Teaneck Posted A Lot About Alcohol During Pandemic: Report

TEANECK, NJ — When the coronavirus lockdown kept New Jerseyans at home two years ago, many turned to two things to pass the time: alcohol and social media. Some did so more than others, including people in Teaneck, according to a new report from rehabs.com.

The national rehab directory commissioned a study, ranking New Jersey's 100 largest cities and towns by their number of alcohol-related Instagram posts since March 2020 — when the Garden State and much of the world began COVID-19 protocols.

Teaneck came in 25th among the 100 municipalities listed.

Out of every 5,000 Instagram posts from Teaneck, 331 have been alcohol-related in the past two years, according to rehabs.com. That represents 6.62 percent of posts.

Bernards Township came in first, with 7.84 percent of Instagram posts about drinking. West Windsor placed last at 0.38 percent.

While lockdown measures gave New Jerseyans more time to crack to drink at home, there's a darker side to pandemic drinking. When Gov. Phil Murphy ordered most businesses to close in March 2020, he declared liquor stores "essential" and kept them open. Several addiction experts pointed to a public-health reason for why, with worries about hospitals filling as the state dealt with its initial COVID-19 outbreak, according to northjersey.com.

"If someone is dependent on alcohol and they can't get alcohol, then they can go into withdrawal," Paul Nestadt, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the publication. "Alcohol is one of the few substances that when you're withdrawing you can actually die. You can't die from heroin withdrawal or cocaine withdrawal."

Alcohol sales and consumption increased 21 percent in the United States at the start of the pandemic, according to a study published last December in medical journal Hepatology. In the short term, researchers expect that changes to drinking habits caused by COVID-19 will cause 100 additional deaths and 2,800 additional cases of liver failure by 2023.

A sustained increase in consumption for more than one year could result in 19-35 percent increased mortality, according to the Hepatology report.

Binge drinking increased in New Jersey, according to America's Health Rankings. In 2018, 15.2 percent of the Garden State's adults reported heavy drinking — four or more drinks for women and five or more for men on one occasion. The figure increased to 17.6 percent in 2020, which was still lower than the 18.1 percent reported in 2017.

Where did other New Jersey cities and towns rank in terms of "intoxicated Instagrammers?" See the full rankings here from rehabs.com.

This article originally appeared on the Teaneck Patch