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, July 14, 2007

Number 72 July 2007

Alcohol Metabolism: An Update

Drinking heavily puts people at risk for many adverse health consequences, including alcoholism, liver damage, and variouscancers. But some people appear to be at greater risk than others for developing these problems. Why do some people drink more than others? And why do some people who drink develop problems, whereas others do not?

Research shows that alcohol use and alcohol-related problems are influenced by individual variations in alcohol metabolism, or the way in which alcohol is broken down and eliminated by the body. Alcohol metabolism is controlled by genetic factors, such as variations in the enzymes that break down alcohol; and environmental factors, such as the amount of alcohol an individual consumes and his or her overall nutrition. Differences in alcohol metabolism may put somepeople at greater risk for alcohol problems, whereas others may be at least somewhat protected from alcohol’s harmful effects.

This Alcohol Alert describes the basic process involved in the breakdown of alcohol, including how toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism may lead to problems such as alcoholic liver disease, cancer, and pancreatitis. This Alert also describes populations who may be at particular risk for problems resulting from alcohol metabolism as well as people who may be genetically “protected” from these adverse effect . . . . . . .

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Country of origin, age of drinking onset, and drinking patterns among Mexican American young adults
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press, Corrected Proof 12 July 2007

This study examines relationships between country of origin, age of drinking onset, and adverse drinking outcomes among young adult Mexican Americans in the 2001–2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).

Adjusted analyses indicate the odds of adverse drinking outcomes decreased as age of drinking onset increased.

Mexican Americans who initiated drinking in Mexico had significantly lower odds of current or lifetime harmful drinking than U.S. born but the odds were not significantly different between foreign-born Mexican Americans who initiated drinking in the U.S. and U.S. born.

Irrespective of whether drinking onset was in Mexico or the U.S., foreign-born Mexican Americans had lower odds of alcohol abuse than U.S. born.

However, odds of dependence were not significantly different between foreign-born and U.S.-born Mexican Americans.

While findings suggest that being foreign born may be protective, further research on social and cultural factors impacting drinking onset and related outcomes among young Mexican Americans may help inform prevention efforts.

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Norepinephrine transporter polymorphisms T-182C and G1287A are not associated with alcohol dependence and its clinical subgroups
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Article in Press, Corrected Proof 13 July 2007

Several studies have suggested that the norepinephrine transporter (NET) may play an important role in the pathogenesis of alcohol dependence. Additional studies have shown that the polymorphisms of T-182C (rs2242446) and G1287A (rs5569) in NET gene (hSLC6A2) may affect the NET function.

Therefore, in this study, we examined whether these hSLC6A2 gene polymorphisms are a susceptibility factor for alcohol dependence or its clinical subgroup(s).

No significant differences in genotype and allele frequencies of hSLC6A2 polymorphisms were found between controls and total alcohol dependence or between more homogeneous subgroups with alcohol dependence and controls.

This study suggests that the polymorphisms of T-182C and G1287A in hSLC6A2 gene are not major risk factors in increasing susceptibility to either alcohol dependence or its clinical subtypes.

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Alcoholism Effects on Social Migration and Neighborhood Effects on Alcoholism Over the Course of 12 Years
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles) 13 July 2007

Although a short-term effect of neighborhood characteristics on individual alcohol abuse has been demonstrated by a quasi-experimental residential mobility study, the obversed effect of alcohol problem involvement on place of residence and residential character has not been studied.

We test the alcoholism effect on place of residence, and we also attempt to replicate the neighborhood-to-alcoholism effect.

The regression analysis shows that, the more alcohol problems a man has, the more likely he is going to remain in, or migrate into, a disadvantaged neighborhood. This effect is only evident when a number of relevant confounding variables, including initial level of socioeconomic status, age, antisocial symptomatology, and spousal alcohol-use disorder status at baseline are controlled.

Alcoholics in remission tended to live in neighborhoods whose residential characteristics were not distinguishable from those of nonalcoholics.

Unremitted alcoholics, however, tended to stay in or migrate into more disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Alcoholic involvement has long-term negative effects on place of residence; involving an elevated likelihood of moving into or remaining in a disadvantaged neighborhood. Recovery from alcoholism is protective against downward social drift on the one hand, and is favorable to improvement in social conditions on the other.

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The DASIS Report: Treatment Admissions with Medicaid as the Primary Expected or Actual Payment Source, 2005


  • SAMHSA's Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) provides information on significant primary sources of payment for substance abuse treatment admissions reported voluntarily by States that complete the TEDS Supplementary Data Set. This short report is based on data reported by the 27 States or jurisdictions with a response rate of 75% or higher on this data element in 2005.
  • In SAMHSA's 2005 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) there were almost 614,300 substance abuse treatment facilities with known primary source of payment in the States with sufficient data for analysis. Nearly 81,100 of these substance abuse treatment admissions (13%) reported Medicaid as their primary expected or actual source of payment. Other payment sources included: other government sources (35%), self pay (23%), Blue Cross/Blue Shield (2%), other health insurance companies (4%), Medicare (1%), worker's compensation (<1%),>
  • Compared to substance abuse treatment admissions paid for by non Medicaid sources, higher proportions of Medicaid-paid admissions in 2005 were young, female, Black, or "not in the labor force."
  • Medicaid-paid substance abuse treatment admissions were more likely to report marijuana as their primary substance of abuse (26% vs. 17%) and less likely to report alcohol as their primary substance of abuse (28% vs. 42%).

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Friday, July 13, 2007

eNewsletter: July 13, 2007

The Recovery Community Organization: Toward A Working Definition and Description
“The Recovery Community Organization: Toward A Working Definition and Description,” is an article by Phillip Valentine, Executive Director of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR); Bill White; and Pat Taylor. The authors would appreciate your comments and feedback.

New advocacy buttons from Faces & Voices of Recovery
Faces & Voices of Recovery is releasing new buttons that you and others in the recovery community can wear to get out the message of long-term recovery and recovery advocacy. Click here to view and purchase our new “End Insurance Discrimination Now” button.

Help us decide on our new “I’m in Recovery and I Vote” button. Click here to view four versions of an “I’m in Recovery and I Vote” button and email us with your favorite by Friday, July 20th! Thanks.

Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007
The House Committee on Education and Labor’s Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee held a hearing on H.R. 1424, "The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 on July 10th. Learn more…

Key federal appropriations bills moving through Congress
Bills that set the levels of funding for the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism continue to move through Congress. Learn more…

Marylanders get democracy!
On July 2nd, the Voter Registration Protection Act of 2007 went into effect in Maryland, re-enfranchising more than 50,000 Maryland residents who have completed their felony sentences of prison, parole and probation. Previously, only nonviolent ex-offenders could vote after a three-year waiting period, all others faced a lifetime voting ban. For a downloadable flyer and more information on this important victory, click here.

Faces & Voices' new Administrative Assistant
Faces & Voices welcomes Jared Hess to our staff as our new Administrative Assistant. Jared grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Political Science. He has previous experience doing public policy work in the public and private sectors. He has a deep passion for recovery advocacy as he is a person in long-term recovery, which means that he has not used drugs or alcohol since January 2003. Welcome!

The ABC’s of Effective Advocacy, is a CADCA satellite broadcast/webcast for advocates wanting to learn more about how to connect with elected officials and become a valuable resource of credible information to them. July 26, 2007 from 1-2 pm EDT. Learn more…
The Case Foundation’s “Make It Your Own Awards” 2007 program is looking for individuals or small organizations that are using collaborative, community-driven solutions to solve a problem. Grants of up to $35,000 will be awarded. Learn more…

Diageo-Backed California Labeling Bill Wins Key State Senate Committee Approval

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With support from
Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company, a key alcohol
labeling bill has won the bipartisan approval of the State Senate
Governmental Organization Committee.

The bill, AB 346 by California Assembly members James Beall and Lori
Saldana, is part of Diageo's campaign to keep alcohol products out of the
hands of kids. It would require that all beers or other malt beverages
clearly state that they contain alcohol and reveal the alcohol content on
the label if there is any chance the container could be confused with a
non-alcoholic product.

. . . . .

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Parliament votes against increase in alcohol excise duties

Published: Friday 13 July 2007

In a non-binding legislative resolution, MEPs voted against a Commission proposal to raise the EU's minimum rates of excise duty on beer and spirits, and asked for the proposal to be withdrawn.

Brief News:

On 10 July 2007, the Parliament adopted a legislative resolutionexternal rejecting a Commission proposalexternal to raise the EU-wide minimum rates of excise duty on alcohol other than wine. After a tight vote (303 in favour, 335 against and 44 abstentions) on the Economic Affairs Committee's reportexternal , which backs amendments calling for the minimum rates to rise by 4.5%, the MEPs decided to vote against the whole Commission proposal and request that it be withdrawn.

This was the second time that Parliament has voted on the issue. At the end of May, MEPs referred the dossier, after a series of close votes, back to the responsible committee (see EurActiv 23/05/2007).

The Parliament's rapporteur Astrid Lulling said that the Parliament did not only reject an overall rise of minimum taxes on alcohol but also now asks the Commission to prove, in a study, that the existing minimum taxes provide for more competition or at least better health protection. "Until now, the Commission has not proved in any case that its interferences in national tax autonomy have so far produced any positive effects," said Lulling.
. . . . .

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Updated NIAAA Publication
Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medications

This pamphlet lists medications that can cause harm when taken with alcohol and describes the effects that can result. The list gives the brand name by which each medicine is commonly known (for example, Benadryl®) and its generic name or active ingredient (in Benadryl®, this is diphenhydramine). The list presented here does not include all the medicines that may interact harmfully with alcohol. Most important, the list does not include all the ingredients in every medication.

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California State University’s Successful Alcohol Prevention Programs are Showcased at Board of Trustees Meeting
(July 10, 2007)

California State University’s Board of Trustees heard today the third biennial report on the CSU’s continuing efforts to educate and reduce alcohol-related problems throughout its 23-campus system. The report outlined the implementation efforts, progress and success of the trustees’ Alcohol Policy and Prevention Programs adopted in 2001.

The report showcased CSU campus reports on progress in implementing campus policies, enforcement, and education in addition to developing, implementing, and assessing alcohol prevention, training, intervention, and treatment programs. Highlights of the progress report include a documented trend toward less alcohol use among students, fewer alcohol-related incidents, and increased education programs.

The CSU’s alcohol policy is visionary and ambitious, and it has been called one of the most comprehensive in the country,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “For it to continue being a success, collaboration and cooperation among staff at the campus level, our public agency partners, and CSU students must continue and grow.”

Alcohol education and prevention programs currently being developed and implemented by CSU campuses are designed based on “guiding principles” and key recommendations adopted by the trustees. (The principles and recommendations may be found on p.16-17 of the Educational Policy Committee’s report. ) The programs address six areas: policies; enforcement and legal issues; education and prevention programs; training, intervention and treatment; assessment; and resources. These focus areas were also aligned with mission statements developed by each of the 23 CSU campuses to reduce alcohol abuse.
. . . . . .

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Effect of gestational ethanol exposure on long-term memory formation in newborn chicks
Alcohol Article in Press, Corrected Proof -12 July 2007

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a condition occurring in some children of mothers who have consumed alcohol during pregnancy, is characterized by craniofacial malformations, and physical and mental retardation. It is significant that even children with history of gestational ethanol exposure but relatively unaffected overall IQ performance, often exhibit learning difficulties and behavioral problems, suggestive of impaired memory formation.

It was observed that chick embryos exposed to 10% ethanol on gestational days 1–3 had significant reduction in all body parameters when compared with appropriate controls. Further, ethanol-exposed chick embryos had significantly impaired (P < .05) long-term memory (LTM) formation after training, though short-term or intermediate-term memory formation was unimpaired.

Thus, the findings of the current study demonstrate the detrimental effects of ethanol exposure during early pregnancy on developing chick embryos in general and on memory formation in particular.

Hence, it is suggested that impairment in LTM could be a fundamental mechanism for learning disorders and neurobehavioral abnormalities observed in FAS.

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Binge Drinking and Associated Health Risk Behaviors Among High School Students
PEDIATRICS Vol. 119 No. 1 January 2007, pp. 76-85

Underage drinking contributes to the 3 leading causes of death (unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide) among persons aged 12 to 20 years.

Most adverse health effects from underage drinking stem from acute intoxication resulting from binge drinking. Although binge drinking, typically defined as consuming ≥5 drinks on an occasion, is a common pattern of alcohol consumption among youth, few population-based studies have focused specifically on the characteristics of underage binge drinkers and their associated health risk behaviors.

Overall, 44.9% of high school students reported drinking alcohol during the past 30 days (28.8% binge drank and 16.1% drank alcohol but did not binge drink). Although girls reported more current drinking with no binge drinking, binge-drinking rates were similar among boys and girls. Binge-drinking rates increased with age and school grade.

Students who binge drank were more likely than both nondrinkers and current drinkers who did not binge to report poor school performance and involvement in other health risk behaviors such as riding with a driver who had been drinking, being currently sexually active, smoking cigarettes or cigars, being a victim of dating violence, attempting suicide, and using illicit drugs.

A strong dose-response relationship was found between the frequency of binge drinking and the prevalence of other health risk behaviors.

Binge drinking is the most common pattern of alcohol consumption among high school youth who drink alcohol and is strongly associated with a wide range of other health risk behaviors.

Effective intervention strategies (eg, enforcement of the minimum legal drinking age, screening and brief intervention, and increasing alcohol taxes) should be implemented to prevent underage alcohol consumption and adverse health and social consequences resulting from this behavior.

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Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association’s 2007 Conference

PAST PRESENT & FUTURE – Celebrating ATCA’s 21st Birthday
November 14th, 15th & 16th

Venue: Park Hyatt, Parliament Square, Melbourne, Australia

This year’s conference will celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the Association and we plan to showcase the many positive contributions Therapeutic Communities have made to the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction in Australia & New Zealand.

The 2007 ATCA Conference will also demonstrate that Australia & New Zealand have formed alliances with international Therapeutic Community organisations and recognise the unique impact Therapeutic Communities have as an effective intervention for drug alcohol and comorbid client groups.
As the theme suggests, the conference will look at past achievements, present practice and future initiatives.

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Contributor: Rowdy Yates


Altered Brain Activation by a False Recognition Task in Young Abstinent Patients With Alcohol Dependence
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles) 11 Julu 2007

Heavy alcohol intake induces both structural and functional changes in the central nervous system.

Recent research developments converged on the idea that even in patients with alcohol dependence without apparent structural brain changes, some cognitive impairment exists, and associated functional change could be visualized by neuroimaging techniques.

However, these data were from old (more than 50 years) patients using working memory and response inhibition tasks. Whether young abstinent patients show aberrant signs of brain activation is a matter of interest, specifically by the long-term memory retrieval task.

The young patients with alcohol dependence showed reduced activation in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), left pulvinar in the thalamus, and in the right ventral striatum, although behavioral performances and regional patterns of brain activation were similar between patients and controls.

Long-term memory retrieval induced altered activations in prefrontal lobes, ACC, thalamus, and ventral striatum in young patients with alcohol dependence. These findings were correspondent to deficits of goal directed behavior, monitoring the erroneous responses, memory function, and drug-seeking behavior.

Furthermore, these reduced activations can be considered as latent "lesions," suggesting subclinical pathology in alcoholic brains.

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Cloninger’s typology and treatment outcome in alcohol-dependent subjects during pharmacotherapy with naltrexone
Addiction Biology (OnlineEarly Articles) 16 June 2007

Naltrexone is an opiate receptor antagonist mainly at the µ-receptor that is thought to reduce the positively reinforcing, pleasurable effects of alcohol and to reduce craving.
An increase in time to first relapse to heavy drinking has been the most consistent finding obtained with naltrexone, although not all trials including two of the largest have been positive. Inconsistent outcome data suggest that effectiveness varies among different subgroups of patients.

This paper re-evaluates recent data on the effectiveness of naltrexone in subjects differentiated according to Cloninger Type I and II. Moreover, it combines and cross-validates results of two recent European studies that found naltrexone treatment more beneficial in alcohol-dependent patients with early age at onset of drinking problems (Cloninger Type II).

It is discussed whether especially these subjects should be targeted for pharmacological relapse prevention treatment with naltrexone.

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The theory of planned behavior and binge drinking: Assessing the impact of binge drinker prototypes
Addictive Behaviors
Volume 32, Issue 9, September 2007, Pages 1753-1768

The present study assessed the value of including prototype perceptions within the theory of planned behavior (TPB) when predicting young people's binge drinking intentions and behavior.

The TPB explained 58% of the variance in binge drinking intentions and 22% of the variance in binge drinking at one-week follow-up. The prototype perception measures explained additional variance in both binge drinking intentions and behavior, although only prototype similarity emerged as a significant predictor.

In addition, a significant interaction was found between prototype similarity and subjective norm in relation to the prediction of binge drinking behavior, suggesting that the perception of supportive norms may enhance the impact of prototype perceptions on health-risk behavior.

The implications of the findings for interventions to encourage more appropriate drinking behavior are outlined.

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UWE Researcher backs calls for higher alcohol taxation

Issue date: 10/07/2007

Martin Plant, Professor of Addiction Studies at UWE, is backing a call from a group of senior politicians for higher alcohol taxation. In a letter in today's Guardian Newspaper, Professor Plant has written as follows:

“Dear Editor,

The Conservative Party's Social Justice Policy Group has recommended that taxation should be used to curb binge drinking. This Group is to be congratulated for raising an 'inconvenient truth.' The UK is one very few Western countries where alcohol consumption, as well related mortality and public nuisance, have been rising steadily. A series of authoritative reports from Government advisors, medical and scientific authorities have drawn attention to the fact that controlling the availability of alcohol is essential in order to reduce heavy drinking and its related harm. Moreover, the UK is a signatory to the World Health Organization's European Charter. This commits governments to "promote health by controlling the availability, for example, for young people, and influencing the price of alcohol alcoholic beverages, for instance by taxation." Few credible scientists contest the fact that price control is vital if the UK's appalling level of alcohol-related harm is to be reduced. It is not enough to use empty rhetoric or to rely or low impact policy options. The latter include alcohol education, exhortation, media campaigns or unjustified advice (such as asking pregnant women not to drink at all. . . . . .

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Evaluating Readiness and Treatment Seeking Effects in a Pharmacotherapy Trial for Alcohol Dependence
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles). 11 July 2007

Decreases in drinking behavior prior to treatment onset often occur in pharmacotherapy trials for alcohol dependence. We propose that these decreases are associated with both trait and state factors operating before initiation of treatment to influence participants’ expectation or perception of future treatment outcome.

While trait factors typically include personality traits, state factors can include readiness to change and severity of drinking at screening. Understanding the characteristics of changes in drinking early in the process of entering treatment can improve clinical trials and outcomes.

Our goal was to evaluate drinking behavior before initiating a randomized, double-blind pharmacotherapy clinical trial for alcohol dependence.

A significant reduction in alcohol consumption occurred among heavy drinkers between the baseline assessment and the last week of single-blind placebo administration.

In contrast, the reduction in alcohol consumption by nonheavy drinkers over the same period was not significant. Partial correlations indicated that the significant predictors of drinking reductions during this period were: level of drinking and the Stages-of-Change subscales of precontemplation contemplation and maintenance.

Personality factors on the MacAndrew Alcoholism Scale did not predict drinking reductions during this same period.

Participants with higher motivation levels and greater drinking severity were most likely to reduce their drinking behavior before double-blind treatment. These state factors are important to consider when randomizing participants in trials, and are more important than trait or personality factors in accounting for the initial reduction in drinking in this population during the pretreatment period.

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Blunted Rostral Anterior Cingulate Response During a Simplified Decoding Task of Negative Emotional Facial Expressions in Alcoholic Patients
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles). 11 July 2007

Alcoholism is characterized by deficits in emotional functioning as well as by deficits in cognitive functioning. However, most brain imaging research on alcoholism has focused on cognition rather than emotion.

Alcoholics and controls not differ in accurately identifying the intensity level on the simple emotional decoding task but there were significant differences in their BOLD response during evaluation of facial emotion.

In general, alcoholics showed less brain activation than nonalcoholic controls. The greatest differences in activation were during decoding of facial expressions of fear and disgust during which alcoholics had significantly less activation than controls in the affective division of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).

Alcoholics also had significantly less activation than controls in the affective division of the ACC, while viewing sad faces. Only to facial expressions of anger did the alcoholics show significant activation in the affective ACC and in this case, their BOLD response did not significantly differ from that of the controls.

Alcoholics show a deficit in the function of the affective division of the ACC during evaluation of negative facial emotions that can serve as cues for flight or avoidance. This deficit may underlie some of the behavioral dysfunction in alcoholism.

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Drug Challenges Reveal Differences in Mediation of Stress Facilitation of Voluntary Alcohol Drinking and Withdrawal-Induced Anxiety in Alcohol-Preferring P Rats
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (OnlineEarly Articles). 11 July 2007

There is controversy over whether exposure to stress precipitates relapse and/or increases alcohol (ethanol) intake.

Our laboratory has demonstrated that repeated stress prior to withdrawal from a brief forced exposure to alcohol results in withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior. Because anxiety is often regarded as a precipitating factor in relapsing alcoholics, we decided to examine the consequences of stressing alcohol-preferring P rats on both voluntary alcohol drinking and withdrawal-induced anxiety.

Stressed, deprived P rats exhibited both a longer duration of elevated alcohol drinking and anxiety-like behavior in the social interaction test upon withdrawal after the third cycle of voluntary alcohol drinking.

When given prior to each of the restraint stresses, the benzodiazepine receptor antagonist flumazenil (5 mg/kg), the corticotrophin releasing factor receptor antagonists CRA1000 (3 mg/kg) and CP154,526 (10 mg/kg), the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist buspirone (0.6 mg/kg), and the mixed 5-HT2C/D2 receptor antagonist olanzapine were effective in reducing the increased duration of elevated alcohol drinking and the withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior.

In contrast, while the opiate receptor antagonist naloxone (20 mg/kg), the 5-HT2C receptor antagonist SB242084 (3 mg/kg), and the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol (0.1 mg/kg) also reduced drinking, they did not significantly alter anxiety like behavior.

These results suggest that stress-induced facilitation of alcohol drinking and withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior in P rats may be closely but imperfectly linked.

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Alcohol advertisers agree on controls

By a Correspondent

Advertising of all alcohol brands on television will now run after 8.30pm, while radio advertising will run after 1pm.

The use of cartoons or fairy tale characters in advertisements or sponsorship of children’s events has also been banned with immediate effect.

These measures, which are expected to reduce the exposure of children to alcohol advertising, have been taken jointly by the Government and members of the National Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (Nabak).

The guidelines are line with global best practice and are expected to promote self-regulation in the way alcoholic brands are marketed in order to promote responsible consumption of alcohol in Kenya.
. . . . . .

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Alcohol Inhibits NR2B-Containing NMDA Receptors in the Ventral Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis
Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication 11 July 2007;

Components of the mesolimbic dopamine system, in particular dopaminergic cells in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), have been implicated in the acute reinforcing actions of ethanol. The ventral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (vBNST) potently regulates dopaminergic cell firing in the VTA, and has been implicated in the behavioral actions of ethanol.

The N-methyl-D-asparate receptor (NMDAR) is a major molecular target of ethanol, however, current evidence suggests that ethanol regulation of NMDAR function is widely variable and likely depends on a number of factors.

Thus, it is critical to investigate ethanol regulation of NMDAR function at synapses relevant to ethanol-regulated behaviors, such as in the vBNST.

Here we show, using multiple techniques, that ethanol inhibits NMDAR function in vBNST neurons in a postsynaptic fashion. Further, we demonstrate the functional presence of both NR2A and NR2B-containing NMDARs in the vBNST. While genetic removal of NR2A did not alter the magnitude of ethanol inhibition, pharmacological blockade of NR2B rendered synaptically activated NMDARs insensitive to ethanol inhibition.

Finally, we demonstrate that ethanol inhibits NMDARs in cells in the vBNST that project to the VTA, providing a direct means by which ethanol in the vBNST can modulate the dopaminergic system.

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Case-Control Association Testing with Related Individuals: A More Powerful Quasi-Likelihood Score Test
The American Journal of Human Genetics, volume 81 (2007), published on-line 10 July 2007

We consider the problem of genomewide association testing of a binary trait when some sampled individuals are related, with known relationships.

This commonly arises when families sampled for a linkage study are included in an association study. Furthermore, power to detect association with complex traits can be increased when affected individuals with affected relatives are sampled, because they are more likely to carry disease alleles than are randomly sampled affected individuals. With related individuals, correlations among relatives must be taken into account, to ensure validity of the test, and consideration of these correlations can also improve power.

We provide new insight into the use of pedigree-based weights to improve power, and we propose a novel test, the MQLS test, which, as we demonstrate, represents an overall, and in many cases, substantial, improvement in power over previous tests, while retaining a computational simplicity that makes it useful in genomewide association studies in arbitrary pedigrees.

Other features of the MQLS are as follows: (1) it is applicable to completely general combinations of family and case-control designs, (2) it can incorporate both unaffected controls and controls of unknown phenotype into the same analysis, and (3) it can incorporate phenotype data about relatives with missing genotype data.

The methods are applied to data from the Genetic Analysis Workshop 14 Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism, where the MQLS detects genomewide significant association (after Bonferroni correction) with an alcoholism-related phenotype for four different single-nucleotide polymorphisms: tsc1177811, tsc1750530 , tsc0046696 , and tsc0057290 on chromosomes 1, 16, 18, and 18, respectively.

Three of these four significant associations were not detected in previous studies analyzing these data.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Breakthrough Britain
Ending the costs of social breakdown

Volume 4: Addictions

Chair and report author: Kathy Gyngell

Policy recommendations
to the Conservative Party
Social Justice Policy Group

Chairman, Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP

July 2007

The urgent need for appropriate and effective treatment of addiction and for its prevention is set out in this policy review through the voices of those most affected as well as through formal analysis of policy research and outcomes data. For the first time experiences and views of recovering addicts, their families and those working with them – their counsellors, substance misuse workers, addiction psychiatrists, drug action team managers, voluntary sector providers and academics have been listened to and reported.
. . . . .

Read Full Volume 4 (PDF)

Source: Robin G W Room
Special issue on alcohol and drugs in the history of Latin America

The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: An Interdisciplinary Journal, is planning a special issue on alcohol and drugs in the history of Latin America. We encourage paper submissions in any aspect of this broad theme. Deadline for submissions will be July 31, 2007.

Dan Malleck, PhD
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
Editor-in-chief, Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Source: Alcohol and Drugs History Society


An Integrated Model of Recovery-Oriented Behavioral Health Care

Over the last two years, the City of Philadelphia has been taking increasing advantage of unprecedented opportunities for reforming behavioral health policy and practice to improve the lives of its citizens facing the challenges of addictions and serious mental illnesses, their loved ones, and their communities. These opportunities have been created by the joining of several distinct, yet related, streams that have been winding separately toward a common destination over several years to decades.

Within mental health the notion and expectation of "recovery" has been around at least since the community support movement of the 1970's, if not before. This vision has come fully of age with the 1999 Report on Mental Health of the U.S. Surgeon General and the 2003 President's New Freedom Commission Report on Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America; both of which identify the need to transform mental health services to reorient them toward promoting recovery.

At the same time, a new recovery advocacy movement has been taking shape in the addiction field. This movement has the two-fold aim of removing barriers to recovery and improved quality of life for people suffering from alcohol and other drug problems. As in mental health, this movement has been led by people in recovery who envision far-reaching changes in the ways services are developed and delivered. The goal is to shift from a professionally driven model focused primarily on stabilization to a disease- and recovery-management model in which professional treatment is one aspect among many that supports people in managing their own conditions over time and in building their own resources for recovery.
. . . . .

Read Full Introduction

Source: Addiction and Recovery News


In the News


Alcohol Fund

New Hampshire’s legislators cast their vote, resulting in a historic victory for the Alcohol Fund. Dozens of Leadership Partners shared their personal stories with their legislators, and their legislators listened by funding the Alcohol Fund. Without the committed and energetic participation from Leadership Partners at all stages of the budget process, the Alcohol Fund would not have seen these additional dollars. On June 27, 2007, the House and Senate passed the Budget which more than doubles the biennial funding for the Alcohol Fund from $4.6 million in 2006/2007 to $9.7 million in 2008/2009 and fully funds the Alcohol Fund in 2009. To learn more about the Community Leadership Initiative and how you can become a Leadership Partner, email Linda King at

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a. US Surgeon General to attend the 9th Annual Leadership Recognition and Awards Celebration

This year’s Leadership Recognition and Awards Celebration will be held on Tuesday, October 9 at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford. The Tom Fox Award for Excellence, the Tom Fox Scholarship for Prevention, and the Tom Fox Scholarship for Treatment will be given during the luncheon, followed by a celebration of the good work being done in communities across our state. Rear Admiral Kenneth Moritsugu, Acting Surgeon General of the United States—who will be in NH to release the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking—is on the agenda and looks forward to meeting New Hampshire’s leaders working on alcohol and other drug problems. Mark the date on your calendar; more details will be forthcoming.

b. Seeking Tom Fox Scholarship Nominees

Please help nominate someone for one of two Tom Fox Scholarships. The Tom Fox scholarships recognize two individuals for exemplary contributions to the delivery of alcohol and other drug services in New Hampshire -- one in prevention and one in treatment. The deadline for submissions is Friday, August 17. Visit the New Futures website, call New Futures at 658-2770 or email for award criteria and information on submitting nominations.

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a. Update on the State Budget

The 2008/2009 State Budget passed by the House and Senate on June 27, 2007 more than doubles the biennial funding for the Alcohol Fund from $4.6 million (2006/2007) to $9.7 million (for the 2008/2009 biennium that began on July 1, 2007) and restores full funding for the Alcohol Fund in 2009. It is expected that Governor Lynch will sign the Budget. Many thanks to the legislators who voted to support the Budget, New Futures Leadership Partners and many others for their advocacy in support of the Alcohol Fund. There is no doubt that this advocacy throughout the entire budget process was critically important to this historic outcome.

b. Update on Policy Bills

In addition to the Budget, New Futures followed more than thirty bills that had a direct or indirect impact on alcohol or other drug prevention, intervention, and treatment. The outcome of this legislative policy work includes:

· Defeat of bills that would have increased access to alcohol by underage youth

o HB 567 (which would have reduced the legal drinking age from 21 to 18)

o HB 334 (which would have increased from 1:00 AM to 2:00 AM the hours for on premises sale of alcoholic beverages)

o SB 233 (which would have more than doubled the permissible alcohol content of “flavored malt beverages” such as hard lemonade and flavored teas sold in grocery and convenience stores)

· Creation of opportunities to further study important issues related to alcohol and other drugs

o HB 323 (study committee to examine liquor commission revenues, enforcement and server training)

o HB 373 (further House committee review of the regulation of unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor)

o HB 432 (further House committee review of age requirements for admission to cocktail lounges)

o HB 543 (study committee to examine the licensure process for licensed addiction counselors)

o SB 233 (study committee to examine the sale of flavored malt beverages)

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a. Help Track NH Cigarette Prices

The cigarette tax in is going up by another 28 cents per pack – to a rate still below that of neighboring states. The American Cancer Society is interested in tracking the impact on the price per pack. If you are interested in helping, please contact Krysten Evans at 471-4112 or

b. Combating underage drinking with the 6Gs

An article in the June 27 edition of Contemporary Pediatrics proposes a new and time-saving approach to guide pediatricians as they formulate office-based strategies aimed at the prevention and assessment of alcohol use, and education of patients and families about its dangers. Read it on-line and share it with your pediatrician friends:

c. Coalition TA Request Now On-Line

National Coalition Institute and CADCA have launched an online Technical Assistance Request System that anyone can access in order to seek technical assistance related to coalition issues. Coalitions are invited to use the system for requests related to coalition development, capacity, planning, implementation, evaluation and sustainability. You can access the system at the following web address:

d. Recovery Month PSAs Now Available

The Road to Recovery 2007 Public Service Announcements are now available. To request these radio or television PSAs, email recoverymonth@iqsolutions or call (240) 221-4062. Indicated medium, length, language and whether you want it open-ended or tagged by SAMHSA. Local Public Access channels may be able to play these, so don’t be shy.

e. Join SAMHSA’s e-Network

5 minutes is all it takes to join SAMHSA’s eNetwork - your personal link to SAMHSA for the latest news about grants, publications, campaigns, programs, and statistics and data reports. For more information, and to sign up, visit:

f. Health Education Center Web Site Offers FAQs on Minimum Legal Drinking Age

Ten frequently asked questions about the minimum legal drinking age inform and support efforts to provide research-based, effective alcohol and other drug abuse prevention programs. They also help campus and community prevention professionals create informed responses to questions regarding the effectiveness of the MLDA.

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a. Fewer Employers Offer Full Coverage for Substance Abuse Treatment

Employer-sponsored health plans in 2006 provided limited coverage for substance-abuse treatment and did not provide the same level of benefits for substance abuse as those given for medical and surgical benefits, according to a new study published in the Journal of Health Affairs. For more information, visit:

b. U.S. survey tracks sex behavior, illegal drug use

Twenty-six percent of U.S. men and 17 percent of women have tried illicit drugs other than marijuana, according to a new survey that uses computers to avoid sometimes dishonest answers given in face-to-face interviews. For more information, visit:

c. Access to alcohol among middle school children: there is no place like home

New research suggests that if parents want to keep alcohol away from their middle school children, the best place to start is at home. The study, reported in the June issue of Preventive Medicine, shows that of 11-14 year olds who choose to drink, only a small fraction obtain alcohol from commercial venues. More than one-third of the alcohol consumed by these children came from their own or a friend's parents or guardians. For more information, visit:

d. Young Men Most Likely to Buy Alcohol on Request from Minors

A recent study found that 8% of people asked outside a liquor or convenience store agreed to buy beer for people who looked underage. But 19% of men who appeared to be under 30 were willing to buy. This may indicate a population in need of more education about laws regarding providing alcohol to minors. Read the research at:

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See all this and more at:

a. Involving Youth in Your Substance Abuse Prevention Program

July 16 - July 20 On-Line

Offers the information and tools practitioners need to involve youth in all aspects of their prevention programs. It describes the many benefits associated with youth involvement in prevention programming and strategies for recruiting young people and creating meaningful activities that will keep youth engaged, over time. Learn more and register at:

b. Prevention Ethics for the New Millennium

July 18, 2007 at the Manchester Health Department

Through interactive discussion and exercised, participants will gain an increased understanding of the Code of Conduct for Prevention Professionals, and how to use the code through a decision-making model that addresses dilemmas as they arise. Call 622-6116 or email for a registration form before July 13.

c. The ABC’s of Effective Advocacy

July 26, 2007 1:00 – 2:00 PM by Satellite & Webcast

Learn the “ABC’s of Effective Advocacy;” Find out how to get your substance abuse prevention issues on the radar screens of key policymakers; Gain the true definitions for advocacy, education and lobbying; Find your “inner advocate” and prepare to become a trusted source of information for key decision-makers. For details on how to participate, go to:

d. The 9th Annual National Leadership Conference: Empowering Leadership to Enhance What Works

August 2-4 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, FL

Reservation information and the call for presentations are now available. Go to go to for the most current developments and information.

e. New England School of Best Practices in Addiction Treatment

August 20-23, Waterville Valley

The New England Institute of Addiction Studies is pleased to announce the fifteenth annual clinical and administrative skills program for people working in the treatment system.

f. Addiction: The New England Drug Court Perspective – When Communities Respond, People Recover

September 20-21 at UMASS Boston

The New England Association of Drug Courts’ Annual Meeting will feature HBO Addiction Series' Executive Producers John Hoffman and Susan Froemke, as well as featured experts Dr. Kathleen Brady, Dr. Douglas Marlowe, and many other field professionals, as they discuss the latest advancements in addiction treatment and research. For more information, please contact Kerin Raymond at (978) 772-1846 or