Alcohol Prevention Policy

Alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine, and liquor, can be purchased from a wide variety of places across Santa Clara County. Drinking alcohol has major effects on the health of both youth and adults.

What is happening with alcohol in Santa Clara County?

  • Alcohol contributes to more than 8,500 emergency department visits every year.
  • Alcohol was linked to more than 300 motor vehicle crash injuries in 2020. 
  • About 1 in 7 adults in the county report binge drinking in the prior month.
  • Alcohol is the most common substance used by youth in our county.
  • Youth perceive drinking alcohol as less harmful than using vapes with nicotine or smoking cigarettes.

Alcohol consumption harms health

According to the CDC, drinking alcohol and binge drinking (having 4 or 5 drinks during a single occasion) harms health both immediately and long-term. These health harms include:

  • Injuries, including motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns
  • Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Risky sexual behaviors
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, and liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Learning and memory problems
  • Depression
  • Alcohol dependence 

Alcohol is accessible across Santa Clara County

There are more than 4,200 active alcohol licenses issued to Santa Clara County businesses by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. See the locations of alcohol retail licenses near where you live, work and play.

Policy solutions

To reduce alcohol consumption among youth, the Public Health Department is working with the Behavioral Health Services Department to support the County’s Substance Use Prevention Program. The Public Health Department will also be working with city and community leaders, organizations, youth, parents, and other stakeholders to support the following strategies:

  • Raising awareness of how alcohol can harm health
  • Reducing the number of alcohol retailers in communities where there are a lot of retailers
  • Reducing the number of alcohol retailers near spaces intended for or used by youth (parks, youth centers, schools) 
  • Increasing taxes on alcohol products 
  • Enforcing policies to ensure alcohol retailers are not selling alcohol to minors

To learn more about the County’s efforts to address alcohol consumption, please email [email protected].

©2024 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.