Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Shedding "Drunkest City" Label||
| By Jonathan Friedman
November 17, 2016 -- One year after Santa Monica received national attention for a website dubbing it the "drunkest city in California," a report released this week by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says it's not even the easiest place to get alcohol in the area.
But it is still ranked high.
Santa Monica ranked fifth on the County's list of cities by amount of alcohol outlets available per 10,000 residents, which was based on data from 2013.
Alcohol is served at 27.6 "on-premise" locations such as bars and restaurants in Santa Monica per 10,000 residents.
People can purchase alcohol for later consumption at 7.4 places, including grocery and liquor stores, per 10,000 residents.
Ranking above Santa Monica were West Hollywood (51.1 and 10), El Segundo (39.7 and 10.7), Beverly Hills (38.1 and 7.5) and Hermosa Beach (36 and 11.7).
Malibu ranked just behind Santa Monica with 27.3 on-premise locations and 11.7 stores for purchase per 10,000 residents.
The county average was 8.9 on-premise locations and 6.2 stores per 10,000 residents.
This report also focused on various possible impacts of having easy access to alcohol, including visits to the emergency room.
Santa Monica had more than 100 visits per 10,000 residents, which was nearly double the county average.
"Excessive alcohol consumption continues to be a serious public health concern with substantial implications for disease, violent crimes, traffic collisions, work loss and social relationships," the report says.
It adds, "Drinking among youth and adults is strongly influenced by environmental or structural factors, such as alcohol control policies, retailer marketing strategies as well as alcohol access and availability."
The data-gathering website RoadSnacks named Santa Monica the "drunkest city in California" last fall based on its number of bars and wineries per-capita as well as the number of geotagged tweets about drinking and the divorce rate ("Santa Monica Tops Dubious ‘Drunken City’ List," October 6, 2015).
This distinction, which the website says Santa Monica earned "in a landslide," received significant media attention. However, some questioned the ranking methods, including the use of divorce rate.
City officials and public speakers have occasionally mentioned Santa Monica's dubious title when alcohol-related issues come before the Planning Commission and City Council.
This happened in May when the council raised the cap on downtown alcohol licenses from 50 to 60 (“Council Raises Cap on Downtown Santa Monica Alcohol Licenses,” May 27, 2016).
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