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A Not So Sobering Look at Pennsylvania’s Liquor Laws

Harrisburg State Capitol

April 29, 2022

Today’s Pennsylvania liquor laws are controversial, as consumers cannot buy beer, wine, and liquor at the same location. That said, although the commonwealth’s laws may be inconvenient for some, the idea of adding inconvenience may help the public’s health, according to new data from researchers at the Urban Health Collaborative at Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health, recently published in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.

In the study, the researchers looked at the effect of Acts 39 and 166 becoming law in the commonwealth in 2016 — which for the first time — allowed many large grocery stores to sell beer and wine. They found that Philadelphians living in close proximity to those grocery stores drank more alcohol than those living farther away.

“When alcohol is less available, people may drink less, and experience fewer health risks from alcohol,” said the study’s lead author Amy Auchincloss, PhD, an associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health. “Even moderate alcohol consumption can have negative effects on health, including mental health problems, injury, increased cancer risk, liver disease, and higher blood pressure.”

Read the full article and Q&A on the Drexel News Blog: A Not So Sobering Look at Pennsylvania’s Liquor Laws