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DENVER (KDVR) — A brand new survey shows 16% of Coloradans are drinking more during the pandemic now that it’s cold outside.

It’s a troubling situation for Denver-area alcohol and drug treatment centers who are seeing a noticeable uptick in the number of new patients walking through their doors.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, counselors have been concerned about COVID’s effects on people’s drug and drinking use.

Now that we’re in winter, they’re even more concerned. After all, the days have been shorter, it’s cold and we’re all isolated.

“I think drinking in Colorado is a very large issue,” said Sarah Zubrin, Chief Clinical Officer at Mile High Continuing Care.

When it comes to excessive drinking in our state, data shows 17% of women and a little more than 22% of men fall into that problematic population.

During the pandemic, a survey from shows 38% of Colorado residents are even drinking while working remotely from home.

“I’ve seen more alcohol related problems this past year than in the last 12 years I’ve been doing this work,” said Zubrin

According to Zubrin, January through March are the busiest months for treatment centers when it comes to new patients seeking sobriety.

“Right now that’s one of the largest issues we’re treating even in young adults. We see tons and tons of alcohol abuse, tons of alcohol related medical issues. I think people forget alcohol is a very toxic drug,” Zubrin said.

With a new survey from showing 1 in 5 Coloradans admitting to drinking more during the colder months, Zubrin suggests the following advice for anyone concerned about their alcohol consumption:

  • Try and spend more time outside (Vitamin D from the Sun always helps)
  • Be cognizant of what you’re actually putting in your body
  • Look for ways to be social with people that doesn’t involve booze.

“Try to reconnect. I know we’re at the end of this long pandemic fatigue where we’re like, ‘I don’t even want to connect’. So a big part of that is, ‘How do I connect more socially and plug back in to my friends and my family without having to cope with substances’,” Zubrin said.