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Off-licence link to binge drinking

Published:  31 October, 2010

A study has claimed that problem drinking is worsened in areas where off-licences proliferate.

Research by Otago University in New Zealand involved 2,000 people and was carried out in response to a doubling of licensed premises in the country since 1990.

"With each extra off-licence alcohol outlet within 1km, the odds of binge drinking increased by about 4%," said Professor Jennie Connor of the department of preventive and social medicine.

"We need to rethink the ease of obtaining liquor licences and how many alcohol outlets are appropriate."

The study is likely to come to the attention of campaigners in the UK who believe there should be a fixed limit on new licences. Some councils already operate saturation policies in city centres, making it more difficult for on and off-premise retailers to obtain new licences.