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What is A Dry County & What Does it Mean for You?

What is A Dry County & What Does it Mean for You?

Although prohibition in the United States ended in 1933, there are still some areas of the country with strict alcohol laws in place that may surprise you. These anti-alcohol sales areas are known as dry counties and dry towns.

Can You Drink in a Dry County?

A dry county is a county in the United States where the sale of alcoholic beverages is forbidden by the local municipality. Similarly, dry towns are towns where alcohol sales are illegal. This typically includes a ban on both alcohol sales in stores and ordering alcoholic beverages at restaurants. Today, there are still several states with both a mix of wet and dry counties.

While alcohol sales are restricted, you can drink in a dry county. The 21st amendment repealed prohibition, and the local governments do not have the power to ban alcohol altogether. Although people in a dry county cannot buy alcohol within this area, they can still drink legally in the comfort of their home.

Are Dry Counties Safer than Wet Counties?

Alcohol abuse is a common problem throughout the United States. It is estimated that 14.4 million adults in the United States met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder in 2018.1 While several people have a problem, many do not get the alcohol addiction treatment they need.

While alcohol dry counties have stricter laws than most, some evidence suggests that these areas are not any safer. In Alabama, there are several dry counties with higher binge drinking rates than the state’s average.2 Because people are forced to travel to stock up on alcohol, many buy in bulk. Some people believe that this type of buying habit leads to binge drinking. There has also been research that suggests that some dry counties have higher rates of DWIs.3 Many speculate that these driving incidents are a result of people driving greater distances from bars in a neighboring wet county back to their homes in a dry county. On the other hand, states with dry counties like Alabama and Utah had binge drinking rates below the national average based on average state rates.2

While dry counties may seem like a nightmare for some people, they can be a haven for others. Recovering alcoholics who recently completed an alcohol detox program usually struggle with alcohol triggers that give them intense cravings to drink. Because alcohol is much harder to come by in dry counties, they may not be as likely to relapse living here versus in a wet county. These areas can also remove common addiction triggers like alcohol in bars and drinks in restaurants from their everyday lives.

While Delaware is not home to any dry counties or towns itself, there are some dry towns in South Jersey. As a Delaware rehab center, we help people with drinking problems from Delaware and surrounding states regain control of their drinking and get their lives back in order.

If you or a loved one has an alcohol or drug problem, do not wait any longer to get help. Call Banyan Delaware today at 888-280-4763.


  1. NIH- Alcohol Facts and Statistics
  2. Al- Binge drinking highest in dry Alabama counties
  3. The Timers Tribune- Dry counties show higher rates of DUI-related crashes
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
What is A Dry County & What Does it Mean for You?
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