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, November 17, 2007

Evidence for a closing gender gap in alcohol use, abuse, and dependence in the United States population Drug and Alcohol Dependence , Article in Press, Corrected Proof, 5 November 2007

Descriptively, male–female differences in alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders appear to have decreased in birth cohorts reaching adulthood since the 1970s compared to earlier birth cohorts. However, such birth cohort effects on gender differences have never been statistically tested in nationally representative data.

The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that gender differences in alcohol consumption, abuse, and dependence are decreasing over time.

Birth cohort and gender interacted significantly in predicting lifetime largest drinks, frequent binge drinking, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence Cohort-specific ORs indicated monotonic decreases in the gender ratio in more recent birth cohorts for all outcomes.

These results suggest that gender differences in the prevalence of all four outcomes are decreasing in younger age cohorts. While these changes are consistent with a cohort effect, the possibility of age and period effects cannot be ruled out but suggest important avenues for more specific hypothesis testing. Further, women in younger cohorts may be in need of new targeted prevention and intervention efforts.

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News Release - Improving public health
14 November 2007

Minister for Public Health Shona Robison today highlighted the work that has been done over the first six months by the Scottish Government to improve the public health of Scotland and what her future priorities are.
. . . . . .

Speaking ahead of the Scottish Affairs Committee Annual Public Health Conference she is attending tomorrow, Ms Robison said:

"I am delighted to have this opportunity to set out the Scottish Government's key priorities for improving public health, and to reflect on what has been achieved over the past six months.

"Sustaining and improving good health is essential in order for Scotland to achieve its full potential - inequalities are an obstacle to achieving that potential.

"To have a healthy Scotland, we must support people to live longer, healthier lives.

"Since June, we have taken forward a number of initiatives which I have no doubt will improve public health for all, but over the coming months there is even more that we need to do.

"We know that tackling alcohol misuse is the top priority for improving public health.
. . . . . .

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The human GABAA receptor α2 gene moderates the acute effects of alcohol and brain mRNA expression
Genes, Brain and Behavior (OnlineAccepted Articles). 13 November 2007

γ-Aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptors moderate several of the behavioral effects of alcohol. In fact, recent studies have demonstrated an association between the gene for the α2 subunit of the GABAA receptor (GABRA2) and alcoholism.

In the present study, we examined the functional relevance of the GABRA2 gene in alcohol dependence by assessing brain GABRA2 mRNA and GABAA α2 subunit protein levels in post-mortem prefrontal cortical tissue collected from control and alcohol dependent individuals.

In addition, using an endophenotype approach, we tested whether the GABRA2 gene moderates sensitivity to the acute effects of alcohol in two independent samples from distinct human alcohol challenge studies.

Results indicated that GABRA2 mRNA levels significantly differed by GABRA2 genotype. GABRA2 single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs573400, rs279871, rs279858) were significantly associated with sensitivity to the acute effects of alcohol. Specifically, there was a significant main effect of GABRA2 x Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) on several measures of subjective responses to alcohol, including the hedonic value of alcohol. Importantly, re-analysis of a previous intravenous alcohol administration study confirmed the results of the oral alcohol challenge study.

In summary, these results extend previous findings and provide new insight into the putative biobehavioral mechanisms that may moderate the association between the GABRA2 gene, sensitivity to the acute effects of alcohol, and ultimately alcohol dependence.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Press Release - Ofcom and ASA publish research on the impact of alcohol advertising rules
16 November 2007

Ofcom and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have today jointly published a research report on the impact of alcohol advertising on young people following the tightening of the Advertising Codes in October 2005.

The new rules were designed to make alcohol advertisements less appealing to the under 18s and, in particular, to prevent alcohol advertisements from being associated with or reflecting youth culture.

Ofcom, together with its co-regulatory partner, ASA, jointly commissioned a two-part research project to examine the appeal of alcohol advertisements to under-18s.

The aim of the first wave of research published in December 2005 was to establish the appeal of alcohol advertising to young people, and was created as a benchmark against which the impact of the new rules could be assessed.

The second wave of research aimed to evaluate the impact of the tightened Codes and the changes to the alcohol market over the last two years.

Ofcom and ASA deliberately set tough criteria for choosing which ads would be included in the research. This means that the research looked at the appeal of ads aimed at the younger end of the legitimate market, but whose appeal might also extend to those under the age of 18. In 2007 finding such ads was more difficult, suggesting that the new codes have already had an effect on marketing techniques.

Key findings from the second part of the research published today show:

  • Alcoholic drink suppliers have shifted their advertising spend away from television with a reduction of 26.2% on TV compared to a 2.9% fall via all media from 2005-2007.
  • Children and young adults are being exposed to fewer alcohol advertisements on television. Between 2002 and 2006 advertising impacts fell by 31% for 16-24 year olds and 39% for 10-15 year olds.
  • There has been a significant decline in the proportion of young people saying that they feel alcohol adverts are aimed at them.
  • Young people do feel advertisements make the drink look appealing and that the adverts will encourage people to drink, with 34% believing this to be the case in 2007 compared with 25% in 2005.
  • There has been a significant decline in young people’s recall of alcohol adverts, with unprompted mentions of alcohol ads remembered down from an average of 3.95 ads remembered to 3.31.
. . . . . . .

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Young People and Alcohol Advertising
An investigation of alcohol advertising following changes to the Advertising Code

16 November 2007
  • The main objective of this research is to measure the extent to which the changes to the alcohol advertising rules made in 2005 may have impacted on the appeal of a selection of alcohol advertisements to people under the age of 18 years. The research specifically deals with the Advertising Standards Code changes to television advertising of alcohol.

  • This report contains findings of the research conducted post-regulatory change among 11-21 year olds in the UK. The study has been designed in a similar way to the benchmarking study published in 2005 and the main objective and methodology remains the same – investigating the appeal of a selection of alcohol advertisements using qualitative and quantitative research techniques.
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Optimal brain network synchrony visualization: Application in an alcoholism paradigm.
Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2007;1:4285-4288.

Although Electroencephalographic (EEG) signal synchronization studies have been a topic of increasing interest lately, there is no similar effort in the visualization of such measures.

In this direction a graph-theoretic approach devised to study and stress the coupling dynamics of task-performing dynamical networks is proposed. Both linear and nonlinear interdependence measures are investigated in an alcoholism paradigm during mental rehearsal of pictures, which is known to reflect synchronization impairment. More specifically, the widely used magnitude squared coherence; phase synchronization and a robust nonlinear state-space generalized synchronization assessment method are investigated.

This paper mostly focuses on a signal-based technique of selecting the optimal visualization threshold using surrogate datasets to correctly identify the most significant correlation patterns. Furthermore, a graph statistical parameter attempts to capture and quantify collective motifs present in the functional brain network.

The results are in accordance with previous psychophysiology studies suggesting that an alcoholic subject has impaired synchronization of brain activity and loss of lateralization during the rehearsal process, most prominently in alpha (8-12 Hz) band, as compared to a control subject. Lower beta (13-30 Hz) synchronization was also evident in the alcoholic subject.

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News and Notes from the General Service Office of A.A.®
Vol. 53, No. 5 / October-November 2007

  • Coming in Young and Staying Sober in A.A.
In a trend that extends back decades, ever greater numbers of problem drinkers in their teens are recovering in Alcoholics Anonymous.
. . . . . .
  • Reminder: Résumés for Trustees Election due Jan. 1, 2008

Two new Class B (alcoholic) trustees—from the West Central U.S. and Western Canada—will be nominated at the General Service Conference in April 2008. Résumés must be received at G.S.O. no later than January 1, 2008, and must be submitted by delegates only.
. . . . . .

  • After Six Years in the Works, Hebrew Big Book Makes Its Appearance
A Hebrew translation of the Big Book, a project an Israeli A.A. member embarked on in 2001, has now been published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc.
. . . . . .

  • Anonymity Resonates More than Ever in Today’s Transparent World
Because A.A. has given thousands of alcoholics their very lives back, some thoughtful people are questioning our continued adherence to anonymity. In an era when the electronic media can be used with lightning speed to reach and inform so many people, they wonder if perhaps our Anonymity Tradition keeps us from connecting with the alcoholic still in pain. But informed by the lessons of our history, most members believe that individual recovery in A.A. comes first; and that the Anonymity Tradition more than ever gives us a way to reign in our drive for
power and prestige—in short, the spiritual sacrifice received by anonymity helps us to stay sober.

. . . . . .

  • Guarding Anonymity Online: Questions Members Ask
Sharing one-to-one in sobriety is as old and healing as the Fellowship itself. But in cyberspace, privacy is not to be taken for granted. Because communication flows from one alcoholic to another in ways that are high-tech, relatively open-ended and evolving faster than you can say Alcoholics Anonymous, protecting anonymity is a major concern for members, who are accessing the Internet in ever-growing numbers. Here are some of the questions they most frequently ask the General Service Office, along with responses that reflect the collective experience of A.A.s across the U.S. and Canada:
. . . . . .

  • Local Forums to Replace Special Forums
Special Forums, the scaled-down versions of Regional Forums, are being replaced by a new type of gathering called Local Forums. As was the case with Special Forums,
the purpose of Local Forums is to provide a Forum experience to A.A. members unable to attend a regular Regional Forum.

  • Workshop Promotes Communication Between Spanish A.A. and Area
A major aim of the Spanish Literature Workshop, organized by Area 44 (Northern New Jersey), was to promote contact between Spanish-speaking A.A. members and the area service structure.
. . . . . .

  • ‘I Am an Alcoholic.’ Who Said it First?
Who was the first to start a meeting or a qualification with the statement, “I am an alcoholic”? How did the worldwide custom begin? As late co-founder Bill W. used
to observe, “Nobody invented A.A., it just grew.” And so probably did its classic introduction at meetings.
. . . . . .

  • Putting Gratitude into Action

The premium that A.A. members put on gratitude led tothe custom of designating November as “gratitude month.” (In Canada, it’s October.)
. . . . . .

  • A.A. Guidelines Reflect Shared A.A. Experience

Information on topics of demonstrated interest to A.A. members is contained in the A.A. Guidelines. These two-to-four-page yellow printed sheets reflect extensive
shared A.A. experience. There are Guidelines on 16 topics, ranging from the relationship between A.A. and Al-Anon to Treatment Facilities Committees. They are available in Spanish, French, and English.
. . . . . .

  • Head Trauma Facility Site of A.A. Meeting
In A. A. there are no special groups, but there are individuals with special needs. As Pat L., of Albany, New York, chair of the Special Needs Committee of District 1, New
York, Hudson/Mohawk/Berkshire Area, has learned firsthand helping to fulfill such needs has made service in the Fellowship “an incredibly rewarding experience.”
. . . . . . .

  • Foreign-Language Big Books Carry Message for Small Group
The display of Big Books in various languages at the Into Action Group in New York City grew over time, and has had an impact in carrying A.A.’s message of recovery.
. . . . . .

  • Going Out on a LIM Keeps Sobriety High

“Thank God for LIM” (the bimonthly Loners- Internationalist Meeting in print), says Marty M. of New Brighton, Pennsylvania. “As my husband, Morris, and I learned in A.A., in order to keep our sobriety we need to give away what we learned from [A.A. co-founders] Dr. Bob and Bill. Sobriety gives us many bl ssings, and being LIM correspondents for more than 20 years has contributed hugely to them.”
. . . . . . .

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New Technical Assistance Publication Available

Tap 29 Cover

The newest Technical Assistance Publication (TAP), titled Integrating State Administrative Records To Manage Substance Abuse Treatment System Performance, describes the utility and practice of integrating the information available in State agency data sets with information on clients of alcohol and drug abuse services.

Developed with guidance from an advisory group of State and Federal representatives and field researchers, this TAP provides both implementation and technical guidance for developing integrated data systems to monitor performance, improve service quality, and use integrated data as a management tool.

Integrating State Administrative Records To Manage Substance Abuse Treatment System Performance (SMA07-4268)

Download Your Free Copy Now! PDF (6MB)


Order Your Free Copy Now!

Learn More

New Online Multi-Language Resources

The Multi-Language Initiative (MLI) of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) has released new publications for members of non–English-speaking groups or those with limited English-language abilities.

MLI presents new adaptations of What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families, created for Chinese-, Vietnamese-, and Korean-language audiences. The publication answers questions often asked by family members and significant others of people entering treatment and includes a list of support groups.

Additional MLI products available in Spanish, Russian, and Navajo can be downloaded from the KAP website.

Download MLI Products Now:

New Navajo-Language Products:

New Russian-Language Products:

New Chinese-, Korean-, and Vietnamese-Language Products:


The NSDUH Report: Depression and the Initiation of Alcohol and Other Drug Use among Young Adults


  • Major depressive episodes in lifetime or past year were assessed in SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health among young adults aged 18 to 25. A major depressive episode was defined using the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria which specifies a period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning (such as problems with sleeping, eating, energy, concentration, and self image).
  • Data from SAMHSA's National Surveys on Drug Use and Health were used to examine the following among young adults in the past year: major depressive episode, initiation of alcohol or illicit drug use, and the association between such new alcohol and/or illicit drug use and major depressive episode.
  • Combined data from SAMHSA's 2005 and 2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health found an annual average of 9.4% of young adults (about 3 million) had experienced at least one major depressive episode during the past year. Rates of major depressive episode varied by gender, racial group, and Hispanic status.
  • About 1.5 million young adults (25.1% of the young adults who had not used alcohol previously) used alcohol for the first time in the past year.
  • About 870,000 young adults (6.1% of the young adults who had not used an illicit drug previously) used at least one illicit drug in the past year.
  • Among young adults who had not used alcohol previously, 33.7% of those with a major depressive episode started using alcohol compared with 24.8% of the young adults who had not experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.
  • Among young adults who had not used any illicit drug previously, those who experienced a major depressive episode in the past year were twice as likely to have initiated use of an illicit drug than young adults who had not experienced a major depressive episode in the past year (12.0% vs. 5.8%).
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Relationship between dysmorphic features and general cognitive function in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A, arly View 13 November 2007

Prenatal alcohol exposure may adversely affect fetal development, causing growth restriction, distinctive craniofacial anomalies, and central nervous system dysfunction. The continuum of associated adverse fetal outcomes is most accurately termed fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

The purpose of this study was to further clarify the relationship between dysmorphic features and general cognitive capacity in a study on Finnish children with FASD.

Our results show a significant correlation between the total dysmorphology score and cognitive capacity was found, suggesting that children with more severe growth deficiency and dysmorphic features have more cognitive limitations. Birth measures of length and weight correlated with general cognitive capacity. Head circumference correlated only with Performance IQ.

These findings imply an inverse relationship between growth deficiency/dysmorphic features and cognitive function in children with FASD. Although the correlations are significant, the data suggest that in individual cases, the TDS cannot reliably predict cognitive function in later life.

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Doctors call for end to cheap alcohol
By James Kirkup and Nic Fleming


Increasing numbers of people are suffering serious liver disease as a result of Britain's heavy drinking culture, doctors warned yesterday.

The new figures were released as pressure mounted on the Government to act against supermarkets selling alcohol at knock-down prices, in some cases for as little as 22p for a can of lager.

Leading doctors and charities highlighted the steep rises in alcoholic liver cirrhosis and drink-related deaths as they launched the Alcohol Health Alliance, which brings together 24 health groups to lobby for changes in drinking laws.
. . . . . . .

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Namibia: Villagers Drown Their Sorrows in Alcohol


On Monday, Rundu was blazing with the scorching sun. The temperatures soared close to 40 degrees Celsius. It was not even noon yet, and most of the people in the informal settlement of Ndama, were gathered under the trees, drunk, as they continued to sip the whole day long on their favourite home-brewed concoction, mutoho.

Mutoho or muheturo (when sugar is added) is an alcoholic sorghum beer whose overuse many villagers are battling to overcome. The Kavango Region has the highest poverty and unemployment rate in the country, accompanied by other social ills such as illiteracy, and most significantly HIV/AIDS not to mention alcohol abuse.

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Profound Decreases in Dopamine Release in Striatum in Detoxified Alcoholics: Possible Orbitofrontal Involvement
The Journal of Neuroscience, November 14, 2007, 27(46):12700-12706;

The value of rewards (natural rewards and drugs) is associated with dopamine increases in the nucleus accumbens and varies as a function of context. The prefrontal cortex has been implicated in the context dependency of rewards and in the fixated high value that drugs have in addiction, although the mechanisms are not properly understood.

Here we test the hypothesis that the prefrontal cortex regulates the value of rewards by modulating dopamine increases in nucleus accumbens and that this regulation is disrupted in addicted subjects.

We used positron emission tomography to evaluate the activity of the prefrontal cortex (measuring brain glucose metabolism with [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose) and dopamine increases (measured with [11C]raclopride, a D2/D3 receptor ligand with binding that is sensitive to endogenous dopamine) induced by the stimulant drug methylphenidate in 20 controls and 20 detoxified alcoholics, most of whom smoked.

In all subjects, methylphenidate significantly increased dopamine in striatum. In ventral striatum (where the nucleus accumbens is located) and in putamen, dopamine increases were associated with the rewarding effects of methylphenidate (drug liking and high) and were profoundly attenuated in alcoholics (70 and 50% lower than controls, respectively). In controls, but not in alcoholics, metabolism in orbitofrontal cortex (region involved with salience attribution) was negatively associated with methylphenidate-induced dopamine increases in ventral striatum.

These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the orbitofrontal cortex modulates the value of rewards by regulating the magnitude of dopamine increases in the ventral striatum and that disruption of this regulation may underlie the decreased sensitivity to rewards in addicted subjects.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Systematic review of the fetal effects of prenatal binge-drinking
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2007;61:1069-1073

The effects of binge-drinking during pregnancy on the fetus and child have been an increasing concern for clinicians and policy-makers. This study reviews the available evidence from human observational studies.

Adverse outcomes considered in this study included miscarriage; stillbirth; intrauterine growth restriction; prematurity; birth-weight; small for gestational age at birth; and birth defects, including fetal alcohol syndrome and neurodevelopmental effects.

The search resulted in 3630 titles and abstracts, which were narrowed down to 14 relevant papers. There were no consistently significant effects of alcohol on any of the outcomes considered. There was a possible effect on neurodevelopment. Many of the reported studies had methodological weaknesses despite being assessed as having reasonable quality.

This systematic review found no convincing evidence of adverse effects of prenatal binge-drinking, except possibly on neurodevelopmental outcomes.

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New laws 'fail to curb binge drinking'
By Rebecca Smith and Nic Fleming


All-day drinking laws introduced by Labour are condemned today by leading academics for failing to curb Britain's culture of binge drinking.

Deaths from alcohol have doubled since the early 1990s, according to a major study, but the Government has ignored authoritative evidence over the way to tackle the dangers of drinking.

Measures to combat binge drinking have failed and the controversial move to relax licensing laws must be reviewed, says the report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

It says tax on alcohol must be increased and the hours that bars and shops are allowed to sell drink should be restricted.
. . . . . . .

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New Coalition Calls For Tougher Measures On Alcohol, UK
13 November 2007

A new coalition launched today is calling on the Government to do more to prevent the rise in alcohol-related diseases. The Alcohol Health Alliance UK is a ground-breaking coalition of 24 organisations whose mission is to reduce the damage caused to health by alcohol misuse and who will work together to:

- Highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related health harm
- Propose evidence-based solutions to reduce this harm
- Influence decision makers to take positive action to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse
. . . . . .

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Public health: ethical issues
Nuffield Council on Bioethics

Published: Tue, 13 November 2007

This report considers the responsibilities of government, industry, individuals and others in promoting the health of everyone. The Council concludes that the state has a particular duty to help people lead a healthy life and to reduce inequalities. We propose a ‘stewardship model’, which outlines how this can be achieved. The report considers the acceptability of different public health measures, and highlights the responsibilities of industries that promote products that affect our health.

Recommendations for policy are made in four areas:

  • Infectious disease
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Fluoridation of water
Download Full Report (PDF) _______________________________________________________________

Monday, November 12, 2007

Regression to the mean in substance use disorder treatment research
Addiction (OnlineEarly Articles) 12 November 2007

Regression to the mean (RTM) refers to the tendency for a group of cases that differ from the population mean to move (regress) towards the mean, on average, when re-assessed, if scores at the two points are less than perfectly correlated. T

his paper considers factors that affect the magnitude of RTM and how RTM may impact findings from primary studies and reviews of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.

The paper is guided largely by A Primer on Regression Artifacts by Campbell and Kenny. It reviews potential RTM effects in three areas of SUD treatment research. One is the extent to which within-group improvement in comparative treatment trials, including ‘placebo effects’, is a function of RTM. The second is the vulnerability of treatment evaluations employing non-equivalent control group designs to RTM and biased estimates of treatment effects when matching, or statistical equating is used to adjust for pre-existing group differences. The final issue is the impact of RTM in syntheses of research findings on SUD treatments. In particular, the tendency for later studies of a particular intervention to have smaller treatment effect sizes relative to earlier studies is considered as an RTM phenomenon.

Findings RTM is a pervasive, but often unrecognized phenomenon that can bias findings in SUD treatment studies and in systematic reviews of that research.

Conclusion SUD treatment researchers should be aware of RTM, take any available steps to reduce it, and try to diagnose whether it is still affecting research findings.

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Conditional models accounting for regression to the mean in observational multi-wave panel studies on alcohol consumption
Addiction (OnlineEarly Articles). 8 November 2007

To develop statistical methodology needed for studying whether effects of an acute-onset intervention differ by consumption group that accounts correctly for the effect of regression to the mean (RTM) in observational panel studies with three or more measurement waves.

A general statistical modelling framework, based on conditional models, is presented for analysing alcohol panel data with three or more measurements, that models the dependence between initial drinking level and change in consumption controlling for RTM. The method is illustrated by panel data from Finland, southern Sweden and Denmark, where the effects of large changes in alcohol taxes and travellers' allowances were studied.

The suggested model allows for drawing statistical inference of the parameters of interest and also the identification of non-linear effects of an intervention by initial consumption using standard statistical software modelling tools. There was no evidence in any of the countries of the changes being larger among heavy drinkers, but in southern Sweden there was evidence that light drinkers raised their level of consumption.

Conditional models are a versatile modelling framework that offers a flexible tool for modelling and testing changes due to intervention in consumption by initial consumption while controlling simultaneously for RTM.

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Substance abuse in pregnant women. Experiences from a special child welfare clinic in Norway
BMC Public Health 2007, 7:322, 11 November 2007

Substance abuse during pregnancy may harm the foetus and can cause neonatal abstinence syndrome. Exposure to alcohol and other substances can influence the child for the rest of its life.

A special child welfare clinic was set up in 1994 in Kristiansand, Norway, targeting pregnant women with substance abuse problems in the county of Vest-Agder. Pregnancy is not an indication for opioid replacement therapy in Norway, and one of the clinic's aims was to support the drug dependent women through their pregnancy without any replacements.

The object of this paper is to describe concurrent health and social problems, as well as the predictors for stopping drug abuse, in the clinic's user group.

Four (4.5 percent) of the women that completed their pregnancies did not manage to reduce their substance abuse. All the others reduced their substance abuse considerably. The odds ratio for stopping substance abuse within the first trimester was significantly associated with stopping smoking (O.R. 9.7) or being victims of rape (O.R. 5.3).

A low cost and low threshold initiative organised as a child welfare clinic may support women with substance abuse problems in their efforts to stop or reduce their substance abuse during pregnancy.

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Hospital admission for acute pancreatitis in the Irish population, 1997–2004: could the increase be due to an increase in alcohol-related pancreatitis?
Journal of Public Health 2007 29(4):398-404

To investigate trends in the incidence of acute pancreatitis by examining emergency admissions to acute public hospitals over an 8-year period; to compare trends for alcohol-related pancreatitis admissions with biliary tract-related admissions and to profile the patients admitted with an acute pancreatitis diagnosis.

There were 6291 emergency admissions with a principal diagnosis of acute pancreatitis during the 8 year study period, with 622 admissions in 1997 compared to 959 admissions in 2004, an increase of 54.1%. Age standardized rates rose significantly from 17.5 per 100 000 population in 1997 to 23.6 per 100 000 in 2004, . There were 1205 admissions with alcohol misuse recorded as a co-morbidity increasing from 13.9% (87/622) of acute pancreatitis admissions in 1997 to 23.2% (223/959) in 2004. This increase was significantly greater than the increase observed for biliary tract disease-related admissions, 19.6% (122/622) in 1997 to 23.5% (225/959) in 2004.

Rates for total acute pancreatitis admissions were highest in those aged 70 years and over; the majority (3563, 56.6%) of the admissions were male with a mean age of 51.1 years (SD 19.9); the mean age for male admissions was significantly younger than for female admissions .

However, for alcohol-related admissions, rates were highest in those aged 30–49 years and patients admitted with alcohol misuse recorded were significantly younger than those who did not have alcohol misuse recorded. Median length of stay was 7 days.

Hospital admissions for acute pancreatitis rose from 17.5 per 100 000 population in 1997 to 23.6 per 100 000 in 2004. The proportion of admissions that had alcohol misuse recorded as a co-morbidity rose more markedly than those with biliary tract disease and the rise was more pronounced in younger age groups.

The increasing trend in alcohol-related acute pancreatitis parallels the rise in per capita alcohol consumption. Given the continuing rise in binge drinking, particularly among young people, this is a cause for concern.

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SAMHSA Bulletin - New Web Page Helps Users Identify Evidence-Based Programs

November 12, 2007

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has developed a new Web page to assist the public in identifying evidence-based programs and practices that can prevent and/or treat mental and substance use disorders. Debuting online today, A Guide to Evidence-Based Practices on the Web at features 37 Web sites that contain information about specific evidence-based interventions or provide comprehensive reviews of research findings.
. . . . . .

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Editorial - Time please gentlemen

November 12, 2007

PREMIER John Brumby has correctly identified alcohol as Victoria's most serious social problem and the greatest threat to our young people.

Statistics Mr Brumby describes as alarming confirm this legal drug creates more widespread problems than illicit drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines and heroin.

In an interview with the Herald Sun to mark his first 100 days in office, Mr Brumby reveals he has called for an alcohol action plan for early next year. It's not a moment too soon.

There has been a massive increase in people being treated for alcohol-related problems, and this belated recognition of the scale of the problem is welcome.
. . . . . .

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Help services flooded by alcoholics

Shannon Mcrae

November 12, 2007

VICTORIANS are flooding health services seeking help for their drinking problems in alarming numbers.

More people addicted to alcohol are presenting to over-stretched health services in Victoria than those struggling with any other drug.

Health services treat double the number of alcoholics than those addicted to heroin, and a third more people want help to kick the bottle than those who are hooked on cannabis.

State government figures show 10,733 Victorians went to health services with drinking problems last year, an increase of more than 3000 from five years ago.
. . . . . .

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Brumby declares war on alcohol abuse

Ellen Whinnett

November 12, 2007

A TOP-LEVEL taskforce has been set up to attack spiralling alcohol abuse in Victoria. Premier John Brumby has declared alcoholism the most serious social problem in the state.
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Supermarket beer cheaper than water
By Sophie Borland


Supermarkets are selling beer at a cheaper price than bottled water and risk fuelling the binge-drinking crisis, it has been claimed.

Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda now offer lager at just 22p a can, which is significantly less per pint than own-brand bottled water.

The major supermarkets are locked in a fierce price war which means that in some cases cans are so cheap that the stores actually pay more in excise duties than they charge at the till.
. . . . . .

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Alcohol health group criticised

The drinks industry has launched an attack on new campaign group, the Alcohol Health Alliance, even before it has been fully established.

The group will involve more than 20 health organisations and it is thought it will lobby for tighter regulation of the industry and higher tax on alcohol.

Five drinks industry bodies have written to the alliance warning its campaign could make matters worse.
. . . . . . .

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