Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Retailer density linked to adolescent binge drinking

A new study published online this month in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that binge drinking and drinking and driving among 12-17 year olds is “significantly associated with the presence of alcohol retailers” within a half mile of their home.

"Our study suggests that living in close proximity to alcohol outlets is a risk factor for youth," according to the researchers. "In California, retail licenses are not typically approved within 100 feet of a residence or within 600 feet of schools, public playgrounds and nonprofit youth facilities, but proximity by itself is not sufficient to deny a license ... More attention on the proximity rule is needed and environmental interventions need to curb opportunities for youth to get alcohol from commercial sources."

(via Join Together)

Maine Statute requires that liquor retailers be located at least 300’ away from schools, except in downtown areas. Perhaps not coincidentally, Portland has a 32% higher binge drinking rate among teens than the State of Maine, according to the 2008 MYDAUS results; in urban areas, alcohol outlets are in closer proximity to places where youth congregate.

This study underscores the need for extra caution in reviewing liquor license applications for locations close to places where youth live, study, and play.

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