South LA liquor stores may put residents’ health at risk

For health professionals and academics engaged in the study of social issues, the detrimental impact of liquor stores on their neighboring communities is a continuing problem. Bridget Freisthler, associate professor at the department of social welfare at UCLA, has spent over a decade researching the effects of alcohol access on violence and alcoholism, and her findings have shown that more liquor stores create a harmful effect. Using data from three counties in California, Freisthler compared the frequency of reports of child abuse and neglect with the density of alcohol outlets and found that a consistent correlation. When there was a rise in liquor store density, there was also a rise in child abuse and neglect or the other way around. Freisthler’s research on off-premise alcohol outlets and violent assaults in California showed a significant correlation as well between the number of liquor stores and perpetrators of assault. “Places that have higher densities of outlets have increases in violence, child abuse and neglect [and] traffic crashes,” said Freisthler. “There’s quite a lot of different social problems that are related to the density of alcohol outlets.” 


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