An article in the June 1, 2012 Everett Herald warns that the new change in how liquor is sold in Washington state may lead to increased drinking and more related problems. Today is the first day that private retailers like Costco, Safeway, QFC and many others can sell bottled liquor. Previously, liquor could only be sold in state-owned or state-licensed liquor stores.
Experts believe sales of spirits will increase significantly with increased availability and convenience in the purchase of alcohol, with possible negative consequences.
"What impact will convenience have on drinking? There's been real clear research across time," notes Dennis Donovan, director of the UW Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute and a professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. "Privatization of alcohol and ease of access has increased use."
Mary Segawa, alcohol awareness program manager with the Washington State Liquor Control Board, said research on privatized sales shows big shifts in alcohol use.
She points to an scientific study in the April 2012 issue of American Journal of Preventative Medicine which reviewed 17 studies looking at the impact of privatization of alcohol sales on per capita consumption. Taking those 17 studies together -- they included self-reporting of consumption in U.S. and European markets -- there was an increase of more than 40 percent in sales of privatized alcoholic beverages.