Alcohol use during COVID-19 in Europe

Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe: a large-scale cross-sectional study in 21 countries


The objective of this study is to investigate changes in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19-pandemic. This project resulted in the collaboration and commitments of public health scientists from more than 20 research institutions from all over Europe. The purpose of this study is to test a number of different hypotheses as they relate to use of alcohol and other drugs in response to the various repercussions of the pandemic.


Since early 2020 global populations have experienced the rapid spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, henceforth: COVID-19 pandemic) leading to more than 200,000 deaths in Europe within the first six months of 2020 alone. Numerous measures have been adopted to respond to the spread of the disease, with the European population subjected to varying levels of local or national lockdown, including border closures across countries inside and outside the Schengen Area. These measures have had unprecedented impacts on private and public life and continue to affect population health and well-being worldwide . Alcohol use has been identified as an important risk factor for poor physical and mental health and is prone to change in stressful times such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. As well as being a possible unintended outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and its related political measures, changes in alcohol consumption are likely to affect the general health status of individuals and the course and prognosis of the COVID-19 disease. However, to date, population-based research on the impact of alcohol consumption has been scarce and has generally focused on individual countries or specific populations. For example, studies from Australia, France, Germany, USA, and the United Kingdom (UK) on alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that more individuals have increased their drinking than have decreased it, particularly those who are frequent and heavy drinkers.

The study

Individual-level data obtained from the cross-sectional online European Alcohol and COVID-19 survey, conducted between April 24 and July 22 of 2020 to gather information on changes in alcohol consumption among European adults ( The survey was originally developed in English and translated into 20 languages and disseminated in 21 European countries, using different sampling techniques. To ensure sufficient representation across gender, age, and educational attainment, a targeted sampling was used in some countries (e.g., via paid ads on social media websites). Details concerning study design and implementation is published in a separate study protocol.

The project began in April 2020 and runs indefinitely.


Funding supplied by individual participating institutes.


Technische Universität Dresden (TUD, Germany)
Hospital Clínic de Barcelona / Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica (FCRB, Spain)
Sucht Schweiz (Switzerland)
Havna Zdravstvena Ustanova, Zavod Za Bolesti Ovisnosti (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Lithuanian University of Health Science (Lithuania)
Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (Latvia)
Institute of economics NAS of Belarus (Belarus)
Erenköy Hospital for Mental and Nervous Disease (Turkey)
National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (Georgia)
Institute for Public Health (Montenegro) Special Hospital For Addictions (Serbia)
School of Public Health (SPH, Republic of Moldova)
Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia (Armenia)
Health Research Institute, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Kazakhstan)
University of Prishtina (Kosovo)
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE, Germany)
Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS, Italy)
Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e nas Dependências (SICAD, Portugal)
Charles University (CUNI, Czech Republic) Technical University of Košice (TUKE, Slovakia)
Croatian Institut of Public Health (HZJZ, Croatia)
Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii (IPiN, Poland)
Maastricht University (MU, Netherlands)
Universiteti i Mjekesise, Tirane (UMT, Albania)
Programme on Substance Abuse, Public Health Agency of Catalonia (GENCAT, Spain)
Le Centre de recherche en Epidémiologie et Santé des Populations (CESP, France)
Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI, Ireland)
Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University (UNEW, UK)
Psychiatry and Narcology of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (INPN, Ukraine)
National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ, Slovenia)
Karolinska Institutet (Sweden)
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL, Finland)
Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University (AARHUS-BSS, Denmark)
National Medical and Research center of Psychiatry and Narcology m.a. V.P. Serbski (NMRPN, Russian Federation)
Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI, Norway)
Directorate of Health, Iceland University of Crete, Greece