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 9, 2007

As Women Rise, Corporate Korea Corks the Bottle


Published: June 10, 2007

SEOUL, South Korea — In a time-honored practice in South Korea’s corporate culture, the 38-year-old manager at an online game company took his 10-person team on twice-weekly after-work drinking bouts. He exhorted his subordinates to drink, including a 29-year-old graphic designer who protested that her limit was two glasses of beer.

“Either you drink or you get it from me tomorrow,” the boss told her one evening.

She drank, fearing that refusing to do so would hurt her career. But eventually, unable to take the drinking any longer, she quit and sued.
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Source: Barbara Leigh


Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Affects Frontal-Striatal BOLD Response During Inhibitory Control
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles) 9 June 2007

Prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to widespread cognitive impairment and behavioral dysregulation, including deficits in attention and response inhibition. This study characterized the neural substrates underlying the disinhibited behavioral profile of individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

Despite similar task performance (mean response latency, performance accuracy, and signal detection), blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response patterns differed by group.

Region-of-interest analyses revealed that during portions of the behavioral task that required response inhibition, alcohol-exposed participants showed greater BOLD response across prefrontal cortical regions (including the left medial and right middle frontal gyri), while they showed less right caudate nucleus activation, compared with control participants.

These data provide an account of response inhibition-related brain functioning in youth with FASD. Furthermore, results suggest that the frontal–striatal circuitry thought to mediate inhibitory control is sensitive to alcohol teratogenesis.

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Simplifying Alcohol Assessment: Two Questions to Identify Alcohol Use Disorders
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles). 9 June 2007

Previous work has validated a single question to screen for hazardous or harmful drinking, but identifying those patients who have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) among those who screen positive is still time consuming.

We therefore sought to develop and validate a brief assessment instrument using DSM-IV criteria for use in primary care medical practice.

Two constructs with promising test characteristics were identified: recurrent drinking in hazardous situations and drinking more than intended.

The sensitivity and specificity of these 2 items across 4 samples suggest that they could be formulated into 2 questions, potentially providing busy primary care clinicians with an efficient, reasonably accurate assessment instrument to identify AUD among those patients who screen positive with the single screening question.

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Effects of Drivers' License Suspension Policies on Alcohol-Related Crash Involvement: Long-Term Follow-Up in Forty-Six States
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles) 9 June 2007

We evaluated the effects of driving under the influence (DUI) mandatory preconviction and postconviction drivers' license suspension laws in each of 46 U.S. states using 1 to 2 decades of long-term follow-up data on fatal car crashes.

State-specific results were combined using meta-analytic techniques, and provide a direct test of the concept of celerity—time between offending behavior and consequent punishment—from deterrence theory.

Administrative or preconviction drivers license suspension policies have statistically significant and substantively important effects in reducing alcohol-related fatal crash involvement by 5%, representing at least 800 lives saved per year in the United States. Moreover, these laws have similar effects on drivers at all drinking levels—from lower-risk drivers below the legal alcohol limit to drivers at extreme levels of intoxication. In clear contrast, postconviction license suspension policies have no discernable effects.

The effectiveness of a deterrence policy appears to be more strongly affected by celerity—the speed by which punishment is applied after the offending behavior—than by the high severity of the penalty. This finding could be fruitfully applied to other areas of alcohol control policy and laws and regulations in general.

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Alcohol-Induced Disruption of Endocrine Signaling
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles). 9 June 2007

This article contains the proceedings of a symposium at the 2006 ISBRA Meeting in Sydney Australia, organized and cochaired by Martin J. Ronis and Thomas M. Badger.

The presentations were :

(1) Effect of Long-Term Ethanol Consumption on Liver Injury and Repair, by Jack R. Wands;

(2) Alcohol-Induced Insulin Resistance in Liver: Potential Roles in Regulation of ADH Expression, Ethanol Clearance, and Alcoholic Liver Disease, by Thomas M. Badger;

(3) Chronic Gestational Exposure to Ethanol Causes Brain Insulin and Insulin-Like Growth Factor Resistance, by Suzanne M de la Monte;

(4) Disruption of IGF-1 Signaling in Muscle: A Mechanism Underlying Alcoholic Myopathy, by Charles H. Lang;

(5) The Role of Reduced Plasma Estradiol and Impaired Estrogen Signaling in Alcohol-Induced Bone Loss, by Martin J. Ronis; and

(6) Short-Term Influence of Alcohol on Appetite-Regulating Hormones in Man, by Jan Calissendorff.

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Effect of ADH1B Genotype on Alcohol Consumption in Young Israeli Jews
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles). 9 June 2007

The alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) genotype affects the risk for alcoholism, with elevated prevalence of a protective allele in Jews. Alcohol consumption is increasing among younger Israeli Jews, reflecting environmental influences.

We investigated whether the relationship of ADH1B genotype with alcohol consumption differed between younger and older adult Israelis.

Maximum lifetime drinking among younger adult Israelis without genetic protection exceeded thresholds for risky and unsafe drinking (≥5 drinks).

Environmental influences promoting greater drinking among younger Israelis may particularly affect those with the nonprotective, more common ADH1B genotype.

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Polyphenolic Grape Extract Inhibits Platelet Activation Through PECAM-1: An Explanation for the French Paradox
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles). 9 June 2007

Moderate and prolonged consumption of red wine is associated with decreased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Inhibition of platelet functions by ingredients in red wine is thought to be one of the causes. However, the molecular mechanism of this inhibition has remained unexplained.

We measured aggregation, changes in cytosolic Ca2+ and tyrosine phosphorylation of the inhibitory receptor platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) in platelets stimulated with thrombin receptor (PAR-1) activating peptide (TRAP) and ADP and investigated the effects of alcohol-free polyphenolic grape extract (PGE), alcohol, and the polyphenols catechin, epi-catechin, resveratrol, trans-resveratrol, and gallic acid.

Polyphenolic grape extract induced dose-dependent inhibition of TRAP-induced and ADP-induced platelet aggregation and Ca2+ mobilization. Inhibition was accompanied by activation of PECAM-1. Apart from a slight inhibition by catechin, ethanol or other individual polyphenols failed to inhibit aggregation or activate PECAM-1.

Red wine inhibits platelet functions through its PGE content, which stimulates the inhibitory receptor PECAM-1, thereby attenuating platelet activation.

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A glimmer of hope for addicts

Gulf Daily News -The voice of Bahrain
Vol XXX No. 81 Saturday 9th June 2007

With campaigns continuing to combat smoking, drug abuse and alcoholism in Bahrain and worldwide, DEAN WILLIAMS examines the complexities of addiction. In 1931, an American businessman Rowland Hazard realised that his drinking was becoming a problem for himself and those around him.

So, seeking a solution, he travelled to Zurich, Switzerland where he consulted the renowned psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung.

After working with Hazard for a time, Jung told him that his alcoholic condition was near hopeless and only a spiritual experience held any hope of salvation.
. . . . .

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Announcing: The First Consult on Separating FASD from Co-Occurring Disorders

September 24th – 26th
Dumas Bay Retreat Center
Federal Way, Washington
Registration $125 (Parent Scholarships Available)

The purpose of this event is to develop FASD public policy recommendations for the Governor’ Mental Health Transformation project which will promote recovery and resiliency in individuals who have FASDMN and Co-Occurring Disorders. Because of the nature of this educational event, reservations are limited to adult individuals medically diagnosed with an FASD, parents of diagnosed children (of any age) and professionals and social service providers who have long term experience working to differentiate the FASD Behavioral Phenotype from other mental health conditions. For more information or to apply to be a consultant, contact Vicky McKinney at 800-999-3429 or e-mail her at Vicky@fetalalcoholsyndrome.

Contributor: Peggy Seo Oba
Effects of alcohol on psychomotor performance and perceived impairment in heavy binge social drinkers
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Article in Press, 8 June 2007

The present study utilized an alcohol challenge paradigm to examine whether heavy binge social drinkers, compared to light social drinkers , exhibit: (1) greater tolerance in psychomotor task performance under the influence of alcohol, and (2) differential perceptions of the impairing effects of alcohol.

Ethanol impaired performance at the high dose, but not at the low dose. The groups exhibited similar alcohol-induced impairment. However, HD reported lower self-perceived impairment compared to LD, particularly during the early portion of the blood alcohol curve when actual impairment was most pronounced.

Thus, this study extends prior research in that habitual binge social drinking does not appear to be associated with tolerance to alcohol's impairing effects on select psychomotor skills.

Further, results may have implications for alcohol-related harm as binge social drinkers regularly consume intoxicating doses of alcohol but may not be aware of the physical and cognitive impairments produced by alcohol.

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A randomized controlled trial of intensive referral to 12-step self-help groups: One-year outcomes
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Article in Press, 24 May 2007

This study implemented and evaluated procedures to help clinicians make effective referrals to 12-step self-help groups (SHGs).

In standard referral, patients received a schedule for local 12-step SHG meetings and were encouraged to attend. Intensive referral had the key elements of counselors linking patients to 12-step volunteers and using 12-step journals to check on meeting attendance.

Compared with patients who received standard referral, patients who received intensive referral were more likely to attend and be involved with 12-step groups during both the first and second six-month follow-up periods, and improved more on alcohol and drug use outcomes over the year.

The intensive referral intervention was associated with improved 12-step group attendance and involvement and substance use outcomes.

To most benefit patients, SUD treatment providers should focus 12-step referral procedures on encouraging broad 12-step group involvement, such as reading 12-step literature, doing service at meetings, and gaining self-identity as a SHG member.

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Behavioral and neuroeconomics of drug addiction: Competing neural systems and temporal discounting processes
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume 90, Supplement 1, September 2007, Pages S85-S91

We review behavioral- and neuroeconomic research that identifies temporal discounting as an important component in the development and maintenance of drug addiction.

First, we review behavioral economic research that explains and documents the contribution of temporal discounting to addiction. This is followed with recent insights from neuroeconomics that may provide an explanation of why drug-dependent individuals discount the future.

Specifically, neuroeconomics has identified two competing neural systems that are related to temporal discounting using brain-imaging techniques that examine the relative activation of different brain regions for temporal discounting. According to the competing neural systems account, choices for delayed outcomes are related to the prefrontal cortex (i.e., the “executive system”) and choices for immediate outcomes are related to the limbic brain regions (i.e., the “impulsive system”).

Temporal discounting provides a useful framework for future imaging research, and suggests a novel approach to designing effective drug dependence prevention and treatment programs.

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Education inequality and use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume 90, Supplement 1, September 2007, Pages S4-S15

Education inequality at the neighborhood-level may influence population health and health behavior. We assessed the relations between education inequality and substance use in 59 New York City (NYC) neighborhoods.

In multilevel models controlling for neighborhood education, neighborhood income inequality, and individual covariates, living in a neighborhood with high education inequality was associated with a greater prevalence of drinking and of smoking marijuana but among current drinkers it was associated with having fewer drinks.

The odds of alcohol use and marijuana use were greater in neighborhoods in the 75th percentile of education Gini compared to neighborhoods in the 25th percentile of education Gini.

These findings, taken together, suggest a complex relation between education inequality and substance use; likelihood of the use of alcohol and marijuana was higher in areas with higher education inequality suggesting potential roles for substance use norms and availability, whereas quantity used among drinkers was higher in areas with low education inequality, suggesting potential roles for both disadvantage and norms.

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In what sense are addicts irrational?
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume 90, Supplement 1, September 2007, Pages S92-S99

The article considers rationality in terms of overt behavioral patterns rather than as a smoothly operating logic mechanism in the head. The economic notion of rationality as consistency in choice – the property of exponential time discount functions – is examined and rejected.

Addicts are not irrational because of the type of time discount function that governs their choices—or even because of the steepness of that function.

Instead, rationality is here conceived as a pattern of predicting your own future behavior and acting upon those predictions to maximize reinforcement in the long run. Addicts are irrational to the extent that they fail to make such predictions and to take such actions.

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The behavioral economics of will in recovery from addiction
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume 90, Supplement 1, September 2007, Pages S100-S11

Behavioral economic studies demonstrate that rewards are discounted proportionally with their delay (hyperbolic discounting). Hyperbolic discounting implies temporary preference for smaller rewards when they are imminent, and this concept has been widely considered by researchers interested in the causes of addictive behavior.

Far less consideration has been given to the fact that systematic preference reversal also predicts various self-control phenomena, which may also be analyzed from a behavioral economic perspective.

Here we summarize self-control phenomena predicted by hyperbolic discounting, particularly with application to the field of addiction.

Of greatest interest is the phenomenon of choice bundling, an increase in motivation to wait for delayed rewards that can be expected to result from making choices in whole categories.

Specifically, when a person's expectations about her own future behavior are conditional upon her current behavior, the value of these expectations is added to the contingencies for the current behavior, resulting in reduced impulsivity. Hyperbolic discounting provides a bottom–up basis for the intuitive learning of choice bundling, the properties of which match common descriptions of willpower.

We suggest that the bundling effect can also be discerned in the advice of 12-step programs.

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Youth on deadly drink trail

Jill Stark and Cameron Houston
June 9, 2007

THE number of young people being treated for alcohol-related brain damage has grown fivefold in the past decade, prompting calls for urgent action on teenage binge drinking.

At Victoria's only treatment agency for alcohol-related brain injuries, the proportion of its 16 to 25-year-old patients has risen from 4 per cent in 1997 to 20 per cent this year.

Staff at Arbias, which provides support to people with alcohol or substance-related brain damage, are treating about 600 young people annually in Melbourne, up from about 120 a decade ago.
. . . . . .

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Raise age for buying alcohol 21, say doctors

By Paul Stokes

Doctors are considering calling for an increase in the legal age for buying alcohol to combat an alarming rise in teenage binge drinking.

No one under the age of 21 should be sold alcohol in supermarkets, off-licences and other retail premises, a British Medical Association conference will be told next week.

But the current age restriction of 18 would still apply in pubs.

The proposal is being put in a motion to Staff Grade and Associate Specialist doctors who will meet in London on Wednesday.

If carried, it will be voted on by the BMA's full membership later this month and could be adopted as official policy before the Government is lobbied to change the law.
. . . . . .

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Using the ''Getting to Outcomes'' Approach to Help Communities Prevent Underage Drinking

This research brief summarizes guides that provide key accountability questions, worksheets, tools, and examples to help communities plan, implement, and evaluate their efforts to reduce and prevent underage drinking.

Download Full Document (PDF)

Source: DailyDose

Charter establishing the European Alcohol and Health Forumslide

More than 40 businesses and non-governmental organisations, responding to a European Commission initiative, agreed today to take action to protect European citizens from the harmful use of alcohol.

EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou and representatives of the businesses and NGO's signed in Brussels the Charter establishing the European Alcohol and Health Forum .

The Forum, scheduled to meet twice a year, is to focus especially on concrete actions to protect children and young people and to prevent irresponsible commercial alcohol communication and sales. The move comes at a time when an estimated 200,000 Europeans die every year because of harmful alcohol use. More than one out of four deaths among young men is attributed to alcohol.

Source: Anders Ulstein

Markos Kyprianou European Commissioner for HEALTH
The Fight against Alcohol-related Harm: Launch of the Alcohol and Health Forum


Launch of the Alcohol and Health Forum
Brussels, 07 June 2007

I would like to welcome you all today.

As you all know, in October last year the Commission adopted the EU Alcohol Strategy. This marked an important starting point of a long and hard effort to reduce alcohol-related harm in the EU. And we all know that in order to be succesful, this will require real contributions from all levels and sectors.

It is my firm belief that in order to make any real change in the fight against alcohol-related harm, the efforts must be high not only on the public health agenda, but also on the agenda of all stakeholders, including schools, employers, NGOs, alcoholic drinks producers, distributors, the advertising and media industries, local/national authorities, Member States and the European Union.

I am therefore very satisfied to see today such an impressive group of partners ready to set up the European Alcohol and Health Forum, and to establish a common platform for all willing to devote more time and resources to taking meaningful actions on alcohol-related harm. I am particularly happy that your common commitment puts special emphasis on actions to protect children and young people, promoting responsibility and preventing irresponsible commercial communication and sales.

Still, I expect much more to come out of this Forum. I expect that you as representatives of the alcoholic beverages industry develop, distribute and market your products in a responsible manner. While I know that much has been done already, there is much scope for further actions regarding advertising, server training, product presentation, and so on.

I expect you as representatives of other economic operators to take on your part of the work; we all know that media, advertisers, retailers, owners of pubs and bars play an extremely important role in changing attitudes and behaviours, especially among young people.

I also expect a broad involvement of NGO's and I would welcome active participations from NGO's outside the public health field; representing social, youth, families and consumer interests; while of course respecting each organisation's scale of resources.

An active interest and participation is expected from all observers; Member States, the World Health Organization, the Organisation of Vine and Wine, and the European Institutions.

The Alcohol and Health Forum will be a very important cornerstone for the implementation of the EU Alcohol Strategy as it will focus on concrete action at European, national and local level.

Another cornerstone will be enhancing the cooperation and commitment of the Member States. The action-oriented approach of the Forum will be accompanied by policy development and coordination between Member States in a Committee on National Policy and Actions.

Better policy coordination at EU level is the third cornerstone: we intend to step up our work across EU policies, as set out in the Communication, to develop synergies with policy areas such as transport policy, education and culture, agriculture and research.

Finally, work across EU institutions will be the fourth cornerstone and I am particularly looking forward to the discussions with the European Parliament and all interested parties.

Finally, I would like to thank all partners for a very active participation in our endeavour to find a mix of policies and tools that would really work. I think that during the preparations we have already managed to build some higher levels of trust and a tentative willingness for groups, which have traditionally not been involved in the process, to participate in the work.

The Commission is determined, in co-operation with all Member States, stakeholders and institutions, to take forward meaningful actions that can contribute towards the protection of our citizens, and especially our young people, from alcohol-related harm – but we need your both your commitment and contributions for more and better results.

I hope that the Forum will show that providing a common platform for stakeholder cooperation will be a "winning concept".

Doctors call for higher taxes to deter UK's 7m harmful drinkers

Sarah Boseley, health editor
Wednesday June 6, 2007
The Guardian

The government yesterday launched a strategy to tackle more than 7 million "hazardous and harmful" drinkers in the UK, but was immediately criticised for soft-pedalling by postponing action to deal with cut-price alcohol promotions.

The 10-year strategy, launched jointly by the Home Office and Department of Health, called for a radical shift in British drinking culture and for drinkers, at home as well as in the pub, to take personal responsibility for sensible consumption.

But "happy hours" and other promotional activities of the drinks industry escaped a ban. Instead, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker and public health minister Caroline Flint said there would be a review and public consultation to find out whether advertising, promotions and low prices caused people to drink more.

Professor Ian Gilmore, a liver expert and president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: "International evidence shows that increasing price and reducing availability are the two main ways of reducing people's drinking, and while we welcome the review of retailing and promotions, this should not be used to delay action in this area."
. . . . . .

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Press Release - Attorney General Charles Foti, Miss Louisiana Teen USA and The Century Council Bring Public Awareness Initiative to Moms and Daughters in Louisiana
May 1, 2007

BATON ROUGE, LA — A recent survey commissioned by The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distilled spirits producers, revealed that nearly half of all mothers think underage drinking is acceptable under some circumstances. The survey found that mothers of teenage daughters underestimate the occurrence of underage drinking among their own daughters and misjudge the seriousness of the issue.

. . . . . .

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Brief Intervention for Alcohol Use by Pregnant Women

American Journal of Public Health February 2007, Vol 97, No. 2, 252-258

We examined the efficacy of brief intervention as a technique to help pregnant women achieve abstinence from alcohol. A second aim was to assess newborn outcomes as a function of brief intervention.

Women in the brief intervention condition were 5 times more likely to report abstinence after intervention compared with women in the assessment-only condition. Newborns whose mothers received brief intervention had higher birthweights and birth lengths, and fetal mortality rates were 3 times lower (0.9%) compared with newborns in the assessment-only (2.9%) condition.

The success of brief intervention conducted in a community setting by nonmedical professionals has significant implications for national public health policies.

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Parity For Whom? Exemptions And The Extent Of State Mental Health Parity Legislation

Health Affairs 26, no. 4 (2007) published online 7 June 2007;

Between 1997 and 2003, the share of workers subject to mental health parity laws greatly increased. But because of exemptions for self-insured firms and small firms, coverage is much lower than a simple tally of state mandates would suggest. Limits on the types of conditions covered further weaken these laws.

This paper summarizes the extent and scope of state parity legislation in terms of the number of insured private-sector employees covered. It explicitly accounts for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) exemption for self-insured plans, exemptions for small employers, and the range of conditions covered by the law

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Substance Abuse Benefits: Still Limited After All These Years
Health Affairs, 26, no. 4 (2007): Published online June 7, 2007

Using data from a special supplement to the 2006 Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey, this study examines the state of employer-sponsored insurance substance abuse benefits in 2006 and how benefits compare to coverage for medical-surgical services. In 2006, 88 percent of insured workers had some coverage for substance abuse services. Current substance abuse benefits, however, do not provide the same protection afforded under medical-surgical benefits. Instead, substance abuse benefits are characterized by higher cost sharing and annual limits and lifetime limits on inpatient and outpatient care. These limits generally do not exist for other medical conditions and have increased since 1990.

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New Futures Working together to reduce underage alcohol problems and to increase access to treatment in New Hampshire
E-UPDATE 6/7/2007

In the News


Who thought of health warnings on wine?

By Boris Johnson
  • Boris Johnson is MP for Henley

  • 07/06/2007

    And there I was - all set to blame Brussels. As soon as I heard there was some loony plan to put health warnings on wine bottles, my Eurosceptic aero engines began to rev and whirr.

    I knew where the culprits must be, and the all-purpose vertical take-off Euro-rant began to throb on the launching pad. Could they really be serious?

    Were we really going to have labels on wine bottles, warning the consumer that the contents might make him drunk? It was insane, and there was only one type of bureaucrat - or so I instinctively thought - who would dare to promote such lunacy.

    . . . . . .

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    Press Release - EU spirits producers sign up to EU Alcohol and Health Forum

    Brussels, 7 June 2007

    The European Spirits Organisation – CEPS has today, 7 June, signed up to become a founding member of the EU ‘Alcohol and Health Forum’, the creation of which is foreseen in the European Commission’s, ‘Communication on an EU Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol related harm’, published in October 2006. Driven by the five key areas outlined in the EU Strategy, the Forum’s central objective will be to secure concrete commitments from all stakeholders (economic operators and NGOs, amongst others), so as to more ably tackle alcohol related harm across the EU. Having played an important role in the cross-stakeholder
    dialogue leading up to the creation of the Forum, EU spirits producers look forward to playing an active and fully participatory part in this body and hope that commitments made under its governance will receive the recognition and backing they deserve from EU officials, national Health Ministries and others.

    EU spirit producers’ own set of future self-responsibility commitments are outlined in the CEPS Charter on responsible alcohol consumption, adopted in 2005, with a deadline of 2010 set for their implementation. The CEPS Charter pledges to promote responsible alcohol consumption advocating the ‘targeted approach’ to tackling alcohol misuse and sets an important precedent among the alcohol industry at EU level, including a commitment to report back annually on progress made, independently verified.
    . . . . .

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    The European Alcohol and Health Forum (EAHF)

    • To provide a common platform for all interested stakeholders at EU level that pledge to step up voluntary actions to reduce alcohol-related harm.

    • Members of the Forum should engage in concrete and verifiable commitments to reduce alcohol related harm and agree to monitor their commitments in a transparent, participative and accountable way.
    • European Federation/European umbrella organisation including as owners of specific commitments, international/national companies and national organisations

    Read Details of Group
    Eurocare Press Release - 7 June 2007
    Eurocare and Members to join the EC's Alcohol and Health Forum

    Today marks the launch of the European Commission’s ‘Alcohol and Health Forum’, a multistakeholder platform bringing together civil society and businesses pledging to take action to reduce alcohol related harm in Europe. Eurocare welcomes the action oriented remit of the Forum and is committed to fully supporting DG Sanco, whose work has been pivotal in firmly establishing alcohol on the EU political agenda. We hope that all European alcohol producers and retailers will participate in the Forum, and commit to evidence based actions, thus explicitly recognising their responsibilities towards curbing alcohol related harm in Europe, in particular among young people.

    The Alcohol and Health Forum represents the backbone of the European Commission’s ‘EU Strategy to Support Member States in Reducing Alcohol Related Harm’. The Strategy, released last October, addresses the adverse health effects related to harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption as well as the related economic and social consequences. The Council of Ministers first voiced the need for a comprehensive EU level strategy in 2001; despite the efforts and mobilisation of both DG Sanco and Europe’s public health community to protect the health and well being of European citizens, the final strategy reflected the alcohol industry’s intensive and unprecedented lobbying campaign. Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou shared this concern at the time and admitted that he had been “surprised at the aggressiveness of the lobbying campaign by certain parts of the alcohol industry (which) created doubts as to their willingness to cooperate”. Participation in the Forum and voluntary commitment to concrete action, is crucial for these sections of the alcohol industry, in order to regain credibility, promote corporate social responsibility, and above all, avoid the implementation of EU level legislation.

    . . . . . .

    Read Full Press Release
    Alcohol industry must do more to fight abuse: EU

    Thu Jun 7, 2007

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's health chief urged the alcoholic drinks industry on Thursday to step up its fight against the growing problem of alcohol abuse.

    The EU is the heaviest drinking region in the world, with 55 million adults estimated to drink at harmful levels. Alcohol contributes to the deaths of 195,000 people in the 27-nation bloc every year, according to EU figures.

    EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou made the call at the launch of a new Alcohol and Health Forum, part of a strategy paper on alcohol abuse published at the end of the last year.

    . . . . .

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    Press Release -

    European Commission, businesses and NGO's create Forum to battle alcohol-related harm

    Brussels, 7th June 2007

    More than 40 businesses and non-governmental organisations, responding to a European Commission initiative, agreed today to take action to protect European citizens from the harmful use of alcohol. EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou and representatives of the businesses and NGO's signed in Brussels the Charter establishing the Alcohol and Health Forum. The Forum, scheduled to meet twice a year, is to focus especially on concrete actions to protect children and young people and to prevent irresponsible commercial alcohol communication and sales. The move comes at a time when an estimated 200,000 Europeans die every year because of harmful alcohol use. More than one out of four deaths among young men is attributed to alcohol.

    EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: "My expectations for this Forum are high, as they need to be given the health challenge posed by alcohol related harm. In particular I expect the alcoholic beverages industry to market their products responsibly. The media, advertisers, retailers, as well as owners of pubs and bars should also contribute to changing attitudes and behaviours, especially among young people. We simply cannot afford to see so many young European lives being wasted every year because of the inappropriate use of alcohol."

    Platform for action

    The European Alcohol and Health Forum is a common platform for action. Its members are economic operators and NGO's that are willing to devote time and resources to adopt meaningful actions to prevent alcohol-related harm. EU Member States, European Institutions, the World Health Organisation and the International Organisation of Vine and Wine participate as observers.

    The Forum is to meet twice a year and to be chaired by the Commission's Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO). The Forum will establish a Science Group, which – at the request of the Forum – will provide scientific advice and guidance on matters under discussion. The Forum can also establish Task Forces. The first two have already been established and cover Marketing Communication and Youth-specific aspects of alcohol. . . . . .

    Read Full Press Release

    Alcohol and Pregnancy: The 1st National Conference on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Building Community Care

    Wednesday 20th-Thursday 21st June 2007 at Launceston Tram Shed Function Centre, Tasmania.

    Alcohol use in pregnancy is the leading cause of birth defects and mental/ developmental disabilities in the Western world. The damage is permanent and is non-genetic. The broad, possible impacts are known as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASD). It is proposed that 1 in 100 infants may be born with FASD.

    Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder has a profound impact on individuals, families and communities. This conference will provide a forum to hear from international and national guest speakers and to discuss, share and have input in workshop settings, to the development of National community care guidelines. The conference will be of value to parents, caregivers, service providers and government in advancing knowledge of FASD in terms of prevention and intervention and in contributing to the building of healthier communities.

    The Conference aims to provide participants with the opportunity to share in the decision making in the drafting of National community care guidelines for pregnant women and their children.

    . . . . . .

    Read Full Conference Anouncment

    Contributor: Peggy Seo Oba


    Press Release - Health Benefits For Substance Abuse Treatment Still Lag Far Behind Coverage For General Medical Care

    In Separate Article, Researchers Say That Exemptions Limit Reach Of State Mental Health Parity Laws

    June 7, 2007

    Bethesda, MD -- Employer-sponsored coverage for substance abuse treatment continues to have annual limits and lifetime caps on treatment visits and inpatient days and also requires higher cost sharing than coverage for general medical care, according to a new analysis published today as a Health Affairs Web Exclusive.

    In 2006, 88 percent of insured workers had some coverage for substance abuse services, but only 19 percent were enrolled in a plan without limits on the number of office visits or hospital stays. Such limitations are virtually unknown in general medical care, where nearly all covered workers had unlimited medical-surgical hospital days and office visits, according to Jon Gabel, a senior fellow at NORC, and coauthors.

    A second Health Affairs Web Exclusive published today reports that many workers are exempt from state mental health “parity” laws aimed at bringing private-sector mental health benefits more in line with coverage for other types of disorders. As a result, as of 2003, only one-fifth of U.S. workers with employer-sponsored health insurance were covered by “strong” parity laws that mandate mental health benefits, prohibit limits on outpatient visits and inpatient days, and limit the extent to which enrollees can face higher cost sharing for mental health services.

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    Contributor: Don Phillips


    Dual diagnosis - Key directions and priorities for service development

    This document promotes the development of a systematic approach to service provision through integrated assessment, treatment and care in both mental health and alcohol and other drug services, so that a person of any age experiencing dual diagnosis has timely access to quality treatment and support.

    Integrated assessment, treatment and care may be provided by a clinician or treating team within the one service addressing both a person’s substance use and mental health problems. It can also be provided by staff of separate agencies working together to agree and implement an individual treatment plan. This integration needs to continue beyond acute intervention and through recovery by way of formal interaction and co-operation between agencies in reassessing and treating the client.

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    Source: Daily Dose
    SAMHSA Invites Tribal Applicants for Policy Academy on Co-Occurring Disorders for American Indians and Alaska Natives

    Date: 6/4/2007
    Media Contact:
    SAMHSA Press

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is inviting American Indian/Alaska Native tribes and tribal communities to apply to participate in its Policy Academy on Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders for American Indians and Alaska Natives, Sept. 11-13, 2007, in Phoenix, Ariz. Applications must be received by June 15, 2007.

    The goal of this fourth policy academy is to enhance the provision of services for co-occurring disorders among tribes and tribal communities. The policy academy will encourage tribes and tribal organizations to consider how local policies and programs influence the response to co-occurring disorders and whether changes could improve their efforts.

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    News Release - Priorities for New National Registry of Evidence-Based
    Programs and Practices

    Date: 6/4/2007
    Media Contact: SAMHSA Press
    Telephone: 240-276-2130

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration today announced the agency’s Fiscal Year 2008 review priorities for mental health and substance use prevention and treatment programs and practices submitted to its National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The notice was published in the June 4 Federal Register.
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    Priority review areas for substance use prevention include preventing or reducing substance abuse problems such as underage drinking, inhalant abuse, use and abuse of marijuana, drug-related suicide, alcohol and drug abuse among young adults, misuse of alcohol and prescription drugs among the elderly, or HIV/substance abuse problems. Priority review areas for substance use prevention also include interventions that reduce risk factors or enhance protective factors, or address emerging substance abuse problems.

    Priority review areas for substance abuse treatment include treating adolescents and adults with alcohol or drug use disorders that utilize screening, brief interventions and referral; outreach and engagement; treatment and rehabilitation; recovery support; or continuing care, self-care or aftercare.
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    Effect of the Adenosine A2a
    Receptor Antagonist 3,7-Dimethyl-Propargylxanthine on Anxiety-like and Depression-like Behavior and Alcohol Consumption in Wistar Rats
    Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles). 5 June 2007

    It has been suggested that the reinforcing properties of ethanol are in part mediated via an A2 activation of cAMP/PKA signaling in the nucleus accumbens, predicting that administration of an A2a antagonist might reduce ethanol reward and consumption.

    We therefore examined the effect of the adenosine A2a receptor antagonist 3,7-dimethylpropargylxanthine (DMPX, 3, and 10 mg/kg intraperitoneal) on alcohol reinforcement, anxiety-related, depression, and rewarding behaviors in nonselected Wistar rats.

    3,7-Dimethylpropargylxanthine decreased lever-pressing for ethanol in a dose-dependent manner. When analyzed as percentage of pretreatment baseline, maximum suppression was approximately 60%. This effect was behaviorally specific, as no effect was found on the water lever.

    In agreement with previously published data, stimulation of locomotion was found. No anxiety-modulating effects were seen in either the elevated plus-maze or the Vogel conflict test. 3,7-Dimethylpropargylxanthine was not found to have intrinsic rewarding properties in the conditioned place preference model.

    In summary, DMPX produced a robust and behaviorally selective reduction of ethanol reinforcement, while anxiety-modulating effects were less consistent. These results bring further support to a role for adenosine in the regulation of ethanol consumption and possibly alcohol addiction/abuse, and the A2a receptor as a potential target for the treatment of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

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