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Here’s an unexpected silver lining to the pandemic: New research shows there was a decline in overall drinking and binge drinking among U.S. college freshmen during the early months of the new coronavirus’ spread across America.

“We found that social factors, like social distancing and reductions in social support from friends, were associated with decreases in alcohol use among first-year students. By contrast, stress-related factors were less important,” said study author Jane Cooley Fruehwirth, associate professor of economics.

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