More Liquor Stores Lead to Higher Rates of Alcohol Abuse

By Staff Writer

The density of liquor stores in a given neighborhood may have a major impact on whether or not African American residents will engage in problem drinking, which may increase the risk of addiction and the need for substance abuse help, according to a new study from Tulane University.

The researchers said that they chose to study the effect of liquor store density on African Americans because few previous studies have looked at demographic-related risk, which can help guide public policy.

For the study, they surveyed 321 African Americans about their alcohol use and certain characteristics of their neighborhood. The results showed that individuals who lived in areas with the most liquor stores were more likely to be classified as problem drinkers.

The researchers were entirely surprised by the findings. Liquor stores, rather than supermarkets, tend to be the main source of alcohol in minority communities, and previous studies have associated a high density of these establishments with other problem drinking behaviors, such as drunk driving.

They concluded that drug rehab providers should take into consideration a patient’s living environment when providing them with a relapse prevention strategy.