Alcohol access and use

About Alcohol access and use

Heavy regular drinking and binge drinking contribute to a wide range of chronic health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, cirrhosis, depression and dementia. Alcohol use is also associated with suicide, homicide, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases and injuries. It is one of the leading behavior-related causes of death in New York City (NYC).

This site provides data on heavy alcohol consumption and alcohol outlets in NYC.

Alcohol and the Environment

Greater alcohol outlet density has been associated with a variety of health and social consequences, including:

  • Alcohol-related hospitalizations
  • Violent crime, assault and homicide
  • Child abuse and intimate partner violence
  • Liver cirrhosis mortality
  • Motor vehicle accidents

Alcohol advertising – at point-of-sale and other locations – permeates the NYC environment. Research suggests that exposing youth to alcohol advertising is associated with increased interest in drinking alcohol.

About the Data and Indicators

Alcohol drinking is measured in the NYC Health Department’s Community Health Surveys. We define heavy drinking as an average of more than two drinks per day for men or more than one drink per day for women. We define binge drinking as five or more drinks on one occasion, and as of 2011, four or more drinks for women. The accuracy of estimates derived from surveys depends in part on participants’ ability to recall and honestly report their behavior.Alcohol outlets data are provided by the New York State Liquor Authority, which licenses establishment to sell alcoholic beverages. Establishments are categorized as service or retail. Service outlets are defined as locations where the patron purchases and consumes the alcohol in the same place (on-premise), such as a bar or restaurant. Retail outlets are defined as locations where the patron purchases the alcohol on-site such as at a grocery or liquor store but must consume the alcohol elsewhere (off-premise).


Policies and practices that have been shown to reduce harmful drinking include:

  • Enforcing laws prohibiting sales of alcohol to youth and to those already intoxicated.
  • Limiting the density of alcohol outlets.

Industry can help to control hazardous drinking behavior by:

  • Limiting the use of drink specials or promotions.
  • Using standard measures for drinks.
  • Maintaining a limit on the number or drinks a person can consume.
  • Providing training and education to employees to encourage responsible alcohol sales and consumption.

Health care providers should incorporate universal screening for alcohol problems into medical care settings.

Loading data...

Just a moment...