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Turning to booze during the stay-at-home order? You're not alone

San Diego liquor stores said business is doing well during this quarantine. However, a local mental health expert said this is cause for concern.

SAN DIEGO — How are you passing the time during this stay-at-home order? It seems many are turning to alcohol. Liquor stores across the country said wine sales have jumped dramatically, followed by hard alcohol and beer.

Dr. Michael Lardon isn't surprised people are turning to alcohol and drugs these days. He said San Diegans, fearing the unknown, are stressed out. That concerns Lardon, who warns it's a slippery slope.

“People often go to the quickest relief,” he said. “The easiest relief - have a drink, smoke some pot. You feel a little bit better and it's temporary. Unfortunately, in the long run, it doesn't help.”


Lardon said it's more important than ever these days to try and keep a routine: Get dressed, go outside for a walk, and schedule yourself things to do, like a video call with friends. 

“We have to find a way to connect socially because that is very important for our individual mental health," said Lardon.

This is especially important for people living alone. 

RELATED: California DUI convictions can cost you up to $20,000

“They can just wallow in being intoxicated all day and that's a very easy thing to do because you don't have friends stopping by. You don't have other people to come and distract you from that," said Lardon.


In La Mesa, News 8 found signs of parents getting creative to keep their kids entertained and active. That’s great for the children, but Lardon understands many parents are understandably exhausted trying to keep their kids entertained 16 hours a day. He posed a question for parents.

“How do we create a little bit of alone time? 'Me time' that normally would happen in the course of a regular day before this crisis," said Lardon.

Lardon added that, for many of us, life has suddenly gone from frenetic to a standstill. So, that long list of things you’ve been talking about doing, but haven’t had the time? Lardon said there’s no time like the present.

 “Suddenly, we have that time,” he said. “So, think about it as an opportunity.”

RELATED: ‘Sober curious’ lifestyle catching on among young people

If you need help, the San Diego chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous is still hosting virtual meetings.