Despite its reputation, Las Vegas did not make the No. 1 spot on the March 2010 list of drunkest cities in the U.S. It did, however, come in 11th, according to Las Vegas Weekly, just falling short of the top 10 for deaths, arrests and binges related to alcohol and alcoholism.
This does not mean that alcohol does not cause problems in Sin City. Few bars and other establishments in Las Vegas ever announce a “last call” because visitors and locals are known to party all night long. For some, this means that there is never a stopping point for alcohol consumption, leading to alcohol poisoning, drunk driving and other serious problems.
The prevalence of gambling in Las Vegas may also play a part in the city’s high national ranking. Gamblers often drink for free in the casinos, and it is not uncommon for some gambling patrons to lose count of the number of cocktails they have imbibed before calling it quits.
The drunkest cities list compiles data from numerous sources and includes statistics related to liver disease and the specifics of DUI penalties, as well. Not all alcoholism is related to partying and gambling, however, and although Las Vegas boasts both in excess, there are certainly other reasons for the severity of this problem.
Several other west-coast cities made the list of drunkest in the nation, including Reno, Nevada, which came in at the No. 2 slot. Others include Fresno and Modesto, California, and Tucson, Arizona.
According to AlcoholAlert.com, 33 percent of all traffic fatalities in Nevada in 2008 were alcohol-related with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or greater. This statistic, of course, includes all of Nevada rather than just Las Vegas.
It is possible that Nevada will impose harsher DUI laws in the future, though other alcohol-related issues, such as binge drinking and public intoxication, must be considered as part of the equation.