Thursday, June 5, 2008

Liklihood of being physically assaulted is related to amount of liquor sold in neighborhood

Reuthers Health Day reported on May 20, 2008, on a study reported in PLoS Medicine, May 2008, which found that the number of physical assaults in a neighborhood is correlated to the amount of liquor sold in local liquor stores.

This is not a new Public Health finding. Other studies have demonstated the number of negative occurances of alcohol related problems such as DWI, assaults, property damange, disorderly conduct, rape, accidental injury is directly related to the number of alcohol retail outlets per square mile.

ABC boards and local zoning laws should take this into account when they issue alcohol permits.

Also, Happy Hours, 2 for one night, and ladies night at bars which encourage binge drinking, increase the liklihood of negative activity.

From a public health perspective as well as a criminal justice perspective decreasing access to disinhibiting substances such as alcohol which increases impulsivity , poor judgement, and disregulated emotional expression goes along way in increasing the safety, orderliness, and quality of life in a community.

Here is part of what was written in the Health Day article:

The more alcohol sold at a person's local liquor store on a given day, the more likely he or she is to be hospitalized as the result of a serious assault on the following day, Canadian researchers have observed.

In an interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Joel G. Ray of the University of Toronto, who led the study, noted that while critics have said the findings are "nothing new" or "self-evident," the problem of booze-related brawling remains common, with potentially devastating consequences, and is not being addressed. "I do really think we need to look at (alcohol abuse) as something as serious as the illicit drugs we now ban," he said.

People are known to be more likely to commit violent acts when they have been drinking, and there's also new evidence that alcohol boosts a person's risk of being the victim of violence as well, Ray and his team point out in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

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