New Ohio laws in the past decade have widened access to alcohol, a move that’s allowed the beer, wine and liquor industry to flourish. But, leaders in addiction prevention say the rapid expansion may threaten public health (Source: “Latest Ohio alcohol laws bolster business,” Dayton Daily News, April 7, 2019).
A Dayton Daily News investigation found Ohio’s governor has signed into law at least 12 bills that further relaxed alcohol restrictions statewide since 2012. They included everything from allowing microdistilleries to offer visitors a taste of their products and sell limited quantities for carryout to lowering the permit fees for craft breweries and allowing open containers of alcohol at outdoor events.
Liquor sales in Ohio have jumped more than $500 million in the past decade, and since 2012, the number of craft brewers in the state have increased more than 400%.
As Ohio’s alcohol laws have changed, however, binge drinking rates have creeped higher and increased access may be to blame. Binge drinking is commonly defined as four drinks for a woman and five for a man within a two-hour period, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The overall percentage of Ohioans who binge drink increased from 17% in 2011 to 19% as of this year, according to a survey from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.