To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

MEDIA RELEASE: Kids Dying From Drugs: It's All About Supply and Demand

Date: March 27, 2007

A third of deaths among young people in developed countries such as Canada are caused by alcohol and illicit drugs. That’s according to a new paper—coauthored by University of Victoria psychologist and Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia (CARBC) at the University of Victoria director Dr. Tim Stockwell—published today in the medical journal The Lancet.

The paper, “Interventions to Reduce Harm Associated with Adolescent Substance Use,” identifies strategies from the international scientific literature that will reduce death, illness and injury among young people.

“The drug that’s killing the greatest amount of young people globally is alcohol—nearly 90 per cent of substance-related deaths in developed countries such as Canada are due to alcohol,” says Stockwell. “A substantial dent could be made in these figures by combining regulatory, early-intervention and harm reduction approaches.”

Stockwell says regulating the price and physical availability of alcohol and tobacco is known to be highly effective. “These lessons could also be applied to the management of some other widely-used drugs such as cannabis,” he says. A previous CARBC study * showed cannabis is “very easy” to obtain in British Columbia and its use is more widespread among BC residents than the rest of Canadians.

Stockwell says another strategy is to reduce the demand for drugs by supporting young people and families at key stages in their development from before birth to teenage years. This includes educating parents on the dangers of using illicit substances during pregnancy and the risks associated with childhood exposure to second-hand smoke.

Harm reduction is another approach Stockwell highlights. Strategies such as random breath testing and graduated driver licensing have reduced the amount of driving-related deaths and injuries.

Special Issue on ‘Substance abuse, poverty and human
development in Africa’
Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development: October 2007

We are pleased to inform you that the African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies is planning a special issue on “Substance abuse, poverty and human development in Africa” as a participant in the Council of Science Editors’ call for a Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development scheduled for publication in October 2007.

In this special initiative, more than 100 journals throughout the world will simultaneously publish papers on this topic of worldwide interest - to raise awareness, stimulate interest, and encourage research on poverty and human development. This represents a unique, unprecedented international collaboration with journals from developed and developing countries

The AJDAS will accept papers on all aspects of alcohol and other psychoactive substances as long as they focus on the link with poverty and development issues. We invite authors to submit to the journal high-quality original research, reviews and commentaries for consideration. Papers on alcohol production and consumption (including traditional beverages), trafficking in illicit drugs, abuse of inhalants and local substances by poor urban youth, developmental aspects of national drug control policies, the impact of substance use on health and development, etc. are of interest tom the journal.

To be included in this special issue, manuscripts should be received by the 31 May 2007. Please send inquiries and completed papers directly to the Editor-inchief of the journal (E-mail: In keeping with the tradition of the journal, all papers for this special issue (whether solicited or not) will undergo peer review.

If you are interested in more information on the Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development, you can visit the Council of Science Editors Web site at

For more information about the AJDAS and for papers published in back issues of the journal visit

Work on the publication of this and other special issue is supported by a grant from the IOGT-NTO, Sweden, through a twinning arrangement with the journal Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (NAT). In this arrangement, copies of the African journal are distributed to all NAT subscribers globally.

Please distribute this announcement to colleagues who might be interested in contributing to this special issue of the journal.

African Journal of Drug & Alcohol Studies, 5(2), 2006

In response to growing concern among public health experts about alcohol use and HIV in Africa, several U.S. government (USG) agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services/Centres for Disease Control and Prevention/Global AIDS Programme (HHS/CDC/GAP), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Department of Defense (DoD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted a meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 30-31 August 2005, "Alcohol, HIV Risk Behaviours and Transmission in Africa: Developing Programmes for the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)."

The primary objective of the meeting was to provide scientific and programmatic updates on alcohol-related HIV risk behaviours and transmission in Africa and to inform the development of PEPFAR programming. PEPFAR is a 5- year, US$15 billion initiative intended to support treatment for 2 million HIV positive patients with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), to prevent 7 million new cases of HIV/AIDS and to care for 10 million patients suffering with AIDS. HIV prevention and treatment initiatives which address alcohol abuse and increase adherence to ARV treatment have the potential to contribute to PEPFAR’s goals.

This article summarizes the major technical issues and key points raised in the meeting which included presentations in several key areas: epidemiology and ethnography of alcohol and alcohol-related risk factors for HIV transmission; prevention and treatment of HIV in the context of alcohol use; and approaches to policy and partnership designed to promote the exchange of resources and knowledge related to programmes addressing alcohol use and
HIV/AIDS risk behaviours.

Finally, the meeting sought to strengthen partnerships between USG agencies implementing PEPFAR and multi-sectoral organizations, including faith based communities, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), uniformed services, and the alcohol industry to support HIV prevention interventions.

The meeting benefited from a diverse range of experts and participants from across the region and the United States including USG PEPFAR-implementationstaff, host-country government staff, alcohol and substance abuse specialists, researchers on alcohol and on HIV/ AIDS, policy experts, community-based programme managers, and communicatione experts.

Representatives of the military and the alcohol industry from across the region also participated and expressed commitment as partners in addressing the issue of alcohol abuse. Approximately 80 participants from 13 African countries participated in the technical meeting.


African Journal of Drug & Alcohol Studies, 5(2), 2006

The significant role of alcohol in HIV transmission and treatment has not been addressed in Africa. Given the widespread use of alcohol in Africa and its impact on HIV/AIDS, decision makers are now recognizing that action is needed.

The authors conducted a situational analysis of the relationships between alcohol and HIV in three sub-Saharan countries: Kenya, Zambia and Rwanda.

Key findings emerging from these countries include: the importance of youth as a risk group for harmful use of alcohol and increased HIV risk; the lack of enforcement of laws relating to alcohol leading to increased HIV risk; the central role of traditional and informal alcohol production in alcohol use; the lack of alcohol screening tools in antiretroviral therapy (ART); and the lack of alcohol treatment availability especially linked to voluntary HIV counselling and testing (VCT) and ART.


African Journal of Drug & Alcohol Studies, 5(2), 2006

The World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Consultation on the “Public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol in the African Region” was held at WHO/AFRO, in Brazzaville, Congo, from 10-12 May 2006. The meeting was convened as a follow-up to the adoption of Resolution WHA58.26 on Public Halth Problems Caused by Harmful Alcohol Use at the fifty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2005 (WHO, 2005) which gave the WHO the mandate to make a number of specific requests of Member States and the WHO Director- General to intensify efforts to reduce the burden of alcohol-related problems nationally, regionally and globally.

The primary goals of the consultation were to assess the situation related to alcohol production and consumption and its harmful consequences, and to develop a programme to guide the work on alcohol in the African region over the next five years.

The meeting was attended by representatives from 13 sub-Saharan countries, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the WHO Secretariat. Participants were representatives of health ministries, academia, medical and allied professions, non-governmental organizations and civil society.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Risk Taking in Adolescence: New Perspectives From Brain and Behavioral Science
Current Directions in Psychological Science 16 (2), 55–59.

Trying to understand why adolescents and young adults take more risks than younger or older individuals do has challenged psychologists for decades. Adolescents' inclination to engage in risky behavior does not appear to be due to irrationality, delusions of invulnerability, or ignorance.

This paper presents a perspective on adolescent risk taking grounded in developmental neuroscience. According to this view, the temporal gap between puberty, which impels adolescents toward thrill seeking, and the slow maturation of the cognitive-control system, which regulates these impulses, makes adolescence a time of heightened vulnerability for risky behavior.

This view of adolescent risk taking helps to explain why educational interventions designed to change adolescents' knowledge, beliefs, or attitudes have been largely ineffective, and suggests that changing the contexts in which risky behavior occurs may be more successful than changing the way adolescents think about risk.



eNewsletter - April 13,2007

Job Opening at Faces & Voices of Recovery
Faces & Voices is pleased to announce a new position as Administrative Assistant made possible by the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and our members. The application deadline is Tuesday, May 1st.

Sign up for our Webinar on Peer Recovery Support Services!
On Saturday April 21st, Faces & Voices is sponsoring an hour-long recovery advocacy training on peer recovery support services. We’re excited to have Tom Hill, Bev Haberle and Patty McCarthy as speakers for this session, where you can listen and learn about the innovative programs building communities of recovery across the country. Please sign up by Friday, April 20th. More...

There’s an April 16th deadline for US Representatives to sign up as co-sponsors of The Second Chance Act, which was bottled-up at the end of the last Congress. Use Faces & Voices of Recovery’s new Online Advocacy Action Center for contacting your US Representative to ask him or her to co-sponsor the Second Chance Act of 2007, H.R. 1593 by Monday, April 16th.

Name changes proposed for key federal agencies to help reduce stigma
Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) joined other members of Congress to introduce a bill that “is a small but important step towards stripping away the social stigma surrounding the treatment of diseases of addiction," according to Biden. Under the bill, S. 1011, The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) would become the National Institute on Diseases of Addiction, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) would be renamed the National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health. more…

Researchers at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice in Newark, New Jersey are conducting a research project which is designed to collect stories of healing and transformation from about 500 people across the country including people in recovery from addiction. More…
The Substance Abuse Policy Research Program is accepting applications for small grants (under $100,000) with a May 8, 2007 deadline. An initiative of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation more…
The Second Road is an online community for the tens of millions of people affected by addiction. A pre-release site includes film clips of just a few of the individuals who have told their recovery stories, many of whom are part of the Faces & Voices network of recovery advocates. More…

Faces & Voices of Recovery launches our membership campaign! Join now!

Alcohol and Alcoholism 2007 42(2):57-63;


This commentary is based on a Plenary Address at the 2006 Meeting of the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism (ISBRA) held in Sydney, Australia, which posed the simple question: Is There a Future for Quantifying Drinking in the Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention of Alcohol Use Disorders?

The intention is to stimulate dialogue among the many disciplines represented in the alcohol field about where we should be going with respect to diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorders (AUDs), now that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched initiatives for the construction of the fifth revision of the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) and the l1th edition of the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

Our position is that quantifying drinking is very relevant to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of AUDs. Good examples are the diagnostic criteria developed over time for other complex diseases (e.g. hypertension and diabetes), in which diagnoses are a combination of quantifiable measures (e.g. blood pressure and blood glucose level) and risk factors for disease (e.g. age, weight, lifestyle, and co-morbid conditions).

For each of these disorders, diagnostic criteria have developed from simple cutpoints (e.g. diastolic and systolic blood pressure cutpoints for diagnosing hypertension in relation to heart attack and stroke), but have been continually refined as data on other dimensions of risk became available.

The data to develop multidimensional, scalable diagnostic criteria for AUDs similar to those for hypertension (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2001a), diabetes (American Diabetes Association, 2006), and high blood cholesterol (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2001b) are not yet sufficiently refined owing to the absence of quantifiable biomarkers.

However, as described below, we do have enough data to begin developing diagnostic criteria for AUDs based on symptom severity and the quantification of drinking as a dimension in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of AUDs. An effort in this direction to guide future treatment prevention strategies is both opportune and feasible.


Scottish Alcohol Research Framework
Summary of Current Alcohol Research and Research Gaps

NHS Health Scotland undertook a scoping of the alcohol research literature in Scotland identifying current research and research gaps. This summary was produced and circulated to the Alcohol Evidence Group and was used as a tool to inform the development of the Alcohol Research Framework.
The Scottish Executive has identified the following priorities for action:
• To develop a strong evidence base on the extent and nature of alcohol problems and the effectiveness of harm reduction interventions, and ensure this is reflected in policy development and service delivery.
• To tackle health inequalities.
• To reduce alcohol-related violence and offending.
• To change the culture of excessive drinking and drinking to get drunk to a culture of drinking for responsible enjoyment.
• To reduce the number of young people and young adults under the age of 25 who drink excessively and face particular health and social risks.
• To reduce the number of people of working age (25-64) who are routinely exceeding weekly limits and are at risk of future health harm.
• To reduce the number of women whose drinking puts them at particular health and personal safety risks.
• To develop educational and workplace cultures which promote healthy lifestyle choices and provide people with or at risk of developing alcohol problems with appropriate support.


How do public health policies tackle alcohol-related harm: a review of 12 developed countries

Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on March 6, 2007

To identify how current public health policies of 12 developed countries assess alcohol-related problems, the goals and targets that are set and the strategic directives proposed.

All the countries studied state that alcohol causes substantial harm to individual health and family well-being, increases crime and social disruption, and results in economic loss through lost productivity.

All are concerned about consumption of alcohol by young adults and by heavy and problem drinkers. Few aim to reduce total consumption. Only five of the countries set specific targets for changes in drinking behaviour.

Countries vary in their commitment to intervene, particularly on taxation, drink-driving, the drinking environment and for high-risk groups. Australia and New Zealand stand out as having coordinated intervention programmes in most areas.

Policies differ markedly in their organization, the goals and targets that are set, the strategic approaches proposed and areas identified for intervention. Most countries could improve their policies by following the recommendations in the World Heath Organization's European Alcohol Action Plan.





Alcohol and Alcoholism 2007 42(2):92-102;

The hippocampus (HC) is characterized by high vulnerability to noxious influence, but also by a considerable regenerative potential. Although deficits in HC-related functions are among the most commonly reported cognitive sequelae in alcoholism, little and conflicting information is available concerning regeneration upon abstinence.

The present study has been designed to evaluate (i) the frequency of measurable dysfunction in so called HC tests and (ii) its predictive value for risk to relapse in a cohort of 50 severely affected chronic alcoholic patients and (iii) to monitor recovery of HC-related functions upon strict abstention from alcohol.

Demonstrating slow but remarkable regeneration of HC functions upon strict abstention from alcohol, our data strongly support abstinence-oriented long-term treatment of alcoholics. The absence of functional recovery in patients with additional causes of brain damage might be explained by the ‘dual hit’ exhausting the regenerative potential of the HC.




Thursday, April 12, 2007

Impact of the Alcohol-Dehydrogenase (ADH) 1C and ADH1B polymorphisms on drinking behavior in nonalcoholic Japanese
Human Mutation
Volume 28, Issue 5 , Pages 506 - 510

A linkage disequilibrium (LD) between the alcohol-dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) and alcohol-dehydrogenase 1C (ADH1C) polymorphisms adds complexity to differentiating the significance of these two genetic polymorphisms on drinking behavior and alcoholism.

We have recently shown the importance of the ADH1B polymorphism on habitual drinking in the Japanese population; however, the issue regarding the LD between the ADH1B and ADH1C polymorphisms remains to be clarified.

Here, we conducted a cross-sectional study in 2,299 nonalcoholic Japanese individuals. Drinking behavior was examined with regard to haplotypes of the ADH1B and ADH1C polymorphisms.

In conclusion, this study showed a significant impact of the ADH1C polymorphism on habitual drinking, regardless of the ADH1B/ALDH2 polymorphisms.


Center Line

a quarterly newsletter published by the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies to bring greater understanding of alcoholism and alcoholic disease research

Volume 18, Issue 1, March 2007

(download in PDF format)

College Attendance and Its Effect on Drinking Behaviors in a Longitudinal Study of Adolescents
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles).

While college attendance has been shown to be associated with increased drinking behaviors, there are no studies to our knowledge that have examined whether college attendance moderates genetic influences for drinking.

We first tested for changes in alcohol consumption in adolescents who did and did not subsequently attend college, and then tested for variation of the genetic and environmental determinants of drinking in these 2 groups.

Participants who did not attend college reported more binge drinking and consumed greater quantities of alcohol as adolescents than participants who subsequently attended college. However, the college students not only surpassed their noncollege peers in alcohol use as young adults, but also exhibited a greater genetic influence on quantity of alcohol consumed per drinking episode.

Exposure to a college environment acts as an environmental moderator, supporting the hypothesis that the magnitude of genetic influence on certain aspects of alcohol consumption is greater in environments where drinking behaviors are more likely to be promoted.




Heterogeneous Effects of Alcohol on Dopamine Release in the Striatum: A PET Study

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles).

A dopaminergic response to alcohol in humans has not been demonstrated consistently with positron emission tomography (PET). We hypothesized that the effect of alcohol on striatal dopamine (DA) release may be anatomically heterogeneous between subjects.

Our approach was to identify voxels that exhibited alcohol-induced DA responses within the striatum, and to determine the relationships between DA responses and alcohol-related behavior.

Data from the striatal ΔBP maps nevertheless showed that the anatomic extent and magnitude of alcohol-induced DA release in the striatum are correlated with subjective responses to alcohol.

The heterogeneity of dopaminergic responses to alcohol across subjects may be a reason for the lack of reports demonstrating DA involvement in alcohol-related behaviors. By allowing for different spatial patterns of DA release within each subject's striata, we showed correlations between alcohol-induced DA release in the striata and behavioral outcomes related to alcohol.




Drug statistics series no. 18

This report is the twelfth in a series originally titled Statistics on Drug Abuse in Australia. The report provides a comprehensive summary of major drug use statistical collections, with references to sources of more detailed information. It also serves as the 'companion document' to the National Drug Strategy 2004-2009.

Data are presented on patterns of drug use, international comparisons, drugs and health, special population groups, and crime and law enforcement. New to this edition is a feature on methamphetamine use, drug use among prisoners and juvenile offenders, and alcohol use among those in the workforce.

This report and others in the Drug Statistics Series are useful resources for policy-makers, planners and researchers interested in drug-related matters.

Key findings


• In 2004, 9% of Australians drank daily, 41% drank weekly and 34% drank less than

• This pattern has remained relatively unchanged over the period 1991 to 2004.

• In 2004, 35% of Australians drank alcohol at levels considered risky or high risk for
short-term harm and 10% at levels considered risky or high risk for long-term harm.

Care of Adults With Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders in U.S. Community Hospitals, 2004 HCUP Fact Book No. 10

This Fact Book examines community hospital care for adults 18 years of age and older with mental health and substance abuse MHSA diagnoses. Community hospitals are non-Federal, short-term (or acute care) general and specialty hospitals. They include any type of hospital that is open to the public, such as academic medical centers, medical specialty hospitals, and public hospitals, but they do not include specialty psychiatric or substance abuse treatment facilities.

This Fact Book provides an overview of hospital stays involving MHSA disorders and addresses these key questions:

  • What are the common reasons for hospitalization, by type and diagnosis?
  • How do stays vary by gender and age?
  • How are patients admitted to the hospital?
  • What is the mean length of stay?
  • How much do hospital stays cost?
  • What percentage of hospital resource use is attributable to MHSA disorders?
  • Who is billed for hospital stays?
  • Where do patients go after they are discharged?

In addition, this Fact Book presents detailed statistics on three special topics related to MHSA hospitalizations:

  • Dual diagnosis stays (i.e., the patient has both a substance-related and a mental health disorder).
  • Stays related to suicide or attempted suicide.
  • Maternal stays complicated by a mental health or substance abuse disorder.

Eleven mutually exclusive categories of MHSA disorders are examined in this Fact Book:

  • Mood disorders.
  • Substance-related disorders.
  • Delirium, dementia, and amnestic and cognitive disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
  • Personality disorders.
  • Adjustment disorders.
  • Disruptive behavior disorders.
  • Impulse control disorders.
  • Disorders usually diagnosed in infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
  • Miscellaneous mental disorders.

Contributor: Don Phillips

Hispanic Female Admissions in Substance Abuse Treatment,


  • Female Hispanic admissions comprise about 10% (61,000 admissions) of the female substance abuse treatment admissions reported to SAMHSA's 2005 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). Among female Hispanic admissions in SAMHSA's 2005 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), 41% were of Mexican origin, 24% were Puerto Rican, 4% were Cuban, and 31% were Other Hispanic origin.
  • Hispanic female admissions were less likely than nonHispanic female admissions to substance abuse treatment to report alcohol as their primary drug of abuse (23% vs. 32%).
  • Hispanic female admissions were more likely than nonHispanic female admissions to substance abuse treatment to report stimulants as their primary drug of abuse (21% vs. 12%).
  • The primary drug of abuse differed among the Hispanic origin groups of female admissions: Puerto Ricans (43%) and Cubans (29%) were more likely to report opiates, Mexicans (35%) were more likely to report stimulants, and other Hispanic origins (23%) were more likely to report alcohol as their primary drug of abuse.
  • The average age at admission also varied among the Hispanic groups of female admissions in SAMHSA's Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS).

Reasons for increased substance use in psychosis
Clinical Psychology Review
Volume 27, Issue 4 , May 2007, Pages 494-510

Around half of all patients with schizophrenia are thought to abuse drugs or alcohol and there is good evidence to suggest that they have poorer outcomes than their non substance using counterparts.

This paper provides an update of the literature examining the reasons for substance use by people with psychosis, and includes a comprehensive review of the self report literature. The main theories as to why people with psychosis use substances are presented.

The self report literature provides support for an ‘alleviation of dysphoria’ model of substance use but there is little empirical support for the self medication hypothesis, or for common factor models and bidirectional models of comorbidity.

It is likely that there are multiple risk factors involved in substance use in psychosis and more work to develop and test multiple risk factor models is required.




Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New funding for Tackling Underage Sales of Alcohol Campaign (TUSAC)

In October 2006, the Police Standards Unit coordinated an intelligence led Tackling Underage Sales of Alcohol Campaign (TUSAC) across 27 BCUs in 16 Forces. The aim was to further target the illegal sale of alcohol to young people and to increase the use of the review process to maximise the impact of licensing legislation in controlling the irresponsible retailing of alcohol.

As a result, a significant number of premises had their licences suspended for periods of up to 3 months and additional conditions being imposed upon their licence. Building upon the success of this campaign, the Police Standards Unit with support from ACPO and LACORS is coordinating and funding a national TUSAC in 2007.


Contributor: Libby Ranzetta

Global Approaches: The 4th International Conference on the History of Alcohol and Drugs, August 10-12, 2007, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Preliminary Agenda:

  • Alcohol and Social Change
  • Medical Discourses

  • Images and Cultures of Consumption
  • Alcohol and Drug History and Medical History: A Roundtable
  • Changing Approaches to Treatment
  • Business and Prohibition
  • Alcohol Regulation in Canada

  • Class, Race, and Gender
  • Trading Alcohol and Drugs
  • State Power, People Power: Comparative Exploration of Efforts to Eradicate Heroin/Opium in Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines.
  • Temperance Movements Across Times and Places
  • Drugs and Morality
  • Drugs, Alcohol and Modernization
  • Drug Consumption and Drug Policy in Post-WW II America
  • Nationalism, Modernization and Narcotic Control
  • Science, Temperance, and Civic Society on the Periphery
  • Print and Advertising

Further information about the conference, including registration information and a full
programe is available here.

Source: Alcohol and Drug History Society


CSPI: Tell Congress: Increase Alcohol Taxes, Don't Cut Them

April 10, 2007

Action Alert

Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
1875 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20009
Tel: (202) 332-9110 | Fax: (202) 265-4954

Big Beer is at it again, pushing a self-serving bill (H.R. 1610) to enrich its bottom line by slashing the federal excise tax on beer by 50%, to its 1951 level!

Please urge your legislator to stand up to the beer lobby by opposing this bill. Ask him or her instead to consider a well-justified increase in alcohol taxes to provide needed funds for children's health care and other domestic spending priorities.

Beer-industry representatives will be in Washington, D.C. this month hoping to cash in on some $3.3 million in campaign contributions during the last election cycle and add co-sponsors to the beer-tax rollback bill.

Please encourage your Representative to oppose H.R. 1610 and instead support a long over-due increase in the federal excise tax on beer and all alcoholic beverages as a just and available revenue source to fund essential health care programs.

Take action

Contributor: Peggy Seo Oba


When the Cure Is Not Worth the Cost

Op-Ed Contributor


Published: April 11, 2007

ON its face, providing equal coverage for mental and physical illnesses sounds like a good idea, something only a managed-care bean counter could oppose. To that end, Representatives Jim Ramstad, Republican of Minnesota, and Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, have introduced the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act.

Named for the senator who was long an advocate for mental health “parity,” it would require that private insurers pay for as much treatment for mental illnesses and addiction as they do for physical illnesses.

Senators Ted Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Pete Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, have introduced a similar bill in the Senate. President Bush has said he will sign the legislation if it passes.

Unfortunately, this change would not be as benign as it appears. Unless mental health parity is tied to evidence-based treatment and positive outcomes, generous benefits may become a profit bonanza for providers that does little to help patients.


Contributor: Don Phillips


The Quarterly Review of Alcohol Research
Spring 2007 Volume 15 Number 1

The Portman Group publishes The Quarterly Review of Alcohol Research in order to provide people interested in the psycho-social and biomedical aspects of alcohol consumption with a regular, easily-digested summary of recent research in the field.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Violence-related injury and the price of beer in England and Wales

Applied Economics, 2006, 38, 661–670

The paper examines the influence of the real price of beer on violence related injuries across the economic regions in England and Wales

It is shown that the rate of violence-related injury is negatively related to the real price of beer, as well as economic, sporting and socio-demographic factors.

The principal conclusion of the paper is that the regional distribution of the incidence of violent injury is related to the regional distribution of the price of beer.

The major policy conclusion is that increased alcohol prices would result in substantially fewer violent injuries and reduced demand on trauma services.


Link to
Violence & Society Research Group

Addiction and Recovery News

Europeans support alcohol health warnings to protect vulnerable groups

Health & Consumer Voice - March - 2007 Edition

Seventy-seven percent of Europeans agree with putting warnings on alcohol bottles and adverts in order to warn pregnant women and drivers of the dangers of alcohol. This was revealed in a special Eurobarometer on alcohol presented on 14 March. The survey shows that European public opinion is mostly supportive of measures aimed at protecting vulnerable groups in society and at reducing alcohol-related road accidents.


CONTRIBUTOR: Philippe Arvers

28.02.2007 February 28, 2007
7 No. 7

I, the Chief Sanitary Doctor in the Russian Federation, after the morbidity and mortality population of the Russian Federation and materials state supervision of the manufacture of and trafficking in alcohol, to say the following.

В стране сохраняется высокий уровень заболеваемости алкоголизмом.The country continues to experience high levels of morbidity alcoholism. В 2005 году количество больных алкоголизмом составило 2 348 567 человек, показатель распространенности алкоголизма, в том числе алкогольными психозами, составил 1654,0 на 100 тыс.In 2005, the number of alcohol in 2348 was 567 persons, the level of alcohol, including alcohol schizophrenia was 1654.0 per 100,000 населения.population.

Кризисный характер сложившейся алкогольной ситуации в настоящее время проявляется, прежде всего, в высоких темпах прироста потребления алкоголя.Crisis of the alcohol situation, there is, first and foremost, in the high rates of alcohol consumption. Согласно данным Госкомстата России, потребление учтенного алкоголя на душу населения в стране выросло с 5,38 л.According to Goskomstat Russia, consumption accounted alcohol per capita in the country has increased from 5.38 litres. абсолютного алкоголя в 1990 г. до 9,7 л.absolute alcohol in 1990 to 9.7 litres. в 2005 г., или в 1,8 раза.in 2005, or 1.8 times.

Кроме того, в последние годы в объемах потребления алкоголя значительное место занимают спиртосодержащие жидкости «двойного назначения» (парфюмерно-косметиче ская продукция, товары бытовой химии и др.).Moreover, in recent years, the volume of alcohol consumption significant component of the liquid alcohol (парфюмерно-косметиче ская products, goods household chemicals, etc.).

По ориентировочным данным реальное душевое потребление алкоголя в России составляет около 15 л.According to the real per capita alcohol consumption in Russia was about 15 litres. абсолютного алкоголя.absolute alcohol.
. . . . .
The organs of state power of the Russian Federation are not taken effective measures to prevent the illicit production and trafficking in alcohol, the incidence of alcoholism and the number of deaths from alcohol poisoning, a wide-scale awareness of the negative effects of alcohol abuse.

Interventions to reduce harm associated with adolescent substance use

The Lancet Early Online Publication, 27 March 2007

A major proportion of the disease burden and deaths for young people in developed nations is attributable to misuse of alcohol and illicit drugs. Patterns of substance use established in adolescence are quite stable and predict chronic patterns of use, mortality, and morbidity later in life.

We integrated findings of systematic reviews to summarise evidence for interventions aimed at prevention and reduction of harms related to adolescent substance use.

Evidence of efficacy was available for developmental prevention interventions that aim to prevent onset of harmful patterns in settings such as vulnerable families, schools, and communities, and universal strategies to reduce attractiveness of substance use.

Regulatory interventions aim to increase perceived costs and reduce availability and accessibility of substances. Increasing price, restricting settings of use, and raising legal purchase age are effective in reducing use of alcohol and tobacco and related harms.

Screening and brief intervention are efficacious, but efficacy of a range of treatment approaches has not been reliably established. Harm-reduction interventions are effective in young people involved in risky and injecting substance use.


An Anti-Addiction Pill
THE NEW YORK T I M E S MAG A Z I N E / JUNE 25 , 2 0 0 6

By Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Last month [May 2006 see On Addiction], the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was host to a conference about addiction for a small, invitation-only crowd of neuroscientists, clinicians and public policy makers. It was an unusual gathering. Addiction conferences are usually sober affairs, but M.I.T. offered a lavish cocktail reception (with an open bar, no less). More important, the conference was a celebration of the new ways scientists and addiction researchers are conceptualizing, and seeking to treat, addiction. While many in the treatment field have long called addiction a ‘‘disease,’’ they’ve used the word in vague and metaphorical ways, meaning everything from a disease of the mind to a disease of the spirit. Many assumed that an addict suffers from a brain-chemistry problem, but scientists had not been able to peer into our heads to begin to prove it.

Now they can, using advances in brain-imaging technology. And they tend to agree on what they see, although not necessarily on how to fix it: addiction — whether to alcohol, to drugs or even to behaviors like gambling — appears to be a complicated disorder affecting brain processes responsible for motivation, decision making, pleasure seeking, inhibitory control and the way we learn and consolidate information and experiences.

This new research, in turn, is fueling a vast effort by scientists and pharmaceutical companies to develop medications and vaccines to treat addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are studying, or financing studies on, more than 200 addiction medications.


Monday, April 9, 2007


May 7-8, 2006

The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory presented On Addiction, a major symposium that examined new ways of thinking about addiction and its underlying causes. Moderated by Ira Flatow, of National Public Radio's Science Friday, the symposium will brought together neuroscientists, clinicians, patients, and representatives from the health care industry in an exchange of ideas that might lead to better prevention, and treatment of addiction.

On Addiction
is the second installment of the Picower Institute's Open Mind Series, which will explore the possibility that insights gained by neuroscientists who are studying learning and memory mechanisms in the brain might be usefully applied to problems of great societal importance.

The final symposium will focus on the aging brain. The Open Mind Series is sponsored by CIGNA.


Kenya: Time is Ripe for a National Alcohol Policy
The East African Standard (Nairobi)

Samson Misango

Adults have many responsibilities in life - paying school fees, working and providing for their families, among others.Adults also make many the decision whether to drink alcohol. If taken in moderation, alcohol is relaxing and enjoyable - but for adults. For children, however, drinking is a serious risk. Underage drinking is something we just cannot ignore.



Advocacy Coalitions and the Internationalization of Public Health Policies

Journal of Public Policy , 27: 13-33 18 Jan 2007

This article looks at the impact of multilevel governance structures on state-society relations. It contends that rather than focusing on relations between state actors and societal actors, it is more useful to look at shifts between competing advocacy coalitions in a given issue area.

It argues that the impact of multilevel governance structures on domestic advocacy coalitions depends on the political opportunity structure provided at the international level, the types of policy outputs international institutions can deliver, and the extent to which members of an advocacy coalition have the organizational capacities to be active at the international level.

These factors are explored in two cases of public health policy: anti-smoking policy and alcoholism policy. Moreover, both cases show that multilevel governance structures offer better opportunities for challengers than for defenders of the domestic status quo.


It wasn’t me, it was them!” Social influence in risky behavior by adolescents
Journal of Health Economics
Article in Press, Corrected Proof 26 Dec 2006

Many years of concerted policy effort in Western countries has not prevented young people from experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. One potential explanation is that social interactions make consumption “sticky”.

We use detailed panel data from the Add Health survey to examine risky behavior (the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and marijuana) by American adolescents.

We find that, even controlling for school fixed effects, these behaviors are correlated with lagged peer group behavior. Peer group effects are strongest for alcohol use, and young males are more influential than young females.

Last, we present some evidence of non-linearities in social interactions.



Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Substance Use Disorders, Second Edition

The Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Substance Use Disorders, 2nd Edition, consists of three parts (A, B, and C) and many sections, not all of which will be equally useful for all readers. The following guide is designed to help readers find the sections that will be most useful to them.

Part A, “Treatment Recommendations for Patients With Substance Use Disorders,” is published as a supplement to The American Journal of Psychiatry and contains general and specific treatment recommendations.

Section I summarizes the key recommendations of the guideline and codes each recommendation according to the degree of clinical confidence with which the recommendation is made.

Section II, “General Treatment Principles,” provides a general discussion of the formulation and implementation of a treatment plan as it applies to the individual patient. Section II.G, “Clinical Features Influencing Treatment,” discusses a range of clinical considerations that could alter the general recommendations discussed in Section I. Sections III, IV, V, VI, and VII provide specific recommendations for the treatment of patients with nicotine-, alcohol-, marijuana-, cocaine-, and opioid-related disorders, respectively.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Region-specific down-regulation of Crhr1 gene expression in alcohol-preferring msP rats following ad lib access to alcohol
Addiction Biology 12 (1), 30–34.

Corticotropin-releasing hormone 1 receptors (CRH-R1) mediate increased behavioral sensitivity to stress and excessive alcohol self-administration following a history of dependence.

It was recently demonstrated that the genetically selected alcohol-preferring msP rat line replicates many characteristics of the post-dependent state, due to an innate up-regulation of the Crhr1 transcript in several limbic areas related to alcohol drinking motivation.

Here, we examined whether voluntary alcohol consumption might be able to down-regulate Crhr1 transcript levels in msP rats in brain areas where elevated expression previously has been shown.

Within central and medial amygdala (CeA, MeA), as well as the Nc. Accumbens, 2 weeks’ ad lib access to alcohol led to a highly significant down-regulation of the Crhr1 transcript. Alcohol-induced Crhr1 down-regulation was not seen in cingulate cortex.

These data support that recruitment of CRH-R1 signaling within components of the extended amygdala drives excessive alcohol intake, and that alcohol is voluntarily consumed in part for its ability to reduce CRH-R1 activity in this region.