; Lange, J.E.; and Voas, R.B.
In Supplement to Alcoholism. Clinical and Experimental Research. 2000 Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism
pgs. 112A , Denver, CO: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins (2000)When two neighboring jurisdictions have differences in alcohol control laws, the jurisdiction with the more liberal laws may attract those seeking to escape prohibitive drinking limits. Such is the case along the Mexico-United States border. Every weekend night, thousands of young U.S. residents cross into Mexico to visit the bars and nightclubs. Many engage in binge drinking, and some estimates suggest that as many as 33% return to the United States with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) above the legal driving limit.
In the past, the problems created by these binge drinkers have tended to be ignored on both sides of the border. However, recently local governments on the Mexican side of the border have been considering action to require earlier bar closing hours and to even raise the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21. This paper describes the policy changes being implemented and reports on the evaluation of one new policy that has been in place for over a year.
Beginning in January 1999, policy changes in Juárez required bars in that city to close at 2:00 A.M. (where previously they had operated as late as 5:00 A.M.). This change was anticipated to reduce the numbers of U.S. residents who visit bars and nightclubs across the border, as well as to reduce their level of drinking behavior. Analysis of returning crossers (and their BACs) confirmed our expectations.