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, June 6, 2009

5th Annual Search for Mechanisms of Change in Altering Addictive Behavior








Saturday June 20, 2009
32nd Annual Research Society on Alcoholism Conference
San Diego, California

Topics for the day’s session
  • Studying social networks and behavior change.

  • Longitudinal design and analysis in the study of mechanisms of change.

  • How to effectively address mechanisms of change in grant applications.

  • Update on current NIAAA priorities and future funding opportunities for mechanisms of change research.

  • Informal roundtable discussion is open to all participants.

  • Invited Speakers Include: Nicholas Christakis, Robert Stout, Katie Witkiewitz, Kevin Lynch, Richard Longabaugh, J. Scott Tonigan, and Mark Willenbring.


On Drinking Styles and Race: A Consideration of the Socio-Structural Determinants of Alcohol Use Behavior
Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, Volume 8, Issue2 April 2009 , pages 146 - 162

The current study contributes to the theoretical literature on alcohol use and race. We use logistic regression models which suggest race and attitudes pertaining to race relations matter in predicting non-binge drinking and abstinence behavior.

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Alcohol Expectancies as a Mediator of the Relation Between Impulsivity and Alcohol Consumption in Asian Americans
Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, Volume 8, Issue 2 April 2009 , pages 178 - 200

Results showed that positive alcohol expectancies fully mediated the pathway between dimensions of impulsivity and alcohol use for Asian Americans. For Caucasian participants, only impulsivity predicted alcohol use. Future research on alcohol use and abuse by Asian Americans should consider the role of alcohol expectancies in different social contexts.

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Social status, gender and alcohol-related problems: the black young adult experience
Ethnicity & Health Early View 3 June 2009

While blacks are not as engaged in risky/heavy drinking, they are not shielded from problems conditional on drinking patterns. Focus on alcohol-related problems among black males and unemployed is indicated.

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Tapping Fright, Hope For Drinking Warnings
By Susan Kinzie Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 6, 2009

When a University of Virginia class got the assignment -- create an ad campaign to keep students from drinking too much -- students knew two things right away.

First, it would be incredibly difficult. Binge drinking by college students has changed very little over the past couple of decades, despite millions of dollars in advertising and countless other efforts to combat it. . . . . . .


Friday, June 5, 2009

Treatment for Alcohol Dependence in Catalonia: Health Outcomes and Stability of Drinking Patterns over 20 Years in 850 Patients
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on June 2, 2009

Over the long-term, abstinence is the most frequent and stable drinking outcome achieved and is associated with fewer problems and better psychosocial functioning. Controlled drinking is rarely achieved and sustained. Women appear to do better than men in the long term.

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A Preliminary Study of the Population-Adjusted Effectiveness of Substance Abuse Prevention Programming: Towards Making IOM Program Types Comparable
The Journal of Primary Prevention Volume 30, Number 2 / March, 2009
pp. 89-107

A meta-analysis was performed on 43 studies of 25 programs to examine program comparability across IOM categories. When examining unadjusted effect sizes at the individual level, universal programs were modestly more successful in reducing tobacco use, but selective and indicated programs were modestly more successful in reducing alcohol and marijuana use. When adjusted to the population level, the average effect sizes for selective and indicated programs were reduced by approximately half. At the population level, universal programs were more successful in reducing tobacco and marijuana use and selective and indicated programs were more successful in reducing alcohol use.

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Temperance, alcohol, and the American evangelical: a reassessment
Addiction Volume 104 Issue 7, Pages 1075 - 1084

Abstinence from alcohol is a way of life for many American evangelicals, with rates of abstention running at over 70% among some Pentecostal denominations.

This paper examines the religious beliefs that, historically, have supported teetotalism. The most notable of these is Christian perfection, a doctrine that originated in 18th-century England, that was then radicalized in America in the early 19th century. Abstinence from alcohol is highest among denominations that make Christian perfection the cornerstone of their teachings, and lowest among those that discount human agency.

The paper also argues that 19th-century American evangelicals were by no means committed uniformly to temperance as a way of life, and that this was especially true of the various Methodist churches.

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Genetic and non-genetic influences on the development of co-occurring alcohol problem use and internalizing symptomatology in adolescence: a review
Addiction Volume 104 Issue 7, Pages 1100 - 1121

Externalizing disorders, family alcohol problems and stress, as well as the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) S-allele, the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) low-activity alleles and the dopamine D2 receptor (DDR2) Taq A1 allele have been associated most frequently with both traits. An increasing number of papers are focusing upon the role of gene–gene (epistasis) and gene–environment interactions in the development of comorbid alcohol problem use and internalizing symptomatology.
Further research in adolescents is warranted; the increasing availability of large longitudinal genetically informative studies will provide the evidence base from which effective prevention and intervention strategies for comorbid alcohol problems and internalizing symptomatology can be developed

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Bayes' Theorem to estimate population prevalence from Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores
Addiction Volume 104 Issue 7, Pages 1132 - 1137

Important information on the probable differences in real world prevalence and impact of prevention and treatment programmes can be produced by applying Bayes' Theorem to studies where diagnostic outcome measures are used. However, the usefulness of this approach relies upon good information on the accuracy of such diagnostic measures for target conditions.

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Binge drinking and depressive symptoms: a 5-year population-based cohort study
Addiction Volume 104 Issue 7, Pages 1168 - 1178

This study supports the hypothesis that heavy drinking, and in particular a binge pattern involving intoxications, hangovers or pass-outs, produces depressive symptoms in the general population. The frequency of hangovers was the best predictor for depressive symptoms.

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The longitudinal association between multiple substance use discrepancies and marital satisfaction
Addiction Volume 104 Issue 7, Pages 1201 - 1209

Patterns of substance use among newly married couples are important predictors of changes in marital functioning over time. It was not simply the heavy alcohol use or cigarette smoking that predicted dissatisfaction but, rather, differences between husbands' and wives' substance use that impacted the relationship.

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The role of drunken older siblings and drunken peers in the alcohol–violence nexus
The European Journal of Public Health Advance Access published online on May 29, 2009

The present study confirmed the occurrence of cumulative risk processes and demonstrated that excessive alcohol consumption among older siblings and peers represents a crucial contextual factor for the link between adolescents’ risky drinking and violence and delinquency. For prevention, the findings suggest that a focus on peers alone may not be effective if the familial background is not taken into consideration.

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Alcohol and pregnancy message

The documents and emails released to the applicant on 4 June 2009, relate to the policy process, in 2006/7, by which the UK Chief Medical Officers decided to have a single message on alcohol and pregnancy, and what that message should be. The papers explore different options for the wording of the message on alcohol and pregnancy, including a shorter message to be printed on alcohol containers.

The current published alcohol and pregnancy message which emerged from the 2006 policy development process in question is as follows:
'As a general rule, pregnant women or women trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol. If they do choose to drink, to protect the baby they should not drink more than 1 to 2 units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk.

This advice can be summarised (for example, on containers of alcohol) as: "Avoid alcohol while pregnant or trying to conceive" '.

Download Document pack 1 (PDF, 5173K)

Download Document pack 2 (PDF, 5120K)

Download Document pack 3 (PDF, 3417K)

Download Document pack 4 (PDF, 3730K)

Download Document pack 5 (PDF, 2825K)

Download Document pack 6 (PDF, 1993K)

Minimum Alcohol Pricing: A targeted measure?

This review identifies significant concerns with the evidence base behind the case for minimum alcohol pricing, and shows that the economic case for the introduction of minimum alcohol pricing in the United Kingdom appears to be weak.

This report, which was commissioned by SABMiller plc, reviews the evidence base behind the case for minimum pricing, and provides an assessment of the potential costs and benefits to consumers, firms and wider society of the introduction of such a policy.

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Housing First for Homeless Persons with Active Addiction: Are We Overreaching?
Milbank Quarterly Volume 87 Issue 2, Pages 495 - 534

This article suggests that the current research data are not sufficient to identify an optimal housing and rehabilitation approach for an important homeless subgroup. The research regarding Housing First and linear approaches can be strengthened in several ways, and policymakers should be cautious about generalizing the results of available Housing First studies to persons with active addiction when they enter housing programs.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Health from the 2006-2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health

This report presents State estimates for 23 measures of substance use or mental health problems based on the 2006 and 2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs) and determines whether changes in these measures between 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 are statistically significant.

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Discussion on the Prevention and Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders and Health Reform

As you know, health reform is a priority for the Obama Administration. As requested by the Department of Health and Human Services, we have sought your input regarding health system reform. Over the past several months you have shared your thoughts with us on how to bring the best possible prevention, health promotion, early intervention, treatment, and recovery services to people in need. This dialogue, as promised, resulted in a document titled Ensuring U.S. Health Reform Includes Prevention and Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders – A Framework for Discussion: Core Consensus Principles. A copy of the Core Consensus Principles is attached. At this time we believe it is important to get back together to discuss briefly the Principles; to inform you about the various pieces of legislation being discussed by Congress and the Administration; and most importantly to continue the dialogue.

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Monday, June 08, 2009, 1:00:00 PMTime displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local

Drinking Nation
Yesterday, 22:33 Alina Pastukhova, Kyiv Post Staff Writer

Alcohol abuse and addiction take a heavy toll on the nation’s health, longevity and productivity. Drinking starts early and the beer and booze are cheap.

The sight of teenagers drinking beer, champagne or even vodka in public places – often with cigarettes dangling from their mouths – has become so commonplace that many adults in Ukraine don’t even give the young drinkers a second look.

But public health advocates believe that more adults – including the nation’s lawmakers – should be paying closer attention. They say the nation as a whole needs to take a hard look in the mirror at its culture of drinking. . . . . . .

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Trampoline injuries
BMJ 2009;338:b2197

We note that children have been hurt while being supervised or bouncing with adults who have been drinking at a summer garden party, for example. Adults, please note that lager, wine, and trampolines do not mix.

Adolescent ethanol experience alters immediate and long-term behavioral responses to ethanol odor in observer and demonstrator rats.
Behavioral and Brain Functions 2009, 5:23

In contrast to previous studies showing odor aversivion following acute ethanol intoxication, within the context of the social transmission paradigm, adolescent demonstrators like observers showed an enhanced behavioral response to ethanol odor. The differential enhanced odor response between observers and demonstrators, despite similar net enhancements relative to controls, suggests the presence of a stress effect from the infusion technique. This finding contrasts previous suggestions that intragastric infusions create minimal stress: an important consideration when conducting ethanol research. This stress effect appears to ameliorate by adulthood

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The burden of alcohol-related ill health in the United Kingdom
Journal of Public Health Advance Access published online on June 3, 2009

We estimate that alcohol consumption was responsible for 31 000 deaths in the UK in 2005 and that alcohol consumption cost the UK NHS £3.0 billion in 2005–06. Alcohol consumption was responsible for 10% of all disability adjusted life years in 2002 (male: 15%; female: 4%) in the UK.

Alcohol consumption is a considerable public health burden in the UK. The comparison of the health and economic burden of various lifestyle factors is essential in prioritizing and resourcing public health action.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Self-Assessment of Drinking on the Internet—3-, 6- and 12-Month Follow-Ups
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on January 16, 2009

At 3, 6 and 12 months, 78%, 69% and 61% of the study participants, respectively, responded to the follow-up. The intention-to-treat (ITT) results revealed significant reductions in all the outcome measures. The reductions occurred during the first 3 months, after which the changes were non-significant

The results are inline with previous studies with mostly shorter follow-up periods suggesting that Internet-based self-assessment services can be useful tools in reducing excessive drinking. A randomized controlled trial would, however, increase our certainty about the causes of the observed changes.

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Predicting Successful Treatment Outcome of Web-Based Self-help for Problem Drinkers: Secondary Analysis From a Randomized Controlled Trial
J Med Internet Res 2008;10(4):e46

Although female and more highly educated users appeared slightly more likely to derive benefit from the Drinking Less intervention, none of the baseline characteristics we studied persuasively predicted a favorable treatment outcome.

The Web-based intervention therefore seems well suited for a heterogeneous group of problem drinkers and could hence be offered as a first-step treatment in a stepped-care approach directed at problem drinkers in the general population.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Selective reduction of alcohol drinking in Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats by a sigma-1 receptor antagonist
Psychopharmacology nline First 14 May 2009

The results implicate the Sig-1R system in alcohol drinking, identifying a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of alcohol use disorders

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The role of GABAA receptors in the acute and chronic effects of ethanol: a decade of progress
Psychopharmacology Online First 20 May 2009

The past decade has brought many advances in our understanding of GABAA receptor-mediated ethanol action in the central nervous system. We now know that specific GABAA receptor subtypes are sensitive to ethanol at doses attained during social drinking while other subtypes respond to ethanol at doses attained by severe intoxication.

Furthermore, ethanol increases GABAergic neurotransmission through indirect effects, including the elevation of endogenous GABAergic neuroactive steroids, presynaptic release of GABA, and dephosphorylation of GABAA receptors promoting increases in GABA sensitivity. Ethanol’s effects on intracellular signaling also influence GABAergic transmission in multiple ways that vary across brain regions and cell types.

The effects of chronic ethanol administration are influenced by adaptations in GABAA receptor function, expression, trafficking, and subcellular localization that contribute to ethanol tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal hyperexcitability. Adolescents exhibit altered sensitivity to ethanol actions, the tendency for higher drinking and longer lasting GABAergic adaptations to chronic ethanol administration.

The elucidation of the mechanisms that underlie adaptations to ethanol exposure are leading to a better understanding of the regulation of inhibitory transmission and new targets for therapies to support recovery from ethanol withdrawal and alcoholism.

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The impact of dietary and lifestyle risk factors on risk of colorectal cancer: A quantitative overview of the epidemiological evidence
International Journal of Cancer Volume 125 Issue 1, Pages 171 - 180

The risk of colorectal cancer was significantly associated with alcohol: individuals consuming the most alcohol had 60% greater risk of colorectal cancer compared with non- or light drinkers (relative risk 1.56, 95% CI 1.42-1.70). Smoking, diabetes, obesity and high meat intakes were each associated with a significant 20% increased risk of colorectal cancer (compared with individuals in the lowest categories for each) with little evidence of between-study heterogeneity or publication bias. Physical activity was protective against colorectal cancer.

Public-health strategies that promote modest alcohol consumption, smoking cessation, weight loss, increased physical activity and moderate consumption of red and processed meat are likely to have significant benefits at the population level for reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer.

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The All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse - Report on the Future of Alcohol Treatment

The Inquiry into the Future of Alcohol Treatment Services was called by the All Party Group in 2008 to investigate and understand the current state of alcohol treatment services in England and their future. Specifically, the APPG focused on whether and how recent policy developments have made an impact on treatment delivery, what the challenges are for a range of people working in the system and which actions need to be taken to widen access and place the system on a stable and sustainable footing.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Impairment of Cognitive Abilities and Decision Making after Chronic Use of Alcohol: The Impact of Multiple Detoxifications
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on June 1, 2009

Our results provide additional evidence for cognitive impairment of alcohol-dependent patients with regard to tasks sensitive to frontal lobe function and underline the importance of abstinence for these impairments to recover. We found only little evidence for the impairing effects of repeated withdrawal on prefrontal function and we suggest that executive function is affected earlier in dependence.

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Role of GABRA2 in Trajectories of Externalizing Behavior Across Development and Evidence of Moderation by Parental Monitoring
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(6):649-657.

Two classes of externalizing behavior emerged: a stable high externalizing class and a moderate decreasing externalizing behavior class. The GABRA2 gene was associated with class membership, with subjects who showed persistent elevated trajectories of externalizing behavior more likely to carry the genotype previously associated with increased risk of adult alcohol dependence. A significant interaction with parental monitoring emerged; the association of GABRA2 with externalizing trajectories diminished with high levels of parental monitoring.

These analyses underscore the importance of studying genetic effects across development and of identifying environmental factors that moderate risk.

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Environmental Adversity and Increasing Genetic Risk for Externalizing Disorders
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(6):640-648.

In the context of environmental adversity, genetic factors become more important in the etiology of externalizing disorders. The consistency of the results further suggests a general mechanism of environmental influence on externalizing disorders regardless of the specific form of the environmental risk.

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Differences in the measured alcohol content of drinks between black, white and Hispanic men and women in a US national sample
Addiction Published Online: 11 May 2009

Black men were found to have the largest overall mean drink alcohol content at 0.79 oz (23 ml) of alcohol. This was significantly larger than the mean for white men or for black women and added 30% to black men's monthly alcohol intake when applied to their reported number of drinks. Spirits drinks were found to be particularly large for men. Multivariate models indicated that drink alcohol content differences are attributable more to income and family structure differences than to unmeasured cultural factors tied to race or ethnicity per se. Models predicting alcohol-related consequences and dependence indicate that adjusting drink alcohol content improves model fit and reduces differences between race/ethnicity defined groups.

Differences in drink alcohol content by gender, race/ethnicity and beverage type choice should be considered in comparisons of drinking patterns and alcohol-related outcomes. Observed differences can be explained partially by measured characteristics regarding family structure and income.

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The Health and Economic Consequences of Moderate Alcohol Consumption in Germany 2002
Value in Health Volume 12 Issue 2, Pages 253 - 261

Despite considerable uncertainty, moderate alcohol consumption seems to result in an overall net effect of gained lives, YPL, and QALYs, realized among the elderly, but overall increased societal costs. Thus, moderate alcohol consumption should still be seen critical, especially among youths.

Effects of a low dose of alcohol on cognitive biases and craving in heavy drinkers
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 March; 197(1): 169–178.

A low alcohol dose increased most measures of appetitive motivation for alcohol and increased the interrelation between cognitive measures of this construct.

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The role of socioeconomic indicators on non-alcohol and alcohol-associated suicide mortality among women in Finland. A register-based follow-up study of 12 million person-years
Social Science & Medicine Article in Press, 34 May 2009

Low social class proved to be an important determinant of suicide risk, but the strong independent effect of education on alcohol-associated suicide indicates that the roots of these differences are probably established in early adulthood when educational qualifications are obtained and health-behavioural patterns set.

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Alcohol Abuse and Illegal Drug Use Among Los Angeles County Trauma Patients: Prevalence and Evaluation of Single Item Screener.
Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care. 66(5):1461-1467, May 2009.

A large proportion of urban trauma patients abuse alcohol and use illegal drugs. Distinct sociodemographic and substance use history may indicate underlying risky behaviors. Interventions and injury prevention programs need to address these causal behaviors to reduce injury morbidity and recidivism. In the busy trauma care setting, a one-item screener could be helpful in identifying patients who would benefit from more thorough assessment and possible brief intervention.

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On the rocks
Warsaw Business Journal 1st June 2009

Sales of beer and liquor took a tumble in Q1

Poles have not turned to alcohol to drown their sorrows during the economic slowdown, as figures compiled by industry organizations noted a steep slide in sales. Spirit sales fell 28 percent y/y in the first quarter to 21.1 million liters. . . . . .

Predicting Treatment Seekers' Readiness to Change Their Drinking Behavior in the COMBINE Study
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Volume 33 Issue 5, Pages 879 - 892

This measure demonstrated good psychometric properties and results supported the independence as well as convergent and divergent validity of the measured constructs. Predictors of overall readiness and subscale scores indicate that a variety of personal and contextual factors contribute to treatment seekers' motivation to change in an understandable but complex manner.

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Research on the diffusion of evidence-based treatments within substance abuse treatment: A systematic review
Substance Abuse Abuse Treatment Volume 36, Issue 4, June 2009, Pages 376-399

This article provides a comprehensive review of research studies that have examined the diffusion of evidence-based treatments (EBTs) within the field of substance abuse treatment. Sixty-five research studies were identified and were grouped into one of three major classifications: attitudes toward EBTs, adoption of EBTs, and implementation of EBTs.

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Organizational contexts of primary care approaches for managing problem drinking
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment Volume 36, Issue 4, June 2009, Pages 435-445

Little is known about the organizational contexts associated with different primary care (PC) approaches to managing PC patients with drinking problems. Relying upon the Chronic Care Model and a theoretically based taxonomy of health care systems, we identified organizational factors distinguishing PC practices using PC-based approaches (managed by PC providers, mental health specialists, or jointly with specialty services) versus referral-based management in the Veterans Affairs health care system.

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Gender, acculturation, and other barriers to alcohol treatment utilization among Latinos in three National Alcohol Surveys
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment Volume 36, Issue 4, June 2009, Pages 446-456

Whereas men and women differed little on perceived barriers, analyses showed greater barriers among Spanish (vs. English) interviewees. Latina women's underutilization of alcohol treatment requires further research but may be partially explained by stigma. Associations between language of interview and treatment utilization imply a need for outreach and culturally sensitive programming.

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Outcomes from primary care management of alcohol dependence in France
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment Volume 36, Issue 4, June 2009, Pages 457-462

In this French sample, management by the general practitioners appears to be a positive predictor of outcome in alcohol dependence. Future research could (a) enlighten the relationship between detoxification and frequency or circumstances of the visits and (b) tell whether formal planned follow-up by general practice physicians could improve outcome in alcohol dependence.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Alcohol Alert No. 1 2009

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Really Underage Drinkers: The Epidemiology of Children’s Alcohol Use in the United States
Prev Sci. 2007 September; 8(3): 192–205.

Little attention has been paid to alcohol use by children aged 12 and younger. The present article summarizes findings on the prevalence of alcohol use from U.S. national and statewide surveys of children in grades 6 and younger based on reports located in searches of the literature and the intermnet.

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Alcohol consumption and decreased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: role of mTOR dysfunction
Blood, 28 May 2009, Vol. 113, No. 22, pp. 5526-5535.

Our data support a paradigm in which chronic ethanol exposure inhibits mTOR signaling in lymphocytes with a significant repression of cap-dependent translation, reducing the tumorigenic capacity of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a human xenograft model. The ethanol-mediated repression of mTOR signaling coupled with decreased in vivo lymphoma growth underscore the critical role of mTOR signaling and translation in lymphoma.

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Estimated Blood Alcohol Concentrations for Child and Adolescent Drinking and Their Implications for Screening Instruments
PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 6 June 2009, pp. e975-e981

Binge drinking should be defined as 3 drinks for 9- to 13-year-old children, as 4 drinks for boys and 3 drinks for girls 14 or 15 years of age, and as 5 drinks for boys and 3 drinks for girls 16 or 17 years of age.

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