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Alcohol Data

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 (Substance Abuse Epidemiology Section, New Mexico Department of Health).  In addition, underage drinking is a serious concern: 20.1% of high school students report drinking alcohol before the age of 13 (Healy R, Green D, FitzGerald C, and Peñaloza L.). 

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 (Community Guide Branch of the National Center for Health Marketing).

  • Violence, Including Homicide, Suicide,

  • Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

  • DWI

  • Sexual Assault

  • Property Damage and Vandalism

  • Underage Drinking/Risky Drinking


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 (Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health).  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.


New Mexico’s current quota regulation limits the number of retailer and dispenser licenses to 1 per every 2,000 people.  As of 2012, Gallup, the City of Santa Fe and Española exceed the quota by more than 200%. Taos City exceeds the quota by more than 500% (Regulation and Licensing Department, State of New Mexico).

  • As of 2016, Taos City is 567% over the recommended Quota in State Statute (Regulation and Licensing Department, State of New Mexico). "VIEW "LOCAL OPTION DISTRICT LIQUOR LICENSE QUOTAS FOR NEW MEXICO"

  • VIEW  MAP of Taos Alcohol Outlet & DWI crashes

  • Effectiveness of policies and programs to reduce the harm caused by alcohol

  • The Effectiveness of Limiting Alcohol Outlet Density As a Means of Reducing Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol-Related Harms

  • Changing the density of alcohol outlets to reduce alcohol-related problems

  • Using Public Health and Community Partnerships to Reduce Density of Alcohol Outlets

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 Lewin Group, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)































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 (The Lewin Group, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

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. (The Lewin Group, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Impaired Productivity:  Excessive alcohol consumption 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 (Scientific Opinion of the Science Group of the European Alcohol and Health Forum). 

FURTHER Information:

  • Alcohol Outlets and Binge Drinking in Urban Neighborhoods: The Implications of Nonlinearity for Intervention and Policy 

  • Alcohol Outlet Density in New Mexico

  • Alcohol Outlet Density Facts in NM

  • Alcohol Taxes Save Lives: Powerpoint

  • Alcohol Taxes Saves Lives: Website

  • Alcohol Sales at Public Events

  • Follow ALCOHOL News Articles

  • video on alchol literacy 


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