Alcohol Outlet Density in New Mexico

Alcohol abuse and dependence pose significant risks to public health and safety for adults and youth in New Mexico. Since 1997, New Mexico has had the highest death rate due to alcohol in the United States: 1 in 6 deaths among working age adults (ages 20 to 64) is attributed to alcohol in our state. In addition, underage drinking is a serious concern: 22% of high school students report drinking alcohol before the age of 13, the fourth highest rate in the nation.

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Why the Concern for Increased Alcohol Outlet Density? 

Research conducted over the past two decades has shown clear linkages between high alcohol outlet density and these public health harms.

  • Violence, Including Homicide, Suicide, 
  • Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
  • DWI
  • Sexual Assault
  • Property Damage and Vandalism
  • Underage Drinking/Risky Drinking

WHAT ABOUT THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF MORE ALCOHOL OUTLETS? 

When communities turn to alcohol sales outlets as a means of economic development, the cost of associated alcohol-related harms is usually ignored.  The economic cost of alcohol to New Mexico was estimated at $2.8 billion in 2007. At a per capita cost of $1,400, this is among the highest in the nation.  Given the list of related harms, it is likely that adding alcohol outlets in areas that already have significant density will create an economic burden, not benefit, to these communities.

WHY THE CONCERN FOR EXPANDING THE NUMBER OF ALCOHOL OUTLETS IN NEW MEXICO? 

New Mexico’s current quota regulation limits the number of retailer and dispenser licenses to 1 per every 2,000 people.  As of 2012, Local Option Districts in the state exceed the quota by more than 50 percent. Gallup, the City of Santa Fe and Española exceed the quota by more than 200%.      Taos County exceeds the quota by more than 500%. 

VIEW  MAP of Taos Alcohol Outlet & DWI crashes


Excessive alcohol use

Excessive alcohol use is responsible for an average of 79,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost in the United States each year, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in this country. It is associated with multiple adverse health and social consequences, including liver cirrhosis, certain cancers, unintentional injuries, unintended pregnancy, and fetal alcohol spectrum. In addition, the link between excessive alcohol consumption and crime especially violent crime including homicide and child maltreatment is well established.

The total estimated 2006 economic cost of excessive drinking was $223.5 billion, approximately $746 for each man, woman, and child in the U.S. in 2006. Of the total cost, 72.2% came from lost productivity, 11.0% from health care costs, 9.4% from criminal justice system, and 7.5% from other effects. The cost from binge drinking was $170.7 billion, underage drinking $27.0 billion, drinking during pregnancy $5.2 billion, and crime $73.3 billion.

Definition of Excessive Consumption: There are two primary and overlapping patterns of excessive alcohol consumption: “binge drinking” and “heavy drinking.” Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that results in a blood alcohol concentration of .08 gm/dL or greater which is typically achieved by a female consuming four or more drinks on a single occasion or a male consuming five or more drinks. Heavy drinking is the consumption of an average of more than one drink per day for females and more than two drinks per day for males. In addition to binge drinking and heavy drinking, any consumption of alcohol by pregnant women or by individuals under age 21 years is deemed excessive consumption.

Impaired Productivity:  Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with an individual's ability to gain employment and with their productivity on the job and at home. Alcohol can interfere with an individual’s ability to work (physical and/or mental impairment); ability to find a job (lack of skills, experience, or reliability); and, potentially, willingness or motivation to find a job. Thus, wages or salaries among workers with excessive alcohol consumption may be lower than among similar workers without such problems.