Should alcohol be brought under essential services during lockdown?

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    New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) The COVID-19 restrictions have quite understandably made life difficult for many. But it may not be possible for everyone to imagine what those with untreated alcohol use disorder go through when they do not get to drink at all.

    Some have allegedly attempted to commit suicide, while it is also not uncommon for addicts to try to get alcohol from other unsafe sources such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Reports of alcohol smuggling and rise in bootlegging have emerged from several parts of the country in recent times.
    Given that more than 5.7 crore people in India are estimated to be affected by harmful or dependent alcohol use, and most of them do not have any access to treatment, should alcohol be made easily accessible just as groceries and vegetables during the time COVID-19 restrictions remain?
    Experts have different views on the issue. While some argue that making alcohol easily accessible can help reduce hospitalisations of those suffering serious conditions due to withdrawal symptoms, thereby reducing the burden on already stained healthcare systems due to COVID-19, others feel that i