Monday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with scattered thundershowers and a high of 74. Sunrise is 6:33 AM and sunset 7:06 PM for 12h 33m 14s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 45.6% of its visible disk illuminated.
Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets at 6 PM.
Richard Kremer reports COVID-19 Pandemic Driving Wisconsin’s Alcohol Sales:
A new report suggests people are buying dramatically more alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum released findings Wednesday that show revenue from state excise taxes on alcohol during the year that ended June 30 increased almost 17 percent over the $63.3 million they brought in the prior year.
The increase likely will be the largest percentage jump since 1972 if the preliminary data holds.
Between 2009 and 2020, the percentage increase in alcohol tax revenue exceeded 2.4 percent in only one year.
Mark Sommerhauser, Wisconsin Policy Forum researcher, said he and his colleagues suspected alcohol consumption was up during the pandemic. But with bars and restaurants closed for months in 2020, he said he was curious to see what alcohol tax data would show.
“Let’s face it, people were super, super stressed over the last year with maybe their job situation or their kids’ school or day care or who knows what else,” Sommerhauser said. “There’s just kind of a brew of factors, sort of a confluence of things coming together here, that I think are potentially concerning.”
The report shows that during the 2021 fiscal year, which ended June 30, taxes on liquor increased by more than 18 percent over the 2020 fiscal year. During the same period, taxes were up by around 10 percent for beer and wine, while revenues from hard cider sales increased by just more than 16 percent.
Drinking alcohol is — as it should be for adults — legal. (Fall, in particular, is a season well-suited to a good red.) And yet, over-drinking from stress, or taking opioids for stress rather than physical pain, incurs both personal and societal costs.
Dr. Anita Gupta writes What We Can Do About The Opioid Crisis During The Pandemic:
The U.S. has historically struggled with opioid addiction. Research suggests that 2 million Americans suffered from an opioid use disorder in 2018 — well before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Synthetic opioids have contributed to a nationwide increase in overdose deaths, which have increased by 38.4% from the 12-month period leading up to June 2019 compared to the 12-month period leading up to May 2020. But this isn’t just a public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone is approximately $78.5 billion a year, including health care costs, addiction treatment costs and lost productivity.
The White House and the CDC recommend a few key interventions that could aid in the mitigation of the opioid epidemic: educating as to appropriate and safe opioid prescribing; expanding safe access to new treatments and innovations, including naloxone use; and improving links between mental health care and substance use treatment services and increasing the safe use of medication-assisted treatment. The issue of drug supply has worsened the opioid crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We’re years past the Great Recession, for example, only to find that opioid addiction still plagues rural communities. See also Opioid Crisis : Great Recession :: Dust Bowl : Great Depression.
Here one sees the chronic social condition that many rural communities daily experience: left, right, center, libertarian, or green all live and advocate in places with public-health challenges only some of them will candidly acknowledge.