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Two states in Mexico lift dry laws after finding alcohol consumption continued

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Dozens of men line up to buy beer in Nayarit, which has lifted a ban on alcohol sales. Photo: Televisa

While Yucatan continues with a dry law that began April 10, two other Mexicans state have lifted their “ley seca.”

Sinaloa Gov. Quirino Ordaz Coppel lifted that state’s ban on alcohol sales today. Sinaloa’s dry law began April 13.

Its neighbor to the south, Nayarit, which had imposed severe limits on alcohol, joined suit.

Gov. Antonio Echeverraría García acknowledged 45 days of restriction did little to decrease alcohol consumption.

“Alcohol consumption remained practically unchanged, fueled by a large black market allowed by bad second-level officials throughout the state, corrupted by criminal gangs,” said Echeverraría García.

While a tightening of sales is common in Mexico, only a handful of states have totally banned alcohol sales. Many municipalities across the country, however, have initiated local restrictions and outright bans.

There’s a long history of restricting alcohol in Mexico that dates back to the Aztec era, said Gretchen Pierce, a historian at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and co-author of the book “Alcohol in Latin America: A Social and Cultural History.”

The Aztecs drank pulque, a fermented beverage made of agave, but considered it sacred so only certain groups were allowed to drink it — “the elderly, lactating women, warriors, groups like this,” Pierce said.

During the Mexican revolution in the early 20th century, alcohol was prohibited because it was believed to reduce productivity among workers, Pierce said.

When it comes to today’s ban, the link between drinking and the coronavirus is still being studied, said George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health.

“What we know is that heavy drinking can worsen the impact of infection on the lungs. Because alcohol impairs the immune system,” he said.

But for most government officials, the decision to limit alcohol sales is mainly driven by societal factors.

With information from Public Radio International, Milenio

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