New Survey Provides Insights Into Drinking Behaviors During the Pandemic

By: 3BL Media

SOURCE: Alkermes


- Nearly One in Five Respondents 21+ Reported Heavy Drinking* During the 30 Days Prior to the Survey -
- Many Respondents Who Reported Heavy Drinking* Weren't Aware of All Treatment Options for Alcohol Dependence -


DUBLINSept. 22, 2021 /3BL Media/ -- A new online survey conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alkermes, Inc., a subsidiary of Alkermes plc (Nasdaq: ALKS), found that 17% of respondents aged 21 and over reported drinking patterns that met the survey criteria for "heavy drinking"*. Of those surveyed whose responses met the criteria for heavy drinking, only 13% reported that they were undergoing treatment for their drinking at the time of the survey. The survey results also suggest that family and friends can play an important role in motivating people with heavy drinking patterns to get help. The survey is part of Alkermes' ongoing commitment to understanding the unique needs of people who may be living with a substance use disorder and supporting increased disease state awareness and education.

"Published data have demonstrated that alcohol use in the U.S. has increased during the pandemic. This particular survey provides insight into drinking patterns, as well as respondents' help-seeking motivations and behaviors," said 
Craig Hopkinson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research & Development at Alkermes. "As a company focused on the alcohol dependence space, we are constantly seeking to better understand this complex condition and striving to provide disease state education to support people who may be living with alcohol dependence."

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Many survey respondents who met the criteria for heavy drinking said that, over the last 12 months, they experienced negative mental, physical and psychosocial impacts. Three in ten (30%) reported that they continued to drink despite it making them feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem. About one in four (24%) reported that they continued to drink after experiencing a memory blackout. More than one in five (22%) experienced withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol were wearing off. And 23% gave up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to them, or gave them pleasure, in order to drink.
  • The majority of survey respondents who met the criteria for heavy drinking (87% of adults 21+) were not undergoing treatment at the time of the survey. Despite this, more than half of these respondents (53%) said that they were either very or somewhat motivated to seek treatment for their drinking. Among those who had never sought treatment, the most-commonly cited reasons for not doing so included preferring to handle it on their own (37%) and never thinking they had a problem with heavy drinking (37%).
  • Awareness of the full range of treatment options for alcohol dependence was limited. About six in ten (62%) survey respondents who met the criteria for heavy drinking were aware of support groups or group therapy, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or 12-step programs; just over half (56%) were aware of detox treatment options (to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms) and residential rehabilitation treatment options; and only slightly more than a third (36%) were familiar with prescription medications as a treatment option for alcohol dependence.
  • Friends and family can play a role in influencing loved ones who drink heavily to seek help. Over half (56%) of survey respondents who met the criteria for heavy drinking said that someone had expressed concern to them about their drinking. Among this group, nearly four in five (79%) said that it was a family member who had expressed concern. Almost half (47%) of this group who had sought treatment said that a reason they did so was because their family had expressed concern about their drinking.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, I've observed an increase in alcohol consumption among my patients," said 
Melissa Fritsche, M.D., Addiction Medicine Specialist in Spartanburg, South Carolina. "The results of this survey suggest that there is an increased need for education about alcohol dependence and potential treatment options. Providing people with the tools to understand and acknowledge their behaviors and speak to their healthcare providers is an important step in supporting people to get help if they need it."

* "Heavy drinking" for purposes of the survey was defined as having had two heavy drinking days in a single week at least twice in the previous 30 days. A "heavy drinking day" was defined for women as four or more drinks containing alcohol, and for men as five or more drinks containing alcohol.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alkermes from March 30 – April 7, 2021 among 6,006 U.S. adults ages 21 and older, 1,003 of whose responses met the survey criteria for heavy drinking. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact   

About Alkermes

Alkermes plc is a fully-integrated, global biopharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines in the fields of neuroscience and oncology. The company has a portfolio of proprietary commercial products focused on addiction, schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder, and a pipeline of product candidates in development for neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Alkermes plc has an R&D center in Waltham, Massachusetts; a research and manufacturing facility in Athlone, Ireland; and a manufacturing facility in Wilmington, Ohio. For more information, please visit Alkermes' website at

About The Harris Poll

Founded in 1963 by pollster 
Lou Harris, The Harris Poll is one of the world's leading public opinion, social intelligence and strategy firms. Through continuous pulsing of society in the U.S. and internationally, Harris helps clients interpret, adapt and respond to constantly changing issues. Widely recognized for its polls and insight on voter sentiment, The Harris Poll also leverages bespoke polls to advise Fortune 500 C-suites on how to meet the evolving needs and wants of their customers and other stakeholders.

In 2017, The Harris Poll joined the Stagwell Group to create the largest independent data-driven digital market services firm in the U.S. The Harris Poll is run by co-CEOs 
Will Johnson and 
John Gerzema, two veteran strategists with backgrounds in analytics and brand marketing from senior roles at WPP agencies BAV Consulting and Young & Rubicam.

Alkermes Contacts:

For Investors: Sandy Coombs, +1 781 609 6377

For Media: Marisa Borgasano, +1 781 609 6659

Tweet me: A new online survey conducted during the #COVID pandemic by The @HarrisPoll on behalf of @Alkermes found that 17% of respondents aged 21 and over reported drinking patterns that met the survey criteria for "heavy drinking."

KEYWORDS: NASDAQ:ALKS, Alkermes, The HArris Poll, alcohol

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