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Youth Drinking Higher Where Alcohol Outlets Proliferate

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Adolescents who live within walking distance of a liquor store or other alcohol outlet are more likely to engage in binge drinking or drive drunk, according to researchers from the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, Calif.

The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 29 that drinking rates were higher among 12- to 17-year-olds who lived within a half-mile of an alcohol outlet, and that minority neighborhoods tended to have a higher density of alcohol outlets than predominantly white communities.

(How do alcohol outlets affect communities?)

“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.”

The research was published online ahead of publication in the American Journal of Public Health.

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