Alcohol Use Patterns During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Veterans in the United States.

Publication date: Dec 03, 2023

Veterans may be especially susceptible to increased alcohol consumption following the COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to evaluate trends in alcohol use among U. S. Veterans before, during, and following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. All U. S. Veterans utilizing Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities in the U. S. from March 1, 2018 to February 28, 2023 with ≥1 AUDIT-C score were categorized into 1) No alcohol use (AUDIT-C = 0), 2) Low-risk alcohol use (AUDIT-C 1-2 for women, 1-3 for men), and 3) High-risk alcohol use (AUDIT-C ≥ 3 for women, ≥ 4 for men). Trends in the proportion of Veterans reporting high-risk alcohol use, stratified by sex, age, race/ethnicity, and urbanicity were evaluated. Among a cohort of 2. 15 to 2. 60 million Veterans, 15. 5% reported high-risk alcohol use during March 2018-February 2019, which declined to 14. 6% during the first year of the pandemic, increased to 15. 2% in the second year, and then decreased to 14. 9% from March 2022-February 2023. Among non-Hispanic whites, African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics, the proportion of women reporting high-risk alcohol use surpassed that of men during the onset of the pandemic and beyond. The greatest proportion of high-risk alcohol use was observed among young Veterans aged 18-39 years (17-27%), which was consistent across all race/ethnic groups. High-risk alcohol use among U. S. Veterans has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic onset, and in the third year following pandemic onset, 15% of Veterans overall and over 20% of young Veterans aged 18-39 years reported high -risk alcohol use.

Concepts Keywords
February alcohol use disorder
Hispanics alcoholism
Pandemic AUDIT-C
Veterans pandemic


Type Source Name
drug DRUGBANK Ethanol
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
disease MESH alcohol use disorder
pathway KEGG Alcoholism

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