Perhaps it’s no surprise, but people are drinking more during the pandemic. In some cases, by a lot.
Instances of heavy drinking among women, which for women was defined as four or more drinks within a couple of hours, spiked by 41%.
The study’s participants were aged 30 to 80, so the report does not offer insight on the pandemic drinking habits of younger adults.
The study took a sample of 1,540 adults and compared their self-reported drinking habits this spring with a year prior.
A quick look at social media suggests many people are using alcohol as a way to relax. Whether it’s “quarantinis” or Zoom happy hours, Americans seem to find a plethora of reasons to drink during the pandemic.
And as people began going to bars less, retail alcohol sales went up.
Stores sold 54% more alcohol in late March compared the year prior, according to Nielsen. Online sales more than doubled.
Some states like New York,Florida and Texas relaxed laws during the pandemic to allow expanded alcohol delivery.
The study used data collected using the RAND Corporation American Life Panel. The authors note a limitation of the study: its findings are based on self-reported data that could be skewed due to societal expectations. Nonetheless, they concluded more research could be warranted on alcohol use and its psychological and physical effects during the pandemic.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization European office warned against excessive drinking and even said access should be limited during the pandemic.
Drinking may be even more dangerous now as it can negatively affect the body’s immune system, according to the WHO warning.
“Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes,” the WHO stated. “Therefore, people should minimize their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
An open message from Micki McKnight, WIC Director for Stokes County Health Department
WIC During COVID19
As you may recall, part of the USDA’s response to COVID-19 was to allow automatic issuance of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to ensure that beneficiaries do not have to attend in-person WIC clinic appointments in order to receive their monthly food benefit allowance.
However, of the more than 248,000 people who receive WIC in North Carolina, more than 132,000 did not utilize their full food benefits in June 2020.
In response, NCDHHS is working to spread the message to current WIC participants that:
1) WIC benefits are being added directly to their eWIC account on their family issue date.
2) WIC allowances do not roll over, so any balance that is not spent is lost.
3) Enabling notifications on the Bnft® App is the best way receive real-time eWIC updates.
4) WIC clinics are open and ready to serve, even if hours or locations have changed due to COVID-19.
Stokes has two WIC offices
Stokes County Health Department
1009 N. Main St.
Danbury, NC 27016
Southwest Service Center
104 Hartgrove Rd.
King, NC 27021
The digital flyer below provides more information for WIC participants about auto-issuance and using their food benefits during COVID-19.
We invite you to share this resource with your communities and direct anyone who has questions to contact their local WIC clinic directly.
The following article is an OpEd from Stephen Hill, Founder of Speak Sobriety.
Opioid Addiction and COVID19
The opioid epidemic has had a devastating effect on America, and now overdose deaths are surging within the current COVID-19 pandemic. People across the nation from all different walks of life are overdosing and dying every day, mostly from heroin laced with fentanyl.
5 Ways to Minimize Risk of Opioid Addiction
1) If you or a loved one undergoes a medical procedure and you are prescribed
opioid painkillers, ask the doctor if you can first try over-the-counter medications
such as Motrin or Extra Strength Tylenol before taking opioid painkillers.
2) If a doctor prescribes you or a loved one opioid painkillers, ask for the least
amount possible.The doctor can always prescribe more if need be.
3) Do not allow the person who is prescribed the opioid painkillers to be the one who is holding the pill bottle. Have an adult—who does not have a history of
substance misuse—hold the pill bottle and check to make sure the pills are being taken as prescribed.
4) If the pain has subsided enough to the point where you no longer need opioid painkillers, immediately bring the pill bottle to your local police station or
pharmacy to be disposed of in a prescription dropbox.
5) After the pills have been disposed of, ask the person how the opioid painkillers made them feel. If they liked the feeling, be sure to take extra precautions in the
The truth is that the overwhelming majority of heroin addicts started out with prescription opioid painkillers, but moved on to the harder stuff once their habit became too expensive.
On the street, opioid painkillers can go for as much as $1 per milligram
The following is a message from stephen hill regarding his addiction process
At the height of my addiction, I had a 900 milligram per day Oxycodone habit. Simple math, my drug habit was $900 per day. This is why most opioid abusers make the switch from opioid painkillers (Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, etc.) to heroin, which is significantly cheaper and readily available, but also more dangerous.
Where did it all begin?
How did this happen to me? Nicotine, marijuana, and alcohol are the classic trifecta gateway drugs, and without a doubt my early exposure to these substances at the age of 13 made my brain more vulnerable to developing an addiction.
However, my opioid addiction started my senior year of high school when a friend of mine’s younger sister got her wisdom teeth pulled and was prescribed 30 Hydrocodone. 30! She was barely five feet tall and 100 pounds at most. She only took 2 out of the 30 painkillers prescribed, and my friends and I got our hands on the rest. That was the start, and before long, I was a full blown opioid addict.
I fully understand how lucky I am that I was able to overcome my addiction
after suffering for over 7 years addicted to opioids. I have lost many friends, both
from heroin and opioid painkiller overdoses, and the majority of them had their first
exposure to opioids after getting their wisdom teeth pulled or breaking an arm or
leg while playing sports.
You can never know if it is going to happen, or who it is going to happen to, but there are some steps you can take in terms of prevention.
Stephen Hill firstname.lastname@example.org 845-323-1888 speaksobriety.com
If you, or someone you know, is directly impacted by prescription medication addiction please consider treatment.
A resource for those who may be experiencing a crisis.
The Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463) connects North Carolinians to additional mental health and resilience supports that help them cope and build resilience during times of crisis.
As part of the state’s previous hurricane recovery efforts it served over 4,400 people in the most impacted counties, and now it is being made available to everyone in North Carolina’s 100 counties during the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative is in partnership with all seven of the state’s LME/MCOs and REAL Crisis Intervention Inc. in Greenville. Hope4NC is now available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to speak to a live person.
You can find more information here:
“These are challenging and uncertain times for everyone. We want to connect people to the mental health and resilience supports that they may need during this crisis to alleviate some of the anxiety and stressors that they are feeling,” said NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Kody Kinsley.
This free webinar from Operation Parent will be held on Monday June 15th from 2:00pm-3:00pm.
Since Operation Parent’s webinar on alcohol in March, communities across the country have seen instore and online sales of alcohol skyrocket, and some parents relaxing abstinence rules at home to placate and bond with teens.
Additionally, easing of social distancing orders in many parts of the country are coinciding with the start of summer, which is already a time of risk for alcohol abuse and drinking and driving with teens. Cooped up teens might be looking forward to blowing off steam…in unhealthy ways.
Let’s discuss how we can be prepared to parent during these times of transition and uncertainty to keep our teens safe.
Presenters are Christine Storm and Kate Appleman of Caron Treatment Center. The Caron Treatment Center is an inpatient treatment facility with location in Florida and Pennsylvania. They have been providing innovative, specialized addiction & behavioral health treatment for over 60 years.
More information about Operation Parent and their free resources for parents and guardians can be found at https://operationparent.org/resource-manager/
Can you describe the feeling of having to close Danbury Public Library due to COVID19 restrictions?
“As a professional librarian, I never thought I would see the day that libraries closed their doors. Surreal does not even begin to describe it. Libraries have endured many changes over the years but are such a vital part of our society that not being able to open for our patrons (due to coronavirus) feels like a sacrilege. We cannot wait to get back to some semblance of normal.“
What did a normal day look like at Danbury Public Library before COVID19?
A normal day in Danbury includes the countless people that visit our local libraries every day to use the internet, find a job using NC Works, and borrow books from all across the state using NC Cardinal.
We are honored to share that Ancestry.com, which is usually only available for free use inside the library, is now available online by using our website nwrl.org.
There you will also find movies, audiobooks and e-books, kids books, newspapers, old high school yearbooks, and instructional videos to learn over 70 different languages, all FREE with your library card (which is also free).
Mad Science is a group that performs using science experiments. It’s really popular in the schools. They will come out dressed like a crazy scientist and engage the kids on whatever experiment they are doing. Every show I’ve seen is different, but every single one has been amazing. They really do a great job. Their website is madscience.org if you need more details.
What is your favorite part of the Danbury Public Library?
My favorite part of Danbury Public Library is that we are also home to the Stokes County Bookmobile. Our driver, Jeannie Wall, goes all over Stokes County taking books to those who are homebound or elderly. Everyone is always so happy to see her!
There are not many things that will show up at your door for FREE just to make you happy, but it happens every day with the bookmobile. I cannot wait until we are able to get back out on the road and deliver books and magazines to those who truly appreciate it.
Every now and then, Jeannie will come back from that day’s route and have a pie that one of the patrons made for our staff, or a handmade Christmas ornament to put on our tree during the holidays. This is the kind of thing that sounds like the “good ol’ days” but is still part of ‘normal’ at Danbury Public Library.
What is something unique to the Danbury Public Library that residents should look into when COVID19 restrictions are lifted?
Danbury Public Library has many visitors to our Stokes County History Room where the largest chunk of county genealogical information is stored. We’ve had visitors come in to do research from all across the United States as well as other countries like China and France. We also have some amazing displays of historical items that include a piece of flexible sandstone (called limber grit) that is only found in five places across the world, one of which is Stokes County. It’s a rock but it really does bend! We have a gas mask from World War I that was used and donated by a Stokes County resident, and we even have a collection of old Bibles that were found in various places across the county, including one that once belonged to a slave that lived nearby.
We miss each and every one of you and look forward to seeing you soon, and serving you in any way we can in the meantime. Everyone stay safe and well.
-Lisa Lawless, Branch Librarian Danbury Public Library
You can contact the Danbury Public Library via phone at (336) 593-2419, email them at email@example.com or get information from their Facebook page.
“Our library has always kept hand sanitizer available at the circulation desk for our staff and patrons. Little did we know how important of a role this safety measure would play in keeping our patrons safe during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.”- Ann Nichols
How has COVID19 affected the King Public Library?
When I walked out the library doors on March 27th, I sat in my car, and shook my head in denial. I never had imagined that the library doors would be closed to the public. It had been a trying day. I was proud of my staff that day, as we all worked together to provide curbside service to our patrons, while continually cleaning the building, and getting the word out about our many online services. I knew that at some point all libraries in our Northwestern Regional Library System would have to close, so I had been busy providing the staff with work from home tasks, online trainings, and other assignments. We had publicized on our Facebook page for patrons to stock up on books and other materials, just in case.
Everything we were hearing on several news outlets seemed to indicate the elderly were the most vulnerable in our population. The library staff know our senior patrons well. We all were worried for them, wanting to make certain they checked out the books, DVDs, or puzzles they needed to pass the time while we waited out the virus.
We tried to be positive and upbeat, but inside we were like everyone else, concerned for our families, our patrons, and for each other. All of our staff can assist patrons with using their tech devices to check out eBooks from OverDrive, our eBook and audio platform on our NWRL.org website, but our patron’s favorite tech guru is Gretchen Parker, the Assistant Branch Manager at the King Public Library. She has an easy manner and a great smile that makes you feel as though it is as simple as sliding a hot knife through butter. Gretchen had been on the phone almost nonstop during the last few weeks, assisting our patrons with checking out eBooks, or learning how to do it from scratch.
We usually save the books for the Friends of the Library’s book sale, but I felt these books needed new homes right away. We decided the withdrawn books would be placed on carts outside the building.
We would offer the books freely to our patrons. We shared a post on the library’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and within minutes, people were stopping by to select titles. Each person looked so excited.
You would have thought it was Christmas! I remember telling the staff it was the first time I had smiled in days. Smiles are contagious, we all were smiling, the staff and our patrons outside enjoying this special treat.
Can you talk about the services offered online by King Public Library?
During work from home, the staff engaged our patrons online. Programming Assistant Melody Johnson and Gretchen Parker provided online preschool Storytime programs. Melody’s reading of Peep, Peep, Moo! By Doreen Cronin received a shoutout of praise from the State Library of North Carolina, and Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson, became a new favorite with many youngsters. Programming Assistant Cara Hiatt’s May Flowers Photo Contest with 125 entries . Poems and poem readings were posted during April’s National Poetry Month celebration, Bingo games, an interview with local author, Paula May, and much more has been shared with our patrons near and far from the video link at our nwrl.org website and on the library’s Facebook page.
Virtual programs, which we had seen as a future need, were suddenly thrust upon library staff members all over the United States. The King Public Library staff were as prepared as we possibly could be, with an abundant amount of online training and webinars, shared all over the county.
We were learning everything we could in order to improve services to the public and working to keep our patrons engaged at home. And with this, a new reality came into place; this will now be the platform on which our 2020 Summer Reading program will on take place. It was quite a shock to realize that in-person programming would not be feasible.
The safety and welfare of our patrons always takes priority.
So, as a branch and as a Region, we are developing programs that can be posted virtually on our social media sites, and on our Northwestern Regional homepage.
Our thirteen branches in Alleghany, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin Counties are working together to set up an array of programs that can be shared among all library patrons. Presenters are being contacted while we all work together to change to a virtual/streaming environment. Big crowd pleasers like Mad Science, Science Tellers, and the NC Zoo are among many that are changing the way they provide programs to our libraries.
Programming staff are still working with possible presenters for all age groups to provide an enriching and entertaining summer for everyone.
Moving forward after COVID19 what sort of programs will be available for adults at King Public Library?
The library anticipates a great need from our newly unemployed population. The Job Lab that the library and Forsyth Tech partner on together, located inside the King Public Library, is eager to help people with preparing resumes, filing online applications, providing unemployment filing assistance, and much more.
Lynn Owens and Cinda Amen, our HRD instructors in the lab prepared a training webinar for all staff members of the NWRL
FTCC has increased the lab hours at the King Public Library from twelve hours a week, to sixteen hours per week.
HRD instructors Lynn Owens and Cinda Amen are ready to help as many individuals as they can when the library is able to open its doors. In order to do this safely, assistance will be made by appointment only. This will be possible by calling the King Public Library at (336) 983-3868 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, when the library reopens.
What would you like to share with residents who use the King Public Library?
“The most important thing I can share with our patrons is how much we miss them and wish to meet their needs. We realize the library and its services are especially important to our community. You are never too old or too young to learn, or to enjoy the wonder of a book. The library provides that opportunity and much more. The library provides a place of learning, connecting, reading for the joy of it, a refuge from difficult times, a place to start over when seeking a different career path, and a place to come together with purpose. The staff and I feel as though we are out of our element without our patrons. We look forward to serving them again safely and enthusiastically.”
Ann Nichols, Branch Manager King Public Library
You can reach the King Public Library on their Facebook page, via phone 336-983-3868 or by e-mail at email@example.com
What are you and your agency doing to address COVID19 in Stokes?
“The Stokes County Health Department has been working to keep the community updated on all information that we receive related to COVID-19. When we do receive positive COVID-19 test results we do the contact tracing on these individuals. The Health Department is responsible for contacting all close contacts when we receive a positive test result. We have been in close daily contact with all long term care facilities to make sure they have all the supplies they need.”
During this time our nurses have been working hard to answer questions in the community and with our stakeholders.
Stokes County Health Department is a Community Partner with the DIAPER BANK of N.C.
Stokes County infants and/or children can receive 2 packs of diapers and/or 3 packs of pull-ups MONTHLY. Wipes, diaper creams and lotions are also available. During the COVID-19 Pandemic the Health Department is offering curb side pick-up. Interested families can call the Danbury WIC Office at 336-593-2400 to request the supplies to be brought to your car. If you live in the King area please call the Danbury office as well to set up a time for pick-up in King. (The KING office is temporarily closed until June 1, 2020.)
Stokes County Health Department 1009 N. Main Street, Danbury NC 27016 336-593-2400 or 336-593-2402 Hours of Operation: Monday-Thursday 8-5:30 Fridays 8-5
*Availability of diapers depends on current demand and supply provided by local Diaper Bank of North Carolina*
Why is it important that our community take these measures?
“At this time due to COVID-19 it is important to continue to social distance and wear a mask when out in public to protect yourself as well as others. The more we stay at home and limit our travel to just essential needs the better it is. Following the Governor’s orders will help us get back to our new normal as soon as possible.”
What is something positive you have seen in midst of chaos of COVID-19 as we navigate this together?
“Seeing the community stepping up to help people in need; through groups providing free cloth masks, support from both youth and adult civic groups to front line health workers, the public libraries offering free WiFi that can be accessed in the parking lot, the Stokes County School Nutrition Department providing free school meals. Local Government collaborating within community to make sure community stays safe.”
With the Governor’s announcement in March, we closed all libraries to the public and provided curbside service until April 1 when we had to discontinue it. It was very popular, and it was very hard for the staff to stop serving the public in person which is our goal. We were very fortunate that the Regional Board approved all staff working from home.
At first, it was almost surreal since we were closing our doors to the public and that has always been the opposite of what we try to do. After the initial shock wore off, the staff swung into action. We began virtual communication with all libraries (Stokes, Surry, Alleghany, and Yadkin) which has been a lifeline for us to stay in touch. We are using Google Classroom and Meet. We formed three teams on priority issues to get input from all staff and further collaborate. The teams meet weekly, and there is good discussion and some good outcomes.
Since the initial closing, staff has worked from home with catch up work, continuing education, and re-inventing how library services are delivered. It did not take long for staff to jump on many webinars that will help all staff do an even better job now and in the future. We have transformed all services online and now provide even more virtual services than ever.
We added new tabs to our website (www.nwrl.org) to include information on CO-VID 19, employment resources, and remote services.
Anyone with checked out materials was asked to hold onto books, DVD’s, and audiobooks until we re-open with no overdue fines.
People can now get a temporary card online as well.
Our staff stepped up to the challenge. Although we had some virtual programs before, the staff has taken hold of the possibilities and are offering online storytimes, readings from Harry Potter, fairy tales, celebration of Earth Day, book talks, and much more.
And, I think that we have just begun! The response has been excellent with many comments about how people are not only enjoying seeing their library workers but also enjoying the programs.
Since not everyone has wifi at home, we are encouraging folks to use the outside wifi from library parking lots. We have seen an increase of usage and are glad to provide the service especially now.
The staff have been great and risen to the occasion. I think that we all have learned so much about ourselves and our communities that will be continued after we are able to open up fully to the public.
How will NWRL continue these services for Stokes residents?
We have all become aware of how we can develop remote and virtual services to a greater extent. Staff are building on what they know about online services (including NC LIVE databases and NC Kids Digital) and learning more at an exponential rate! It seems like everyday there is a new find, and talent is emerging!
We have discussed more online services as well as asynchronous ones such as story walks and scavenger hunts that kids can do with their families or each other and get outdoors.
These services and others will become part of what NWRL libraries do.
Can you share anything positive from this situation we are all facing?
I think that we all agree that there have been many positives from the CO-VID19 crisis. Although it is a hard and scary time for all of us, I think that we have all found a new resilience and hope for the future.
Our staff is working even more closely together and supporting each other even more. We realize that we all are in this together with our communities and truly believe that we will be stronger and better at the other end of it.
We know that many services that have started will be regular parts of library services. We have learned much about ourselves, each other, and our organization. Although we are planning for (and very much looking forward) to the day when we can reopen to the public, we know that we are stronger and better and have learned some very valuable lessons about ourselves and our communities. We are even more aware of the importance of the essential value of our libraries to each community.
Not only are libraries a place for books, Audio/visual, information, and programs but also they are places for human connection.
Library workers are community helpers and although the way we are helping has changed since the beginning of the stay at home order, we are continuing on a different level that we will continue as we grow and change. The library is online and in person.
-Joan Sherif, Northwestern Regional Library
Information regarding the Northwestern Regional Library can be found online here