By Bria Brown

(WNEM) — According to a study by, many Michiganders coped with the pandemic by drinking. The study found out that Michigan residents had an average of 18 drinks a week last year.

The average Michigander had 956 drinks in 2020 according to

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“When you have people in their homes, isolated and not sure what’s going on. A lot of people will turn to alcohol to deal with that issue,” Barry Schmidt with the Bay County Prevention Network said.

Schmidt said the pandemic has created the perfect storm for substance abuse, depression, loneliness, and nothing to do.

“They couldn’t go out and go to the gym, they couldn’t go out and have a dinner,” Schmidt said.

One thing people could do was go to the party store. Alcohol sales went up 3% in 2020 to a total of $31.2 billion according to the distilled spirits council.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” Schmidt said.

Aaron Rubio with the United Community Addiction Network said those in recovery lost structure and resources since the pandemic started.

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“everybody’s use is up. Overdoses are up, deaths are up. People just turn to alcohol and substance abuse as a coping mechanism,” Rubio said.

COVID-19 is a lot to cope with. Rubio said if it is interfering with important aspects in life a person maybe developing a problem.

“If your substance is interfering with your health, finances, your job or your relationship, if what you’re doing is interfering with any of those, it’s time to address the situation,” Rubio said.

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