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Research: Alcohol Outlets Contribute to College Drinking

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In order to curb alcohol consumption on college campuses, the number of alcohol outlets in the surrounding area must be limited, a new report states.

AScribe reported March 4 that the study, published in the March 2003 edition of the international journal Health and Place, found a link between the large number of alcohol outlets near some school campuses and frequent, high-risk drinking among students.

In one college community, the report found 185 alcohol outlets within two miles of campus. Researchers said these retailers follow a “low profit margin/high volume” business model, which results in an barrage of promotions aimed at students.

The study said that reducing the number of alcohol outlets near colleges requires the support of a diverse range of community members. Among actions that have worked are increasing the cost of alcohol-sales licenses, enacting new zoning laws, and tightening enforcement of building and zoning codes and restrictions.

“Campus communities face an uphill battle when there is high outlet density,” said William DeJong, director of the U.S. Department of Education's Higher Education Center. “With these new data in hand, campuses and prevention coalitions will be better prepared to seek reductions in outlet density and thereby stem the flow of alcohol near college campuses.”

Weitzman, E., Folkman, A., Folkman, K. & Wechsler, H. (2003) The relationship of alcohol outlet density to heavy and frequent drinking and drinking-related problems among college students at eight universities. Health and Place, 9(1), 1-6.

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