Local bottle shops linked to mental health
The number of neighbourhood liquor outlets has been linked to harmful drinking behaviour.
While being within walking distance of your local corner bottle shop may be convenient, a Perth university has found a link between the number of neighbourhood liquor outlets and harmful drinking behaviour, in first-of-its-kind research.
People with more liquor shops close by were found to have higher levels of harmful drinking and worse mental health than those who live further away.
In a study of nearly 7000 adults, the University of Western Australia used geographical mapping to connect people to the location of all licensed alcohol outlets in Perth – with the data producing some concerning results.
Harmful behaviour and higher levels of alcohol consumption was more common if people could buy alcohol close to their home, said Associate Professor Lisa Wood, deputy director of UWA's Centre for the Built Environment and Health.
"We found that the average number of standard drinks per day and the rate of harmful alcohol consumption increased for each additional alcohol outlet in a neighbourhood."
Research also showed the likelihood of being treated in hospital for anxiety, stress or depression increased as the number of alcohol outlets within walking distance (1600m) of the home increased.
"Our findings underscore the importance of limiting both the number of liquor store licences and the geographic density of outlets as a way to improve mental health and reduce other alcohol-related harm," Associate Professor Wood said.
The study reinforced the WA Health Department's five-year plan for a healthier WA.
"One of the suggestions in the five-year plan is limiting the density of alcohol outlets," she said.
"While the association between alcohol outlet density and injury, crime and violence are well documented, this is one of the first studies internationally to specifically look at how this might impact on mental health disorders."
Poll: Do you think the number of bottle shops in an area should be limited?
- Yes. I think having too many liquor stores has a negative affect on society
- No. It's up to the individual to drink responsibly.
Total votes: 223.
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Poll closed 25 Jan, 2013
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