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June 2020

Press Release

National Survey Finds Americans Drinking More to Cope with Stress, Anxiety

Highest rate among low-income, rural communities
Raises concerns, urgency to address risk of substance abuse

LOS ANGELES & SEATTLE — Americans in their prime working years and living in rural areas are turning to alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new national survey by research firm Kelton Global and Medical technology company WEconnect Health Management. Thirty-three percent of adults who drink are consuming more than they did before the coronavirus outbreak — and approximately 50% of them say it's to cope with stress and anxiety.

Individuals who reported drinking more are likely disproportionately feeling the impacts of the recession. Fifty-seven percent of individuals who make less than $50,000 per year reported drinking more, and 50% of people in their prime working years (25-54) also reported increasing the amount they drink.  

The findings underscore how COVID-19 has made the fight against the ongoing substance abuse epidemic more challenging, requiring health care providers, insurers, governments and others to rethink how to keep people in recovery amid a global pandemic.

“Our data show that more Americans are increasing the amount they drink during COVID-19, rather than cutting back,” said Kelton’s Chief Insights Officer, Dr. Martin Eichholz. “Given how many are doing so to manage the anxiety they’re experiencing as a result of the pandemic, it’s a deeply troubling finding.”

“The pandemic has created an environment putting more people at risk,” said WEconnect Health cofounder and CEO Daniela Tudor, who is in substance use disorder recovery herself. “Now more than ever, the United States must urgently find evidence-based and creative approaches to meet this need amid COVID-19. This could exacerbate substance use disorders for years to come.”

Other key findings from the survey, include:

50% of Americans say they are drinking more to deal with stress and anxiety:


  • Men: 50%
  • Women: 49%


  • 18-34 year-olds: 50%
  • 35-54 year-olds: 51%
  • 55+ year-olds: 47%


  • Less than $50,000 annually: 57%
  • $50,000 - $99,999 annually: 48%
  • $100,000 annually: 44%


  • Small town: 54%
  • Suburban: 48%
  • City/urban: 49%

Nearly one in 10 Americans struggle with a substance use disorder. Every year, millions of Americans seek treatment for drug and alcohol use. Of those who find treatment, most will have a recurrence at some point during the first year of recovery.

This analysis is based on a nationally representative survey conducted online among 1,969 individuals ages 18 and older across the United States between May 19-21.

View other survey results here.



Kelton Global is a consumer insights and brand strategy consultancy that helps businesses grow and thrive. They combine market research with creativity to help companies all over the world answer the question: what comes next? Utilizing quantitative and qualitative research, they create customer segmentations, drive innovation, deliver brand strategy and compelling communications. For more information, please visit  


WEconnect Health provides evidence-based addiction recovery technology to reduce relapse rates, save lives and support healthy communities. WEconnect reduces relapse, keeps individuals accountable, connected to community support and helps them thrive in recovery. Today, WEconnect Health works with several health plans (including Medicaid), Managed Care Organizations, providers and non-profits, reaching thousands of patients. Cofounded by Daniela Tudor and French Open Tennis champion Murphy Jensen, both in recovery, they have made it their mission to save lives, provide accurate outcomes data, and support communities and families.