Since the onset of COVID-19, many states and communities have dramatically loosened restrictions on alcohol and marijuana use and access, including restrictions on delivery, internet sales, takeout, and outdoor consumption. Justification for these changes includes economic relief for small businesses, COVID safety, and the accepted norm that substance use is a reasonable coping strategy. In the case of marijuana, use is also seen as medicinal for treating anxiety.
The downside of these policy decisions is alarming. Over the past ten months, alcohol sales and use have increased significantly. Drinking patterns have changed in dangerous ways, with more people drinking more frequently and alone. Unmonitored, off-premise alcohol consumption has been tied to rising domestic violence rates and child abuse and neglect. Legalized marijuana use has led to a troubling increase in underage use.
This webinar will explore recent changes in alcohol and marijuana policy, the effects of these changes on public health and ways to mitigate these effects, and strategies for developing new policies that promote healthy outcomes.
1. Describe changes in alcohol and marijuana use since the onset of COVID-19
2. Identify alcohol and marijuana polices that have changed since the onset of COVID-19
3. Identify strategies to mitigate the effects of harmful alcohol and marijuana policies
4. Identify strategies for shaping new policies that support healthy outcomes
Gisela Rots, MS, is a public health expert and highly skilled trainer, leads programs that improve outcomes for vulnerable populations through the use of evidence-based strategies. She specializes in substance misuse prevention, youth risk prevention, and policy development. For over 15 years, she has managed award-winning training programs, integrated trauma-informed approaches into prevention, advised state agencies and community coalitions, and developed cross-sector partnerships to improve services.
Chuck Klevgaard, BSW, is a nationally recognized expert in substance misuse prevention, public health, and school-based health. Drawing on his experience in collective impact and prevention-focused partnerships, he builds the capacity of states, tribes, schools, communities, and cities to use evidence-based substance misuse prevention and intervention strategies.