headlines in the news. “Alcohol Consumption Has Spiked during the Pandemic.” “Pandemic Drinking Took Swift Toll on the Gut, Liver.” “Coronavirus Pandemic Boosts Marijuana Sales.” “Marijuana stockpiling during the coronavirus pandemic.” Social media spread this message with memes about drinking to cope, happy hour all day, and more.
However, anecdotally, we heard from students who reported drinking the same amount and students who reported drinking less during the pandemic. We are starting to see data being released that confirms this point. While it is easy to jump to conclusions based on headlines and what is portrayed in the media, this is a good reminder to review and follow the data.