POLICY STUDIES

Retail Availability - Alcohol Outlet Density

Three aspects of alcohol availability that are regulated to some extent by all states are the type, number and permissible locations of alcohol outlets. In general, on-premise outlets, those that permit use at the point of purchase, are regulated somewhat differently than off-premise outlets, those that allow take-away sales and do not typically permit use at point of purchase. Historically, on-premise outlets have been the subject of more stringent regulation since they have been perceived as exposing populations to greater health risks such as heavy use, drunkenness and violence. Early international work indicated that, short of prohibition, regulations on outlet densities could ameliorate community problems such as public drunkenness and violence. PRC researchers performed the first state-level panel study demonstrating that outlet densities were related to alcohol sales1 and recently completed the first effective demonstration of relationships of densities to use of drinking contexts and drinking levels.2 PRC researchers have also been at the forefront developing technologies for the analysis of these data3 and demonstrating relationships between outlet densities and violent assaults,4 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes,5 intimate partner violence,6 and child abuse and neglect.7

References cited:

  1. Gruenewald, P.J.; Ponicki, W.R.; & Holder, H.D. The relationship of outlet densities to alcohol consumption: A time series cross-sectional analysis. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 17(1):38-47, 1993. PMID: 8452207
  2. Gruenewald, P.J. and Remer, L.R. (2014) A social ecological model of alcohol use: The California 50 city study. Addiction, 109(5):736-745. PMCID: PMC4106302
  3. Banerjee, A.; LaScala, E.A.; Gruenewald, P.J.; Freisthler, B.; Treno, A.; and Remer, L.G. "Social disorganization, alcohol, and drug markets and violence: A space-time model of community structure." In Thomas, Y.F.; Richardson, D.; and Cheung, I. (eds.) Geography and Drug Addiction. New York, NY: Springer Science and Business Media, 2008, pp. 119-132.
  4. Mair, C.; Gruenewald, P.J.; Ponicki, W.R.; & Remer, L.G. Varying impacts of alcohol outlet densities on violent assaults: Explaining differences across neighborhoods. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 74:50-58, 2013. PMCID: PMC3517264
  5. Ponicki, W.R.; Gruenewald, P.J.; & Remer, L.R. Spatial panel analyses of alcohol outlets and motor vehicle crashes in California: 1999-2008. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 55:135-143, 2013.
  6. Cunradi, C.B., Mair, C., Ponicki, W.R., & Remer, L.G. Alcohol outlet density and intimate partner violence-related emergency department visits. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 36(5), 847-853, 2012.
  7. Freisthler B.; Midanik L.T.; & Gruenewald P.J. Alcohol outlets & child physical abuse & neglect: Applying routine activities theory to the study of child maltreatment. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65:586-592, 2004.