A LEADING charity has warned of a spike in alcohol and drug use due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cumbria Drug and Alcohol Advisory Service (CADAS) said its helpline received as many as 40 calls per week during the lockdown period. CADAS believe that people are drinking more or using drugs to cope with stress brought on by the health crisis. Leigh Williams, chief executive for the leading charity said: “The people calling the helpline include those with dependency problems who were recovering, but lockdown has knocked them back. “It also includes people who use drugs or alcohol to cope with stress and worries, but who have now been hit by redundancy or the potential loss of their business or other pressures.” She believes that excess drinking during the lockdown period is a general problem. “I am also seeing a lot of people generally talking about how they are drinking more to cope with the situation," Leigh added. "For the majority of these, fingers crossed, they will be able to snap out of drinking early in the day or at night-time.” Leigh warned that a habit of excessive drinking or prescription drug use may require work to tackle when the pandemic is over. She said: “But there will be some people who have developed a new habit and they will need help to stop drinking at lunch time or taking those pain killers.” The Carlisle-based charity received a grant of £25,000 over two years from The Cumberland Building Society. The funding boost allows the charity to appoint a new part-time manager which is needed to cope with demand. “I’m utterly grateful to for this grant from The Cumberland” said Leigh. The service was seeing high demand even before the pandemic but CADAS has been particularly stretched during the Covid-19 outbreak. “Word of mouth is such that we are inundated and quite simply cannot cope with the volume in terms of demand," said Leigh. And a surge in drink and drug abuse brought on by the coronavirus lockdown extends to young people. Leigh said: “We are seeing increases in substance use through lockdown among young people, maybe pinching mum and dad’s booze or accessing substances and doing it out of boredom. Drugs and alcohol are going to be a huge issue over the next few years. A youth worker reported to us a big increase in cannabis use in Copeland, and nitrous oxide.” The charity provides one-to-one and group support for all ages and it also helps their carers and family members. Although he has not heard of a rise in drink and drugs amongst young people it does not come as a surprise to Paul Rowe, manager of Phoenix Youth Club. He said: “Young people are the largest group that spend the most social time out of the home.” Virtual youth club meetings have seen young people reporting feelings of boredom during lockdown. He said: “There was a huge social element missing, it did have a big effect. “We’ve had young people who were struggling to sleep at night." CADAS had a waiting list of more than 100 people requesting one-to-one support in April and May. Phil Ward, of The Cumberland Building Society, said: “We created the Cumberland Community Fund to allow charities like CADAS the opportunity to plan further ahead and become more sustainable. "CADAS services are vital and we are pleased to be able to help them reach more people in our communities.