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 19, 2008

Ethanol’s Molecular Targets
Sci. Signal., 15 July 2008
Vol. 1, Issue 28, p. re7

Ethanol produces a wide variety of behavioral and physiological effects in the body, but exactly how it acts to produce these effects is still poorly understood.

Although ethanol was long believed to act nonspecifically through the disordering of lipids in cell membranes, proteins are at the core of most current theories of its mechanisms of action.

Although ethanol affects various biochemical processes such as neurotransmitter release, enzyme function, and ion channel kinetics, we are only beginning to understand the specific molecular sites to which ethanol molecules bind to produce these myriad effects.

For most effects of ethanol characterized thus far, it is unknown whether the protein whose function is being studied actually binds ethanol, or if alcohol is instead binding to another protein that then indirectly affects the functioning of the protein being studied.

In this Review, we describe criteria that should be considered when identifying alcohol binding sites and highlight a number of proteins for which there exists considerable molecular-level evidence for distinct ethanol binding sites.

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Watershed ban on alcohol advertising could be too costly, Government memo warns

Radical plans to ban all alcohol adverts on television before 9pm could be dropped amid fears the move would cripple advertising companies and broadcasters

The Department of Health and the Home Office are set to publish their long-awaited independent review into the link between alcohol prices, promotions and the harm to health caused by alcohol abuse.

One of the most popular suggestions put forward by campaigners was to strengthen the existing restrictions against drink adverts on television.

Currently, no beer, spirits or wine commercials can be aired during shows watched predominantly by children. However, various programmes very popular with youngsters, such as sitcoms and soap operas, are free from these restrictions because adults make up the majority of the audience.

A blanket pre-9pm ban has been ruled out by officials in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, it is understood.

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Gene found that limits alcohol risk

  • The Observer,
  • Sunday July 20, 2008

British researchers discover genetic make-up of one in four could reduce dangers of drinking

As many as one in four Britons have a much-reduced risk of developing alcohol-related cancer thanks to their genetic make-up, scientists have discovered. Researchers have identified two genes that quickly flush alcohol out of the system, thus reducing its carcinogenic effect. People carrying one or both of the genes may have only half the chance of developing mouth, throat and oesophageal cancers that are strongly associated with drinking.

The genes involved are rare versions of ADH7 and ADH1B. The ADH range of genes help the body to process alcohol. Everyone carries two versions of each of these genes, one inherited from each parent, but only 15 to 20 per cent of the UK population have ADH7, while around another 5 per cent have ADH1B.

A study of 9,000 people has shown for the first time that people carrying one or both of these rare gene variants have a much lower risk of getting head or neck cancer than those who have the common versions. For example, those with ADH1B have only half the chance of developing such cancers and people with ADH7 are at a 32 per cent reduced risk.

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The genomic determinants of alcohol preference in mice
Mammalian Genome Online First 19 June 2008

Searches for the identity of genes that influence the levels of alcohol consumption by humans and other animals have often been driven by presupposition of the importance of particular gene products in determining positively or negatively reinforcing effects of ethanol.

We have taken an unbiased approach and performed a meta-analysis across three types of mouse populations to correlate brain gene expression with levels of alcohol intake. Our studies, using filtering procedures based on QTL analysis, produced a list of eight candidate genes with highly heritable expression, which could explain a significant amount of the variance in alcohol preference in mice.

Using the Allen Brain Atlas for gene expression, we noted that the candidate genes’ expression was localized to the olfactory and limbic areas as well as to the orbitofrontal cortex. Informatics techniques and pathway analysis illustrated the role of the candidate genes in neuronal migration, differentiation, and synaptic remodeling.

The importance of olfactory cues, learning and memory formation (Pavlovian conditioning), and cortical executive function, for regulating alcohol intake by animals (including humans), is discussed.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Statistics on Discharges From Substance Abuse Treatment Services for 2005

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is issuing its latest Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report on Discharges from Substance Treatment Services which provides a myriad of information on substance abuse treatment episodes at state licensed treatment facilities across the country.

The 2005 TEDS Discharges from Substance Treatment Services report is the latest in a series of yearly reports that not only provide overall figures for the 34 states that report discharge data to TEDS, but also break this information down into a wide variety of programmatic and demographic criteria that can help provide greater perspective on the experiences of those who have undergone substance abuse treatment.

Among the notable findings in this latest report:
 The treatment completion rate was highest among clients discharged from hospital residential treatment (67 percent), detoxification (65 percent) and short-term residential treatment (56%). Treatment completion rates were lower in longer term and less-structured settings.
 Not counting discharges receiving opioid replacement therapy (methadone), the median length of stay in treatment was greatest for discharges from outpatient treatment (76 days), followed by long-term residential treatment (53 days) and intensive outpatient treatment (46 days).
 The strongest predictor of treatment completion was the use of alcohol rather than other drugs. Clients discharged from all types of service combined were 82 percent more likely to complete treatment or transfer to further treatment if their primary substance was alcohol, after taking into account all other characteristics.

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Incorporating the Family as a Critical Context in Genetic Studies of Children: Implications for Understanding Pathways to Risky Behavior and Substance Use
Journal of Pediatric Psychology Advance Access published online on June 12, 2008

The availability of candidate gene markers for biobehavioral traits will undoubtedly result in increasing attention to genetic influences in studies of childhood risk factors for health behaviors. However, a strict emphasis on genomics without consideration of the social contexts that give rise to risky behaviors will miss opportunities to understand more fully the powerful effect of the family on childhood development.

This article discusses the rationale for using the family as a critical context for studying the translation of genetic propensity for risky behavior into developmental pathways that span childhood and adolescence.

Attention is given to the importance of family environmental factors; the emerging literature on genetic influences on potential intermediate phenotypes; the need for rich and detailed characterizations of both phenotypes and environmental risk factors embedded within genomic studies of children; and implications for interventions and preventions aimed at risky behaviors.

Via discussion of these issues, pragmatic considerations of how studying families as a context may facilitate the thoughtful inclusion of children into genetic paradigms are emphasized.

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SABMiller launches

SABMiller has launched – a comprehensive guide to alcohol from how beer is made to the health and social considerations about alcohol.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


This report summarizes fiscal year 2006 KTOS findings regarding the outcomes of substance abuse treatment in Kentucky. Unlike most studies of treatment effectiveness, the KTOS study examines the outcomes of treatment as it is provided in community practice. That is, the treatment providers are not instructed to use a specific intervention or clinical approach and the services include a wide array of outpatient, intensive outpatient and residential types.

Data are collected at intake and a sample of former clients was interviewed by research staff at CDAR 12 months after the intake interviews. This report includes follow-up data on a sample of 906 substance abuse treatment clients in Kentucky who consented to participate and who had been in treatment between July 2005 and June 2006. There was a follow-up rate of 65.3%.
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Executive Summary
Section One
Section Two
Section Three
Section Four
Section Five & Six

French Combat Youth Binge-Drinking


Thursday, July 17, 2008

In decrying the excessive alcohol consumption of their compatriots, American and British health experts have long pointed to France with special admiration. Here, they said, was a society that masters moderate drinking. In wine-sipping France, the argument went, libation is just a small part of the broad festival of life, not the mind-altering prerequisite for a good time. The French don't wink like the English do at double-fisted drinking; they scorn people who lose control and get drunk in public. It's a neat argument. But it sounds a little Pollyannish now that France itself is grappling with widespread binge-drinking among its youth.
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Mental disorders and mental health care in Canada and Australia: comparative epidemiological findings
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology Online Fist 15 July 2008

Canada and Australia although geographically distant have similarities in human geography and history. Each has had a national mental health policy for some years, but Australia has driven policy implementation in this area harder than has Canada.

Comparable epidemiological surveys from Australia in 1997 and Canada in 2002 allow us to explore relative rates of mental disorders and compare estimates of access to care from mental health services.

Differences in prevalence rates and in service utilisation emerge between the two countries: Anxiety Disorders are estimated as almost 2% higher in Canada than in Australia while there is suggestion that Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Dependence and Drug Dependence may be more prevalent in Australia. More of the people with co-morbid disorders in Australia than in Canada make use of mental health services and a finding of marginal significance suggests that this may be true across all disorders.

Causation cannot be determined from this study but possible explanations for differences in prevalence include changes in global economic, political and security contexts and concerns between 1997 and 2002 and the possible role of greater availability of alcohol in Australia. The findings also provide encouragement that strenuously implementing a national mental health policy may have been of benefit to people with mental health problems in Australia.

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Drug Use, Smoking and Drinking among young people in England 2007

This survey is the latest in a series designed to monitor smoking, drinking and drug use among secondary school pupils aged 11 to 15. Information was obtained from 7,831 pupils in 273 schools throughout England in the autumn term of 2007.

Drinking alcohol

The proportion of 11 to 15 year olds who have never drunk alcohol has risen in recent years, from 39% in 2003 to 46% in 2007. More than half of pupils aged between 11 and 15 have had at least one alcoholic drink in their lifetimes. This increases with age from 20% of 11 year olds to 81% of 15 year olds.

There has been a corresponding decline in the proportion of pupils who have drunk alcohol in the last seven days. In 2007, one in five (20%) of pupils said they had drunk alcohol in the last week; this is similar for boys and girls. The proportion who have drunk in the last week increases with age from 3% of 11 year olds to 41% of 15 year olds. White pupils are more likely to have drunk alcohol recently than those from minority ethnic groups.

Since 2000, average consumption among pupils who did drink has varied from year to year with no clear pattern. In 2007, average consumption was lower than in 2006.

The method of calculating pupils’ alcohol consumption in units has been revised this year in line with other surveys. Using the revised method of calculating consumption, pupils who drank alcohol in the last week consumed an average of 12.7 units, equivalent to over six pints of normal strength beer or nearly one and a half bottles of wine. Boys tend to drink more than girls and older pupils than younger ones.

Recent drinking is associated with other risky behaviours. Smokers and pupils who have taken drugs have increased odds of having drunk alcohol within the last week. Pupils who have a history of truancy or exclusion from school are also more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last seven days.

The report includes further information about the frequency of pupils’ drinking, and types of alcohol drunk.

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New tax reform to cut alcohol prices - except for whiskey

Although Israel's exorbitant taxation on whiskey has upset even British Ambassador Tom Phillips, taxes on other alcoholic beverages are expected to be reduced soon, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

In a new reform due to be adopted in a few months, all brands of alcohol will have the same tax per liter, instead of higher taxes only for luxury brands, according to Dan Leeor, managing director of the Scottish Trading Company, which imports wine and spirits.

The tax reform will take place over the course of three years, and prices will be reduced each year. After three years, the tax on alcoholic beverages will be NIS 37 per one liter of pure alcohol, according to Leeor. For example, an 80-proof bottle of vodka (which means it is 40 percent alcohol) would be taxed 40% of the NIS 37.

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Press Release - NCL Challenges Myth that Some Alcoholic Beverages Are 'Safer' and 'Less Potent'

July 16, 2008

New Initiative Underscores Need for New Alcohol Label

Washington, DC – For the many Americans confused about the potency of different alcoholic beverages, one of the most respected national consumer organizations has this important message: it is a myth that beer and wine are not as strong as the typical cocktail. Standard serving sizes of all alcohol beverages -- beer, wine, and distilled spirits -- are equal in alcohol strength and their effect on the body.

Because even the most basic information about alcohol content is not clearly and consistently listed on the labels of beer, wine and distilled spirits products, the National Consumers League is going public with Alcohol: How It All Adds Up, a new initiative challenging the myth that some alcoholic beverages are “safer” and less “potent” than others. According to the League, this belief is pervasive and linked with the overconsumption of alcohol and the permissive attitudes of some parents about underage drinking. In an opinion poll commissioned by the Center for Government Reform, 88% of parents mistakenly concluded that beer is safer than liquor.

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Psychosocial Antecedents and Adverse Health Consequences Related to Substance Use
AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print Jul 16, 2008

We examined the relationship between psychosocial antecedents in earlier adolescence and problems of substance use and related adverse health consequence (e.g., respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer) in adulthood. We specifically focused on parent–child bonding in earlier adolescence and internalizing behaviors in later adolescence and how they relate to problems related to substance use in the mid-20s and health problems in the mid-30s.

Our team interviewed a community-based sample of 502 participants over a 30-year period (1975, 1983, 1985–1986, 1997, 2002, and 2005).

We found a strong relationship between internalizing behaviors in later adolescence and adverse health consequences in the mid-30s. Internalizing behaviors in later adolescence served as a mediator between low parent–child bonding in earlier adolescence and later adverse health consequences.

Problems related to substance use in the late 20s and early 30s were related directly to later adverse health consequences and indirectly as mediators between earlier psychosocial difficulties (i.e., internalizing behaviors, externalizing behaviors, poor ego integration, and maladaptive coping) and later adverse health consequences.

Policies and programs that address parent–child bonding and internalizing behaviors should be created to reduce problems related to substance use and, ultimately, later health problems.

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Feasibility Study on Setting a Floor Price on Alcohol Products

The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) at Flinders University has been funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to conduct a study examining the feasibility of setting a floor price on alcohol products, across all Australian jurisdictions.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Early childhood predictors of early substance use and substance use disorders: prospective study
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 42, Issue 8 August 2008 , pages 720 - 731

The purpose of the present study was to examine the longitudinal association between early childhood factors and early initiation of use of substances and substance use disorders in a large prospective study.

Of the 3647 respondents with complete data, 15.4% had started to smoke cigarettes before 15 years. Another 17.4% and 12.2% reported having started to consume alcohol or use cannabis in early adolescence, respectively. Some 16.2%, 27.8% and 21.9% had ever had nicotine, alcohol or cannabis abuse or dependence (disorder) by 21 years, respectively.

In multivariate models early initiation of use of substances, and substance use disorders were associated with disrupted families or drug-using parents, childhood problem behaviours, and poor parental monitoring and supervision in childhood.

There are four independent factors in early or middle childhood that predict early initiation of use of substances and subsequent substance use disorders by early adulthood. There is a need to consider whether what is known about the risk factors that predict young age of substance use, and substance use disorders, may be incorporated into treatment and/or prevention initiatives.

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Press Release - Watchdogs find public health services improving but new report warns of slow progress on reducing alcohol misuse and obesity
16 Jul 2008

Two independent watchdogs are today (Wednesday) calling for a renewed drive to improve public health services after analysing the success of policies over the past decade.

A new report by the Healthcare Commission and Audit Commission assesses the impact government policy has had on: narrowing health inequalities; improving sexual and mental health; and reducing smoking, alcohol misuse and obesity.

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Immigration and Lifetime Prevalence of DSM-IV Psychiatric Disorders Among Mexican Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites in the United States
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004;61:1226-1233

There exist no national prevalence data on specific DSM-IV Axis I psychiatric disorders among foreign-born and US-born Mexican Americans and non- Hispanic whites.

To present nationally representative data on the prevalence of DSM-IV lifetime psychiatric disorders among foreign-born and US-born Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites.

With few exceptions, foreign-born Mexican Americans and foreign-born non-Hispanic whites were at significantly lower risk (P.05) of DSM-IV substance use and mood and anxiety disorders compared with their US-born counterparts. Although the risk of specific psychiatric
disorders was similar between foreign-born Mexican Americans and foreign-born non-Hispanic whites, US born Mexican Americans were at significantly lower risk (P.05) of psychiatric morbidity than US-born non- Hispanic whites.

Data favoring foreign-born Mexican Americans with respect to mental health may extend to
foreign-born non-Hispanic whites. Future research among foreign-born and US-born Mexican Americans and the foreign-born and US-born of other origins anddescents is needed to understand what appears to be the protective effects of culture and the deleterious effects
of acculturation on psychiatric morbiity in the United States.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adolescent alcohol use in context: The role of parents and peers among African American and European American youth
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 2008 Jul Vol 14(3) 266-273

African American youth are less likely to use alcohol than their European American counterparts; however, the greater consequences of use for African American youth highlight the need for greater research attention to this group.

Two social contexts that have been linked with adolescent alcohol use are parents and peers, yet these studies have rarely included African American youth or failed to examine potential racial differences.

This study examined the main and interactive effects of parents and peers, as well as the moderating role of race on alcohol use, in African American and European American rural adolescents (n = 71) identified as at high-risk for alcohol use.

Contrary to study hypotheses, however, parents were not a more robust moderator for African American than European American youth.

Clinical implications for prevention and intervention programming for both African American and European American youth are discussed.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

TECHNICAL NOTE - No drinking and driving for 17 to 20-year-olds Recommendation in the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2007

The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in the United Kingdom is 0.8 g/l, and is the same for all drivers. Many European countries have a limit of 0.5 g/l. The Chief Medical Officer has recommended a zero limit for younger drivers.

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On the State of Public Health: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2007

The Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2007 draws attention to major health challenges requiring immediate action and details progress made in key areas identified in previous annual reports.

The report calls for a new focus on teenage health, and urges health services to take better account of the specific health needs of young people. It also draws attention to the nature of risks inherent in surgery and that more attention should be given to reducing errors in surgery. Additionally, it highlights the rising levels of oesophageal cancer, the importance of vaccination in improving public health and the issue of racism in medicine.

Town's underage alcohol problem

The number of under 18s ending up in hospital due to alcohol abuse in Bournemouth is a third higher than the national average, NHS figures show.

A report by the Primary Care Trust shows 142 under 18s were admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital over the past two years.

Health bosses said the number was 34% higher than the national average.

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Zero drink drive limit for teenagers call by Government's top doctor Sir Liam Donaldson


Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, has called for the drink drive limit for teenagers to be reduced to zero.

The Government's top doctor said England should follow Europe and America and ban teenage drivers from drinking any alcohol at all in order to prevent accidents.

Teenage drivers are more than twice as likely to crash if they have been drinking within the current drink drive limit than older drivers.

The call for a zero drink drive limit for teenagers was included in Sir Liam's annual report on the state of public health which focused primarily on the health of adolescen
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Opinion - Youth on the binge: search for meaning


In more than 20 years of working in the alcohol, drug and mental health fields, I have never forgotten the first principle I learnt when I began work at the Australian Drug Foundation: there is no such thing as a drug problem, there are only people problems.

We are all drug users. We grow up in a drug-using culture. We quickly learn that drugs are good for us. In every household in Australia there are dispensing policies, ways of using prescribed drugs, over-the-counter drugs and recreational drugs including tea, coffee and alcohol.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

What We Have Learned From the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study: Focusing Attention on College Student Alcohol Consumption and the Environmental Conditions That Promote It
J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 69: 481-490, 2008

The Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study surveyed students at a nationally representative sample of 4-year colleges in the United States four times between 1993 and 2001. More than 50,000 students at 120 colleges took part in the study.

This article reviews what we have learned about college drinking and the implications for prevention: the need to focus on lower drink thresholds, the harms produced at this level of drinking for the drinkers, the secondhand effects experienced by other students and neighborhood residents, the continuing extent of the problem, and the role of the college alcohol environment in promoting heavy drinking by students.

In particular, the roles of campus culture, alcohol control policies, enforcement of policies, access, availability, pricing, marketing, and special promotions of alcohol are highlighted.

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Role of alcohol in maxillofacial fractures
Journal of New Zealand Medical Association 4 April 2008 Vol 121 No. 1271

Excessive consumption of alcohol results in impaired judgement and inappropriate behaviour, and is often a major contributor to interpersonal violence and motor vehicle accidents. This study examines the experience of a tertiary centre in alcohol-related facial fractures.

2581 patients presented with facial fractures during the study period, 49% of these being alcohol-related. Males accounted for 88% of alcohol-related fractures and 59% were males in the 15 to 29 year age group; 78% of alcohol-related fractures were due to interpersonal violence and 13% to motor vehicle accidents; 65% required hospital admission and 58% underwent surgery.

The majority of alcohol-related facial fractures were due to interpersonal violence, with young men in the 15 to 29 year age group being predominantly affected. Alcohol-related fractures were associated with an increase in the incidence of hospitalisation and surgery. The high prevalence of alcohol as a contributing factor to facial fractures indicates a need to push for community awareness and public education on the harmful effects of alcohol.

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Trends in population drug use in New Zealand: findings from national household surveying of drug use in 1998, 2001, 2003, and 2006
Journal of New Zealand Medical Association 23 May 2008 Vol 121 No. 1274

To track trends in drug use in the New Zealand population over the past 8 years.

A higher proportion of the sample had tried alcohol in their lifetimes in 2006 compared to 2003 (89.5% vs 83.7%, p<0.0001) and compared to 2001 (89.5% vs 86.4%, p=0.0038). A lower proportion had tried tobacco in 2006 compared to 2001 (57.6% vs 63.9%, p<0.0001) and compared to 1998 (57.6% vs 64.4%, p<0.0001). A lower proportion had used cannabis in the past 12 months in 2006 compared to 2001 (17.9% vs 20.3%, p=0.0448). A lower proportion had used amphetamine in the past year in 2006 than in 2001 (3.4% vs 5.0%, p=0.0085). A higher proportion of the sample had used ecstasy (MDMA) in the past year in 2006 compared to 1998 (3.9% vs 1.5%, p<0.0001).

There was an increase in the level of alcohol use by last year drinkers in 2006 compared to 1998 with an increase in the proportion of drinkers saying they were using ‘more’ alcohol and a decrease in those saying they were using ‘less’ alcohol. There was an increase in the level of amphetamine use by current amphetamine users in 2006 compared to 2003 with less users saying they had ‘stopped’ using the drug (12% vs 42%, p=0.0386).

The rise in the lifetime use and level of use of alcohol is consistent with the liberalisation of the alcohol environment in New Zealand. Conversely, the decline in the lifetime use of tobacco reflects stricter regulation and shifts in societal tolerance of smoking. The growing negative social connotations attached to smoking, as well the emergence of new synthetic stimulants, may have impacted negatively on levels of cannabis use. There has been some entrenchment of amphetamine use since a reported levelling off of its prevalence in 2003.

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France to crack down on under-age binge drinking

July 13, 2008

PARIS: France will ban the sale of alcohol to minors and drinking in public near schools as part of a broad crackdown on binge drinking among youths, the health minister said in an interview published on Sunday.

Roselyne Bachelot said that a recent study showed an over all decline in alcohol consumption among youths but the frequency of drunkenness was increasing.

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