- Alcohol availability seems to affect "neighborhood culture."
- A recent study found that where someone lives determines 15-16 percent of their attitudes toward drinking and 11 percent of their individual consumption.
- "Wetter" neighborhoods have higher levels of drinking, accidents and violence.
- Alcohol and public policies may need to address both the individual and their community.
When George Bailey visited a town where he'd never been born in the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," he found a world run amok. "Pottersville" had been named after an unscrupulous banker, alcohol ran freely, and violence, gambling and crime were rampant. This image represents the findings of a study published in the February edition of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
, that the "wetter" a community is, the greater its problems.
"In the last four or five years," explained Richard Scribner, professor of preventive medicine at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and lead author of the study, "people in community-based organizations in cities like Los Angeles, Washington, New Orleans, Oakland and Chicago have become aware of a link between higher densities of alcohol outlets and higher incidences of alcohol-related outcomes." In other words, those neighborhoods with greater access to alcohol tend to have higher rates of homicides, violent assaults, drunk driving offenses, motor vehicle accidents, etc.
"Pottersville is a great metaphor for Dr. Scribner's kind of study," said George Hacker, director of the Alcohol Policies Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "It's one of the best visual descriptions you will find for a society where norms changed because of the greater availability and consumption of alcohol. The changes were largely related to alcohol."
Scribner originally became involved in outlet-density research when community groups in South Central Los Angeles asked him to investigate the Page: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Richard Scribner, M.D., MPH
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
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