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, September 1, 2007

How do Quantities Drunk Per Drinking day and the Frequencies of Drinking those Quantities Contribute to Self-reported Harm and Positive Consequences?
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on August 31, 2007

This article examines how quantities drunk per drinking day (dose) and the frequency of drinking those quantities affect self-reported harm and positive consequences at the individual and population level.

Respondents who reported frequent drinking at very high doses (13 drinks and above for men, 8 and above for women) were in a league of their own with respect to the risk of harm. At the population level, the dose of 8–12 drinks accounted for most problems among men, and doses of 5–7 and 3–4 drinks among women. No gain in positive consequences was attached to drinking beyond the dose of 5–7 drinks among men and 3–4 drinks among women.

The dose level at which the population-level risk was the highest was lower than the level at which the individual-level risk was the highest, due to a greater prevalence of drinking the lesser quantities.

Future studies should pay more attention to the separate effects of dose as well as the frequency of drinking the particular doses per occasion at the individual level, and also, as to how the prevalence of these drinking patterns contributes to the population-level risk.

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In Search of the Neurobiology of Addiction Recovery: A Brief Commentary on Science and Stigma

William L. White, MA

August, 2007

In 1997, Dr Alan Leshner, then Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a seminal article, “Addiction is a Brain Disease, and It Matters,” in one of the world’s leading scientific journals (Leshner, 1997). That event was the opening salvo in a decade-long research and public education campaign to re-educate the public about the nature of addiction. The focus of this campaign has been to move “addiction is a disease” from the status of an ideological proclamation by policy activists and an organizing metaphor for individuals seeking to resolve alcohol and other drug problems to a science-grounded conclusion. The involvement of scientists was, in part, a response to earlier and continuing anti-disease polemics, e.g., Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease (Fingarette, 1989), The Diseasing of America (Peele, 1989), The Myth of Addiction (Davies, 1992) and Addiction is a Choice (Schaler, 2000). In the 1990s, the prolonged debate over disease conceptualizations of alcoholism and drug dependency moved from the philosophy departments to the scientific laboratories with the greatest financial investment in history in genetic and neurobiological studies of addiction. The fruits of that research triggered a campaign to re-educate the public and policy makers about the nature of addiction.
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Source: Addiction and Recovery News

Commentary - A Toast to the Family

August 31, 2007; Page A9

Florida, Michigan and New Hampshire are some of a growing number of states to enact laws holding parents accountable for underage drinking at their homes. These laws typically involve hosting parties where alcohol is served to minors.

The target is parents who blithely allow keg parties in their basements and then let the teenagers who attend them drive home drunk. One such couple in Deerfield, Ill., was recently convicted when two 18-year-olds died in a car accident after such a party. Earlier this month, Karen Dittmer was arrested for allowing her 18-year-old son and his friends to drink beer at her birthday barbecue in New York's Suffolk County.

What kind of parents would ever allow their children to drink at home? Doesn't this put youngsters at risk?

The answer to the first question is simple. Most of the state laws include a specific exemption for children drinking at home during family and religious ceremonies. Observant Jews, for example, traditionally serve children small glasses of wine during Friday night Sabbath ceremonies. Other cultures also begin socializing children into drinking at an early age -- including Mediterranean societies such as Italy, Greece and Turkey (and non-Mediterranean societies such as China).
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Press Release - Young continue to drink and potentially damage their livers

Friday, August 31, 200

Between 2001 and 2006 unit consumption for 11-13 year olds who drank alcohol had risen by nearly one hundred percent from 5.6 units to 10.1 units in a one week period.

A report published today by The Information Centre highlights the need for a change in behaviour from young people with one in five pupils aged 11-15 years admitting to being drunk in the last four weeks of the study and around a third of these pupils had deliberately tried to get drunk.
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The children drinking five pints a week

Cheap alcohol blamed as study finds pre-teen bingers have doubled intake

Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent
Saturday September 1, 2007
The Guardian

A persistent hardcore of pre-teen binge drinkers - almost one in 10 of all 11- to 13-year-olds - are consuming more alcohol than ever before, according to new government figures.

They have doubled their weekly intake over five years - to more than 10 units a week, the equivalent of a bottle and a half of wine or five pints of beer, according to an NHS report which surveyed more than 8,000 secondary school pupils.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Pernod takes aim at binge-drinking, youth

By William Spain, MarketWatch

Aug 31, 2007

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Pernod Ricard is rolling out a new "responsibility" ad campaign as part of an effort that will eventually see the French wine and liquor giant spending a hefty percentage of its annual marketing budget on messages against drunk-driving, underage tippling and other alcohol-related ills.

Starting Friday with a full-page ad in USA Today, the campaign will soon extend to other national print media and also features the launch of a Web site, It differs to some degree both in its size -- an initial investment of some $5 million over the next 10 months -- and its message from some other industry funded responsible drinking efforts
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Little attention has been paid to alcohol use by children aged 12 and younger. The present article summarizes findings on the prevalence of alcohol use from US national and statewide surveys of children in grades 6 and younger based on reports located in searches of the literature and the Internet.

Prevalence rates decrease with the level of involvement assessed. Alcohol use increases with age, doubling between grades four and six, with the largest jump in prevalence between grades five and six. At each grade level, boys are more likely to have used alcohol than girls. African-American children are nearly as likely as white and Hispanic children to have used alcohol.

Over the past decade or so, the prevalence of both lifetime and current alcohol use has been declining in children. The failure to assess intensity of children’s use hampers evaluation of the level of risk experienced by children.

There is a need for ongoing nationwide surveillance of alcohol use in this population and for greater education of parents regarding the dangers of introducing children to alcohol use.

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Provisional - Summary Health Statistics for the U.S. Population: National Health Interview Survey, 2006

Selected Highlights

Alcohol Drinking Status (Tables 26-27)

• Overall, 48% of adults 18 years of age and over were current regular drinkers, 12% were current infrequent drinkers, 6% were former regular drinkers, 8% were former infrequent drinkers, and 25% were lifetime abstainers.

• Fifty-seven percent of men were current regular drinkers compared with 39% of women. Men were also more likely to be former regular drinkers than were women. Women were more likely to be current or former infrequent drinkers or lifetime abstainers than were men.

• As age increased, the percentage of adults who were current regular drinkers decreased.

• Asian adults were more likely to be lifetime abstainers compared with other single race groups.

• When results are considered by single race and ethnicity, 53% of non-Hispanic white adults were current regular drinkers compared with 39% of Hispanic adults and 35% of non-Hispanic black adults. Hispanic adults and non-Hispanic black adults were almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic white adults to be lifetime abstainers.

• Educational attainment and family income were positively associated with current regular drinking status and inversely associated with being a lifetime abstainer.

• Among adults less than 65 years of age, 55% of those who had private health insurance coverage were current regular drinkers compared with 47% of those who were uninsured and 31% of those who had Medicaid health care coverage.

• Among adults aged 65 and over, 37% of those who had private health insurance coverage were current regular drinkers compared with 28% of those who had only Medicare health care coverage and 19% of those who had Medicaid and Medicare health care coverage.

• Adults who were living with a partner were more likely to be current regular drinkers compared with other marital status categories.

• Regionally, 31% of adults living in the South were lifetime abstainers, in contrast to 27% in the West, 19% in the Midwest, and 19% in the Northeast.

• Twenty-four percent of non-Hispanic white women were lifetime abstainers compared with 49% of Hispanic women and 44% of non-Hispanic black women. Conversely, 46% of non-Hispanic white women were current regular drinkers compared with 25% of non-Hispanic black women and 24% of Hispanic women. Among men, 15% of non-Hispanic white men were lifetime abstainers compared with 23% of Hispanic men and 26% of non-Hispanic black men; 61% of non-Hispanic white men were current regular drinkers compared with 53% of Hispanic men and 48% of non-Hispanic black men.

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Recovery Voices Count

Just in time for your Rally for Recovery! and other Recovery Month observances, we are pleased to bring you our new, 2007-2008 Non-partisan Civic Engagement Guide, Recovery Voices Count. Use the Guide to raise recovery issues and participate in our electoral process. There’s information on registering voters at your Rally for Recovery! event. We’ll have more information about ways to use the Guide to build civic participation and engagement in your organization and community over the coming months.

Rally for Recovery! and Recovery Month 2007
Over 60 organizations are participating in this year’s Rally for Recovery! to speak out about the power and proof of long-term recovery and call for policies to support recovery. Advocates in New Jersey and New York are coming together on September 15th in a “hub event” to bring national attention to Rally for Recovery! In Maine, the Alliance for Addiction Recovery (MAAR) has arranged for three advocates to be featured on a radio 'public affairs' talk show on Citadel Broadcast stations that will run on Sunday mornings. Use our sample media advisory and press release to publicize your events and activities. Learn more…

Profiles of Recovery Advocacy in Action
The sixth in our series of interviews with recovery advocates from across the country by Bill White and Pat Taylor features Bev Haberle, Executive Director of the Bucks County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (BCADD). PRO-ACT, a grassroots recovery support initiative in Southeastern Pennsylvania, is a project of BCADD. Learn more…

In Search of the Neurobiology of Addiction Recovery: A Brief Commentary on Science and Stigma by William White, calls for a comprehensive recovery research agenda with a focus on the neurobiology of addiction recovery.

Gender-specific Recovery Support Services: Evolution of the Women’s Community Recovery Center to the Women’s Recovery Community Center by Beverly Haberle and William White, describes the attempt of the Pennsylvania Recovery Organization-Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT) to operate a gender-specific recovery home and a recovery support center within the same facility in New Britain, Pennsylvania.

Recovery Solutions magazine features interviews with two Faces & Voices board members – Joe Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Persons Affected by Addiction and William Moyers, Vice President of Hazelden Foundation and author of Broken.

The Substance Abuse Policy Research Program has called for proposals due by November 7, 2007 for research projects that address issues related to substance use, one of the most pressing public health problems facing our nation.

Become a Founding Member!
Dear Recovery Advocate,
Thanks to your commitment and support, Faces & Voices of Recovery and our recovery advocacy movement continue to grow and make a difference in the lives of our families, friends and neighbors. In September 2006, we launched our founding member campaign, which runs through September 2007, Recovery Month. If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to become a founding member of Faces & Voices of Recovery Learn more…

Substance Abuse & Vocational Rehabilitation -- the Elephant in the Room: Research, Policies, and Exemplary Practices
October 16 & 17, 2007
Key Bridge Marriott, Arlington, VA

No other condition associated with large numbers of VR consumers has such state-to-state variability in diagnosis rates, inconsistencies in policy, and “hidden” cases than substance use disorder. Research suggests that approximately one quarter of VR consumers may have an active substance use disorder when they apply for VR services. This power-packed event will explore these issues with a panel of VR experts, including the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) and State VR Directors. A second panel of lawyers will disentangle the applicable and sometimes conflicting statutes. Breakout sessions will review the latest findings regarding policies, training approaches, federal agency perspectives, and practices regarding substance use disorder and VR. A free web-based training series on the topic will be introduced.

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Contributor: Don Phillips


Changes in some personality traits after recovery from alcohol dependence/abuse, anxiety and depression - Results of a 5-year follow-up in a general population sample of women
Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 61, Issue 4 2007 , pages 279 - 287

The aim of this study was to analyse stability of and change in personality traits in a general population sample of women over 5 years.

Specific questions were how personality traits changed after a first episode of alcohol dependence/abuse (ADA), anxiety or depression disorders and after remission of an episode.

Personality traits were assessed with the Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP) and lifetime psychiatric diagnoses given according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd revised edition (DSM-III-R).

Mean T-scores (KSP) for the general population sample were stable between initial assessment and follow-up 5 years later. Correlations between assessments were high for most KSP scores, indicating high individual stability.

For women with resolved ADA, KSP scores were normalized to five scales at the follow-up assessment: somatic anxiety, muscular tension, monotony avoidance, social desirability and irritability.

Women who recovered from anxiety disorders during the follow-up had decreased scores in somatic anxiety and muscular tension and increased scores in verbal aggression.

Women who developed ADA during follow-up had increased scores on the scales impulsiveness and verbal aggression.

Women who developed depression during follow-up had increased monotony avoidance.

Personality traits were generally stable in this adult female population but some personality traits changed in association with changes in psychiatric disorders. This knowledge could be useful in evaluation of treatment needs and treatment outcome.

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Contributor: Don Phillips

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Externalizing symptoms among children of alcoholic parents: Entry points for an antisocial pathway to alcoholism.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 2007 Aug Vol 116(3) 529-542

The authors examined heterogeneity in risk for externalizing symptoms in children of alcoholic parents, as it may inform the search for entry points into an antisocial pathway to alcoholism.

Through integrative analyses of 2 independent, longitudinal studies, they showed that children with either an antisocial alcoholic parent or 2 alcoholic parents were at greatest risk for externalizing symptoms.

Moreover, children with a depressed alcoholic parent did not differ from those with an antisocial alcoholic parent in reported symptoms. These findings were generally consistent across mother, father, and adolescent reports of symptoms; child gender and child age (ages 2 through 17); and the 2 independent studies examined.

Multialcoholic and comorbid-alcoholic families may thus convey a genetic susceptibility to dysregulation along with environments that both exacerbate this susceptibility and provide few supports to offset it.

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Gender differences and developmental change in externalizing disorders from late adolescence to early adulthood: A longitudinal twin study.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 2007 Aug Vol 116(3) 433-447

Using data from over 1,000 male and female twins participating in the Minnesota Twin Family Study, the authors examined developmental change, gender differences, and genetic and environmental contributions to the symptom levels of four externalizing disorders (adult antisocial behavior, alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, and drug dependence) from ages 17 to 24.

Both men and women increased in symptoms for each externalizing disorder, with men increasing at a greater rate than women, such that a modest gender gap at age 17 widened to a large one at age 24. Additionally, a mean-level gender difference on a latent Externalizing factor could account for the mean-level gender differences for the individual disorders.

Biometric analyses revealed increasing genetic variation and heritability for men but a trend toward decreasing genetic variation and increasing environmental effects for women.

Results illustrate the importance of gender and developmental context for symptom expression and the utility of structural models to integrate general trends and disorder-specific characteristics.

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Licensed to drink: The reason Kenya is losing its deadly battle with alcohol

Publication Date: 8/26/2007

After living in denial for a long time, Kenya is slowly waking up to its growing alcohol problem. In the latest of staggering steps meant to control overindulgence and related risks among Kenyans, industry players launched a campaign early in the week against underage drinking.

The campaign by the National Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (Nabak) called “We ID”, among other things, requires bar operators to ask their patrons to produce national identity cards as proof of age. This, the association hopes, will ensure that young people below the legal drinking age of 18 years keep off the bottle.

The Nabak initiative follows the introduction of the Alcoblow — the breath testing gadget — by the traffic police to curb drunk driving last year. The gadget was, however, withdrawn from the roads after a motorist successfully challenged its use in court.

But even before the alcohol sellers and makers begin to take stock of their successes or failures, anti-alcohol and drug abuse campaigners are warning that a liberal liquor licensing system, which allows business people to operate bars and restaurants everywhere, is making such efforts count for little.
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Study: Alcohol can speed up Aids progression

Written by Albert Muriuki

Kenya may lose the gains it has made against HIV due to rampant alcoholism among the infected, a new research on the impact of alcohol on management of the pandemic indicates.

The study by the University of Boston found that heavy consumption of alcohol speeds up the onset of Aids in those infected by HIV.

“The impact is most pronounced in HIV patients who are not on anti-retroviral therapy (ART),” said Jeffrey Samet of Boston University.
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The PhenoGen Informatics website: tools for analyses of complex traits
BMC Genetics 2007, 8:59 30 August 2007

With the advent of "omics" (e.g. genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and phenomics), studies can produce enormous amounts of data. Managing this diverse data and integrating with other biological data are major challenges for the bioinformatics community. Comprehensive new tools are needed to store, integrate and analyze the data efficiently.

Description: The PhenoGen Informatics website ( is a comprehensive toolbox for storing, analyzing and integrating microarray data and related genotype and phenotype data. The site is particularly suited for combining QTL and microarray data to search for "candidate" genes contributing to complex traits. In addition, the site allows, if desired by the investigators, sharing of the data. Investigators can conduct "in-silico" microarray experiments using their own and/or "shared" data.

The PhenoGen website provides access to tools that can be used for high-throughput data storage, analyses and interpretation of the results. Some of the advantages of the architecture of the website are that, in the future, the present set of tools can be adapted for the analyses of any type of high-throughput "omics" data, and that access to new tools, available in the public domain or developed at PhenoGen, can be easily provided.

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Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory: Naltrexone

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s (CSAT’s) latest Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory, Naltrexone for Extended-Release Injectable Suspension for Treatment of Alcohol Dependence (Spring 2007, Volume 6, Issue 1) is available now!

Naltrexone for Extended-Release Injectable Suspension for Treatment of Alcohol Dependence (SMA07-4267)

In April 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new extended-release injectable formulation of naltrexone (Vivitrol®) for the treatment of alcohol dependence. This issue answers questions treatment providers, particularly counselors and program administrators, may have about injectable naltrexone.

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Televised alcohol advertising: charity calls for ban before watershed

29 Aug 2007

Alcohol Concern, a UK charity, has stated that children are being exposed to alcoholic beverages because of inappropriate advertising times. As a result, the charity is calling for an advertising ban on alcohol before the watershed. For beer and flavored alcoholic beverage (FABs) manufacturers, it is a further indication of the increased pressure they face to change their marketing practices.

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Prevalence and Correlates of Substance Use Among High School Students in South Africa and the United States
AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print Aug 29, 2007

We compared prevalence rates and correlates of substance use among high school students in South Africa and the United States.

Rates of past-month alcohol and marijuana use were lower among South African students than among US students, but rates of illicit hard drug use were higher. Correlates of use in the 2 countries differed. For example, female gender was protective against tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use in South Africa, whereas in the United States it was protective only against marijuana use. Black race/ethnicity was associated with lower rates of past-month cigarette and alcohol use in both countries, but the protective effect for alcohol use was stronger in South Africa.

Crosscultural studies can elucidate common and culturally unique pathways to drug use. Our results can inform future research, policies, and behavioral interventions in South Africa.

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The Effect of Migration to the United States on Substance Use Disorders Among Returned Mexican Migrants and Families of Migrants
AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print Aug 29, 2007

We examined the association between substance use disorders and migration to the United States in a nationally representative sample of the Mexican population.

Respondents who had migrated to the United States and respondents who had family members in the United States were more likely to have used alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine at least once in their lifetime; to develop a substance use disorder; and to have a current (in the past 12 months) substance use disorder than were other Mexicans.

International migration appears to play a large role in transforming substance use norms and pathology in Mexico. Future studies should examine how networks extending over international boundaries influence substance use.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Evaluating Readiness and Treatment Seeking Effects in a Pharmacotherapy Trial for Alcohol Dependence
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 31 (9), 1538–1544.

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 31 (9), 1490–1504.

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 did 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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News Release - NIH MERIT award advances fetal alcohol research

Aug. 17, 2007

Susan Smith, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has received a prestigious MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health, which provides research funding for up to 10 years. Smith is an expert on fetal alcohol exposure, the leading known cause of mental retardation in the world.
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Contributor: Peggy Seo Oba



Tuesday, August 28, 2007


August 28, 2007

The Director of the National Institutes of Health, Elias Zerhouni, M.D., has appointed eight new members to the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee. This committee provides technical and scientific advice on matters related to the procedures and policies governing the scientific and technical evaluation of NIH grant applications. Peer review is the key method NIH uses to ensure that the $20+ billion it invests in biomedical research grants each year advances the most promising research.
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Five of the new members will begin their terms immediately:

DR. LORRAINE COLLINS, PH.D., is a senior research scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions and a research professor in the Department of Psychology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Dr. Collins' research interests include cognitive and behavioral approaches to the conceptualization, prevention, and treatment of addictive behaviors; commonalities among addictive behaviors; and psycho-social issues related to substance use and misuse.
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News and Notes
Addiction 102 (9), 1510–1512.









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Addiction 102 (9), 1354–1355.

In the complex world of alcohol problem management, it is nevertheless appropriate to ask if the best prevention strategies and alcohol policies are of high priority. Are the interventions offered of sufficient potency and scope for the problem? If not, what might be done to change things for the better? My interpretation is that all three commentaries imply that these questions are worth considering, and they draw out important nuances that are useful in addressing them.

In general, the current responses to alcohol problems in many jurisdictions are skewed towards those with modest or minimal impact. In many contexts alcohol education and information is the default response, and it typically involves considerable advocacy, coordination and political courage to introduce and implement the more potent interventions. While it may be very difficult to demonstrate that many forms of conventional alcohol education oriented to the consumer are absolutely ineffective, it would seem that, on balance, they are substantially and consistently less effective than a number of policy measures focusing on alcohol control, access to alcohol, strategies to reduce drinking and driving and brief interventions
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Addiction 102 (9), 1352–1353.

Norman Giesbrecht makes a compelling case for a dramatic reduction of conventional approaches to alcohol education, reflecting their ineffectiveness in altering the toll of alcohol

The argument is familiar to students of tobacco control, where the empirical evidence on the ineffectiveness of school health education is by now voluminous Some would argue that the tobacco industry's enthusiasm for and support of educational strategies makes the empirical evidence redundant.
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Addiction 102 (9), 1351–1352.

The tobacco field provides a useful lesson for how alcohol prevention experts could implement Dr Giesbrecht's call for educational programs that increase public support for policy-level interventions.

Consumers are remarkably willing to let tobacco and alcohol companies sell them probabilistically dangerous products, so further explication of the health damage of these products may have little impact.

In contrast, the public is less willing to be knowingly tricked or cheated in their dealings. Knowledge that tobacco companies purposely enhanced the addictiveness of their product and withheld information about risks to increase sales fostered support for successful tobacco-control interventions.

Similarly, explaining how alcohol biologically distorts purchasing decisions to trick consumers into paying more for alcohol may facilitate support for controls on alcohol sales and marketing.
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Addiction 102 (9), 1350–1351.

Giesbrecht has provided a stimulating assessment of current questions on the roles of education and persuasion interventions, and in essence his paper highlights the need to focus the debate on the values held by a society that are relevant to alcohol harm reduction.

It is these fundamental values that should provide the basis for policy making, and therefore discussion, clarity and transparency around this value set is an important first consideration.

The thinking of the American philosopher John Dewey is pertinent here : Dewey's work suggests that a successful democracy should be judged according to the extent to which it uses science to inform its decision making, coupled with a clear and substantive involvement of the public in the decision making process.
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For Debate - Reducing alcohol-related damage in populations: rethinking the roles of education and persuasion interventions
Addiction 102 (9), 1345–1349.

Aim In order to potentially enhance the impact of most effective policies and interventions in reducing the population level damage from alcohol, a new perspective with regard to education and persuasion interventions is offered.
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Lead Editorial - Industrial epidemics, public health advocacy and the alcohol industry: lessons from other fields
Addiction 102 (9), 1335–1339.

Research on alcohol policies has now made it possible to grade strategies and interventions in terms of their effectiveness in controlling excessive alcohol use as well as alcohol-related problems .

The evidence suggests that there are a variety of effective strategies from which policy-makers can choose. Unfortunately, many popular strategies, such as designated driver programs, tend to be ineffective, and the more effective strategies, such as alcohol taxes, tend to be unpopular.

In persuading policy-makers to consider effective but unpopular alcohol policies, it might be instructive to frame the issue in terms of what we refer to here as ‘industrial epidemics’. This framing may be contrasted with more traditional approaches, which in the past have portrayed alcohol problems as the consequence of a moral failing, or as a chronic disease engendered by genetic, psychological and environmental causes.

As this editorial will suggest, the notion of an industrial epidemic invites the application of public health concepts and shifts the policy focus from the ‘agent’ (i.e. alcohol) or the ‘host’ (e.g. the problem drinker) to the ‘disease vector’ (i.e. the alcohol industry and its associates), which in many ways is responsible for the exposure of vulnerable populations to the risks of alcohol.

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Scrapping alcohol monopoly 'would cause death and violence'

Published: 28th August 2007 17:42 CET

Abolishing Sweden's alcohol retail monopoly would cause consumption of alcoholic drinks to rise dramatically, leaving death, illness and violence in its wake, a new report claims. But the Moderate Party's spokesman on alcohol questions says the report is "strange" and that Sweden's alcohol sales system is already broken.

The report was commissioned by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet), a state body that has long argued for restrictive alcohol legislation.

The institute assembled a group of international researchers to predict the consequences of abolishing the Systembolaget alcohol monopoly and allowing alcohol sales in either licensed liquor stores or in normal grocery stores.
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Monday, August 27, 2007

ISSUE 3 2000 1425Kb PDF file

Education's uncertain saviour 1857Kb PDF file

A 20-year series of studies evaluating a relatively unsung US programme kept hopes alive that school lessons can prevent drug use. The work is impressive but is it convincing enough to salvage a prevention role for education?

Gone but not forgotten 449Kb PDF file

Two small British alcohol projects overcame the obstacles and tested their performance against the bottom line - what happens to clients when they leave. Their experience is a challenge to others; it can be done, so why do so few agencies do it?

If longer is better for drug users, why not for drinkers? 170Kb PDF file

Correspondents explore why brief interventions are so prominent in the alcohol field yet not in the drugs field and ask whether the evidence supports this divide.

Which outcome tool should you use? 141Kb PDF file

Correspondents assess the benefits of the simplicity of the Christo Inventory for Substance Misuse Services against the more comprehensive Maudsley Addiction Profile.

Tackling Alcohol Together: the evidence base for a UK alcohol policy 160Kb PDF file

Douglas Cameron reviews the book Tackling Alcohol Together which provided much of the evidence base for the English national alcohol policy announced in 2004. The authors of the book reply to his criticisms.

Third glossary of technical terms related to the evaluation of interventions 188Kb PDF file

Updated and additional scientific and statistical definitions adapted to the

Contributor: Mike Ashton
National Council M A G A Z I N E
A quarterly publication from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

Treating Addiction Disorders

In This Issue

Linda Rosenberg

Maureen Fitzgerald

Steven Belenko

Lawrence Schonfeld

Eric Goplerud

Allison Fort

Pat Bridgman

Robert Lubran

Jeff Smart and Boyd Bastian

Beverly Watts Davis

Lea Ann Browning McNee

Kathleen Sciacca


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Contributor: Don Phillips