Thinking Citizen Blog — Alcohol Deaths Up 26% in the First Year of Covid — Looking Back, What Were the Costs of the Lockdown?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care, and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic: Alcohol Deaths Up 26% in the First Year of Covid — Looking Back, What Were the Costs of the Lockdown?

Have you read an objective assessment of the benefits and costs of the Covid lockdown? Does the analysis include the effect on children, especially, economically disadvantaged ones? My sense is that, surprisingly, suicide rates did not rise as a result of the lockdowns but on the other hand alcohol deaths rose dramatically. And Adderall prescriptions soared resulting in a current shortage that recently made the front page of the New York Times. There is so much to consider in making an objective assessment. Has this work been done? If not, what is your rough take? What country, what state looks best in retrospect by the numbers? Is there a non-partisan source to consult? What has Harvard University produced that is worth sharing? If nothing, why not? A Johns Hopkins meta-analysis concludes the lockdown was a mistake. (See third link below) Is this wrong? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

DEATHS “WHOLLY BASED ON DRINKING” — from 39,000 (2019) to 52,000 (2020)

1. “A report released Friday focused on more than a dozen kinds of “alcohol-induced” deaths that were wholly blamed on drinking.”

2. “Examples include alcohol-caused liver or pancreas failure, alcohol poisoning, withdrawal and certain other diseases.”

3. “There were more than 52,000 such deaths last year, up from 39,000 in 2019.”

BROADER CATEGORY OF ALCOHOL DEATHS — Absolute numbers, variation by state, gender, age

1. “More than 140,000 of that broader category of alcohol-related deaths occur annually, based on data from 2015 to 2019, the researchers said. CDC researchers say about 82,000 of those deaths are from drinking too much over a long period of time and 58,000 from causes tied to acute intoxication.”

2. “The study found that as many as 1 in 8 deaths among U.S. adults ages 20 to 64 were alcohol-related deaths. New Mexico was the state with the highest percentage of alcohol-related deaths, 22%. Mississippi had the lowest, 9%.”

3. Such deaths are 2 1/2 times more common in men than in women, but rose for both in 2020, the study found.”

NB: “The rate continued to be highest for people ages 55 to 64, but rose dramatically for certain other groups, including jumping 42% among women ages 35 to 44.”

ADDERALL SHORTAGE — how is this factored into an overall cost/benefit analysis of the lockdown? what else should be considered? what is the most thorough analysis you have seen?

1. “Amid the adderall shortage patients face withdrawal and despair.” (NYT. 11/16/22)

2. ‘During the pandemic, more people may have sought out A.D.H.D. medication to cope with the stress, Margaret Sibley, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told the Times in May.

3. “Online therapy start-ups have also advertized their ability to diagnose A.D.H.D. — and prescribe drugs quickly.”

NB: “The people that depend on the medication for daily functioning, for going to work, for being a good mother, for going to class, are struggling,” said Fairlee C. Fabrett, director of training and staff development for the child and adolescent division at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. “This is not something to make light of.”

FOOTNOTE — A Johns Hopkins Meta-Analysis concludes that the lockdowns were a mistake (see third link below)

1. “Lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality. More specifically, stringency index studies find that lockdowns in Europe and the United States only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average. SIPOs (shelter-in-place-orders) were also ineffective, only reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2,9% on average. NPI studies (non-pharmaceutical-interventions) also find no broad-based evidence of noticeable effects on COVID-19 mortality.”

2. While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

The rate of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. rose 30% in the first year of COVID

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/16/well/mind/adderall-shortage-withdrawal-symptoms-adhd.html

https://sites.krieger.jhu.edu/iae/files/2022/01/A-Literature-Review-and-Meta-Analysis-of-the-Effects-of-Lockdowns-on-COVID-19-Mortality.pdf

Alcohol Related Deaths per Year, State & More | 2022 Analysis

COVID-19 lockdowns — Wikipedia

National responses to the COVID-19 pandemic — Wikipedia

QUOTE OF THE MONTH:

“Happy the man, and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own:
he who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.”

- Horace (65–8 BC)

ATTACHMENTS BELOW:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20

LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.

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