In Louisiana, the Number of Local Bars Predicts Degree of Violence; Neighborhood Controls Needed

Assessment of geographic clustering of alcohol-related problems

Investigators at the Louisiana State University Medical Center developed the Louisiana Alcohol Policy Needs Assessment Database (LAPNAD) to understand patterns of alcohol use and to inform alcohol prevention policies.

The database includes group or aggregate indicators of alcohol availability, including:

  • Density or location of alcohol outlets.
  • Alcohol-related outcomes, such as crimes and fatalities.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP).

Key Findings

Analyzing data obtained from LAPNAD, investigators found that one "group-level" indicator—density of alcohol outlets in a neighborhood—rather than the proximity of individuals to an outlet, is strongly associated with alcohol-related outcomes in New Orleans.

This group-level effect suggests that individuals are at greater risk of alcohol-related outcomes because they live in a census tract with a high density of alcohol outlets than because they happen to live near an individual outlet.