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.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Consumption controversies: alcohol policies in the UK

This briefing paper from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) presents an overview of research relating to the current debate, presenting evidence relating to a number of controversial questions. This paper sets out to separate the facts from fiction in these debates, with evidence presented against a series of controversial questions and debates, rom whether the UK actually does have a ‘drinking problem’ right through to assessing the positive role that the British pub still plays in the economy, communities and people’s lives.
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Report of the Substance Use, Abuse, and Addiction Working Group

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Reform Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-482) reaffirmed certain organizational authorities of agency officials to: (1) establish or abolish national research institutes; (2) reorganize the offices within the Office of the Director, NIH, including adding, removing, or transferring the functions of such offices or establishing or terminating such offices; and (3) reorganize divisions, centers, or other administrative units within an NIH national research institute or national center including adding, removing, or transferring the functions of such units, or establishing or terminating such units. The Reform Act also established the Scientific Management Review Board (hereinafter, SMRB or Board) to advise the NIH Director and other appropriate agency officials on the use of these organizational authorities and identify the reasons underlying the recommendations.

This report distills the deliberations of the Substance Use, Abuse, and Addiction (SUAA) Working Group, a subcommittee of the SMRB, and provides recommendations in response to the question of whether organizational change within NIH could further optimize research into substance use, abuse, and addiction and thereby improve the health and well-being of individuals affected by this significant problem in public health.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Responsible Drinking Programs

These are just a few of Anheuser-Busch InBev's Responsible Drinking programs.

  • Educating young drivers in Germany on the dangers of drinking and driving
  • Latin American support for enforcing drinking and driving limits
  • Promoting the "don't drink and drive" message in Russia
  • Rocking out responsibly with Quilmes
  • SunInBev partners with road safety authorities
  • "Make a Plan" in Canada
  • Beck's THINK! campaign
  • Geklärt, wer fährt!
  • Anti-Drink driving in China
  • Don't drink and drive at Skol Beats in Brazil
  • A-B promotes designated drivers in the United States
  • Free taxi rides home with "Alert Cab"
  • Get a "Tow To Go" in the United States
  • A New Focus on Drinking and Driving
  • Foldable Scooters Get United States Consumers (and Their Cars) Home Safely
  • Designate a Skipper before Cruising United States Waterways
  • Washington D.C. Residents Assured a SoberRide™ Home

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Critique 018: Alcohol consumption following diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer may increase risk of recurrence of cancer but not total mortality

In the Life After Cancer Epidemiology (LACE) study, 1,897 participants diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer between 1997 and 2000 and recruited on average 2 years post-breast cancer diagnosis were evaluated for the association between alcohol intake and breast cancer recurrence and death. The women, who were generally light drinkers, were followed for an average of 7.4 years.

The study reported an increase in risk of breast cancer recurrence and breast cancer death, but no effect on total mortality, to be associated with consumption of 3 to 4 or more drinks per week when compared with women not drinking following their cancer diagnosis.

Previous research has been mixed on this topic. Almost all large studies have shown no increase in all-cause mortality for women who drink moderately following a diagnosis of breast cancer (as does this study). As for recurrence of breast cancer, most have shown no increase in risk, although one previous study of women with estrogen-receptor + tumors found an increased risk of a primary cancer developing in the contralateral breast to be associated with alcohol intake of more than 7 drinks per week.

Because of conflicting results among studies on this topic, further research will be needed to determine the extent to which alcohol following a diagnosis of breast cancer may relate to subsequent disease and death.

For the detailed critique of this paper by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, please click here.

Public Health report identifies will to act on alcohol

The British public wants the Government to take action to make Britain healthier, according to a report published last month by the Faculty of Public Health (FPH).
> > > >

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Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings

3. Alcohol Use

This chapter is divided into two main sections. Section 3.1 describes trends and patterns of alcohol use among the population aged 12 or older. Section 3.2 is concerned particularly with the use of alcohol by persons aged 12 to 20. These persons are under the legal drinking age in all 50 States and the District of Columbia.

• Slightly more than half of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of
alcohol in the 2009 survey (51.9 percent). This translates to an estimated 130.6 million
people, which is similar to the 2008 estimate of 129.0 million people (51.6 percent).

• In 2009, nearly one quarter (23.7 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge
drinking. This translates to about 59.6 million people. The rate in 2009 is similar to the
estimate in 2008. Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on the same
occasion on at least 1 day in the 30 days prior to the survey.

• In 2009, heavy drinking was reported by 6.8 percent of the population aged 12 or older, or
17.1 million people. This rate was similar to the rate of heavy drinking in 2008. Heavy
drinking is defined as binge drinking on at least 5 days in the past 30 days.

• Among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2009, the rate of binge drinking was 41.7 percent, and
the rate of heavy drinking was 13.7 percent. These rates were similar to the rates in 2008.

• The rate of current alcohol use among youths aged 12 to 17 was 14.7 percent in 2009, which
is similar to the 2008 rate (14.6 percent). Youth binge and heavy drinking rates in 2009
(8.8 and 2.1 percent) were also similar to rates in 2008 (8.8 and 2.0 percent).

• Past month and binge drinking rates among underage persons (aged 12 to 20) declined
between 2002 and 2008, but then remained unchanged between 2008 (26.4 and 17.4 percent)
and 2009 (27.2 and 18.1 percent).

• Among persons aged 12 to 20, past month alcohol use rates in 2009 were 16.1 percent among
Asians, 20.4 percent among blacks, 22.0 percent among American Indians or Alaska Natives,
25.1 percent among Hispanics, 27.5 percent among those reporting two or more races, and
30.4 percent among whites.

• In 2009, 55.9 percent of current drinkers aged 12 to 20 reported that their last use of alcohol
in the past month occurred in someone else's home, and 29.2 percent reported that it had
occurred in their own home. About one third (30.3 percent) paid for the alcohol the last time
they drank, including 9.0 percent who purchased the alcohol themselves and 21.3 percent
who gave money to someone else to purchase it. Among those who did not pay for the
alcohol they last drank, 37.1 percent got it from an unrelated person aged 21 or older, 19.9
percent from another person younger than 21 years old, and 20.6 percent from a parent,
guardian, or other adult family member.

• In 2009, an estimated 12.0 percent of persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of
alcohol at least once in the past year. This percentage has dropped since 2002, when it was
14.2 percent. The rate of driving under the influence of alcohol was highest among persons
aged 21 to 25 (24.8 percent).

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Generation alcohol: is drinking damaging childhood? Alcohol Concern Annual Conference and AGM

Generation alcohol: Is drinking damaging childhood?

Start Date:
Tuesday 02 November 2010

Start Time:
10.00am (9.30am for AGM)

End Time:

Venue Postcode:
£ 264.38

Why has young people's average consumption risen to nearly 15 units a week? What role does marketing play? Does the rise in home drinking mean more children being affected by parental alcohol use? How can we support the whole family to tackle alcohol-related harms and what support is available for young people who develop a problem with alcohol?

All these issues will be discussed at the 2010 Alcohol Concern conference through a series of high profile, expert presentations and workshops from leading academics, policy experts and practitioners in the field.

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Area of residence and alcohol-related mortality risk: a five-year follow-up study

To examine differences in alcohol-related mortality risk between areas, while adjusting for the characteristics of the individuals living within these areas.

A 5-year longitudinal study of individual and area characteristics of those dying and not dying from alcohol-related deaths.

The Northern Ireland Mortality study.

A total of 720 627 people aged 25–74, enumerated in the Northern Ireland 2001 Census, not living in communal establishments.

Five hundred and seventy-eight alcohol-related deaths.

There was an increased risk of alcohol-related mortality among disadvantaged individuals, and divorced, widowed and separated males. The risk of an alcohol-related death was significantly higher in deprived areas for both males [hazard ratio (HR) 3.70; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.65, 5.18] and females (HR 2.67 (95% CI 1.72, 4.15); however, once adjustment was made for the characteristics of the individuals living within areas, the excess risk for more deprived areas disappeared. Both males and females in rural areas had a reduced risk of an alcohol-related death compared to their counterparts in urban areas; these differences remained after adjustment for the composition of the people within these areas.

Alcohol-related mortality is higher in more deprived, compared to more affluent areas; however, this appears to be due to characteristics of individuals within deprived areas, rather than to some independent effect of area deprivation per se. Risk of alcohol-related mortality is lower in rural than urban areas, but the cause is unknown.

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High alcohol consumption in middle-aged adults is associated with poorer cognitive performance only in the low socio-economic group. Results from the

To examine the association of alcohol consumption over 10 years with cognitive performance in different socio-economic groups.

Prospective cohort study, the French GAZEL study.

Employees of France's national electricity and gas company.

Alcohol intake was assessed annually, beginning in 1992, using questions on frequency and quantity of alcoholic beverages consumed in a week; used to define mean consumption and trajectory of alcohol intake over 10 years. Cognitive performance among participants aged ≥ 55 years (n = 4073) was assessed in 2002–04 using the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), a measure of psychomotor speed, attention and reasoning. Occupational position at age 35 and education were used as the markers of socio-economic position. All analyses were stratified by socio-economic position.

In the low occupational group, participants consuming a mean of more than 21 drinks per week had 2.1 points lower (95% CI: −3.9, −0.3) DSST score compared to those consuming four to 14 drinks per week. In participants with primary school education, the corresponding difference was 3.6 points (95% CI: −7.1, −0.0).

No association between alcohol consumption and cognitive performance was observed in the intermediate and high socio-economic groups, defined using either occupation or education.

Analysis of trajectories of alcohol consumption showed that in the low socio-economic groups large increase or decrease in alcohol consumption was associated with lower cognitive scores compared to stable consumption.

Our results suggest that high alcohol consumption is associated with poorer cognitive performance only in the low socio-economic group, due possibly to greater cognitive reserve in the higher socio-economic groups.

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How much is too much? Alcohol consumption and related harm in the Northern Territory

To present recent estimates of alcohol consumption and its impact on the health of people in the Northern Territory, and to draw comparisons with Australia as a whole.

Descriptive study of alcohol consumption in the NT population, based on sales data and self-report surveys, and alcohol-attributable deaths and hospitalisations among people in the NT in the 2004–05 and 2005–06 financial years using population alcohol-attributable fractions specific to the NT.

Per capita consumption of pure alcohol, self-reported level of consumption, and age-standardised rates of death and hospitalisation attributable to alcohol.

Apparent per capita consumption of pure alcohol for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations in the NT has been about 14 litres or more per year for many years, about 50% higher than for Australia as a whole. We estimated that there were 120 and 119 alcohol-attributable deaths in the NT in 2004–05 and 2005–06, respectively, at corresponding age-standardised rates of 7.2 and 7.8 per 10 000 adult population. Alcohol-attributable deaths occur in the NT at about 3.5 times the rate they do in Australia generally; rates in non-Aboriginal people were about double the national rate, while they were 9–10 times higher in Aboriginal people. There were 2319 and 2544 alcohol-attributable hospitalisations in the NT in 2004–05 and 2005–06, respectively, at corresponding rates of 146.6 and 157.7 per 10 000 population (more than twice the national rate).

In recent years, alcohol consumption and consequent alcohol-attributable deaths and hospitalisations for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the NT have occurred at levels far higher than elsewhere in Australia.

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Alcohol price study defended

An ACADEMIC has defended the study used by the Scottish Government to seek to impose a 45p a unit minimum price on alcohol.

Anne Ludbrook, professor of health economics at the University of Aberdeen, said she was "slightly concerned" that Holyrood's health and sport committee sometimes misunderstood the value of the modelling work that has been done on the issue. > > > >

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Severity of alcohol-related problems and mortality: results from a 20-year prospective epidemiological community study

There is evidence that high alcohol use is associated with an increase in mortality. Little is known about long-term effects of problematic alcohol consumption in non-clinical (community) populations.

The aim of our study was to obtain data on this and related issues in a representative rural community sample assessed longitudinally over a period of 20 years.

Assessments focused on a baseline survey from 1980 to 1984 and 20-year follow-up from 2001 to 2004. Based on expert interviews and standardized self-rating scales (e.g. MALT; Munich Alcoholism Test), the following three groups were defined (a) severe alcohol problems, (b) moderate alcohol problems, and (c) no alcohol problems. Mortality and hazard rates were analyzed with logistic and Cox regression adjusted for several health risk factors.

From an original community sample of 1,465 individuals, 448 were deceased at 20-year follow-up. Participation rates were high. Baseline prevalence according to the MALT was 1.6% for severe alcohol problems and 4.0% for moderate alcohol problems.

Over the 20-year time span, individuals with severealcohol problems had a significantly elevated risk for dying earlier than the group with no alcohol problems (2.4 times higher).

Mortality for those with moderate alcohol problems at baseline had a non-significantly elevated 20-year mortality risk (1.5 times higher) compared to those with no alcohol problems.

Cox survival analyses corroborate these findings from multiple sequential logistic regression analyses.

In discussing the mortality risk of persons with alcohol problems, the severity of the alcohol problems must be taken into account.

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Changes in alcohol-related harm in Sweden after increasing alcohol import quotas and a Danish tax decrease

Denmark decreased its tax on spirits by 45% on 1 October 2003. Shortly thereafter, on 1 January 2004, Sweden increased its import quotas of privately imported alcohol, allowing travellers to bring in much larger amounts of alcohol from other European Union countries. Although these changes were assumed to increase alcohol-related harm in Sweden, particularly among people living close to Denmark, analyses based on survey data collected before and after these changes have not supported this assumption.

The present article tests whether alcohol-related harm in southern Sweden was affected by these changes by analysing other indicators of alcohol-related harm, e.g. harm recorded in different kinds of registers.

Interrupted time-series analysis was performed with monthly data on cases of hospitalization due to acute alcohol poisoning, number of reported violent assaults and drunk driving for the years 2000–07 in southern Sweden using the northern parts of Sweden as a control and additionally controlling for two earlier major changes in quotas.

The findings were not consistent with respect to whether alcohol-related harm increased in southern Sweden after the decrease in Danish spirits tax and the increase in Swedish alcohol import quotas. On the one hand, an increase in acute alcohol poisonings was found, particularly in the 50–69 years age group, on the other hand, no increase was found in violent assaults and drunk driving.

The present results raise important questions about the association between changes in availability and alcohol-related harms. More research using other methodological approaches and data is needed to obtain a comprehensive picture of what actually happened in southern Sweden.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Alcohol Primary Care Service Framework updated

An updated version of the Primary Care Service Framework has been released to support the commissioning and delivery of Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) in Primary Care. > > > >

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Familial influence of substance use disorder on emotional disorder across three generations

The concomitant influence of grandparental (Generation 1; G1) and parental (G2) substance use disorder (SUD) on grandchild (G3) emotional disorder (EmD) across three generations is unclear.

The present study addressed this in a sample of 284 families participating in the Oregon Adolescent Depression Project. Structured clinical interviews were used to collect psychiatric history data on a community cohort of G2 individuals and their G1 parents. G2 parents rated EmD symptoms in their G3 children (MSD = 2.4).

Results indicated that G1 SUD was associated with increased risk of G3 EmD symptom elevations, above and beyond the influence of comorbid G1 EmD.

G2 SUD was associated with a similar independent increase in risk for G3 EmD symptoms.

Also, G1 SUD conferred risk for G2 SUD.

Mediational tests indicated that the influence of G1 SUD on G3 EmD was transmitted via its influence on G2 SUD.

G1 and G2 SUD did not interact in predicting G3 EmD; rather results suggested an additive influence.

There was no evidence that the influence of G1 SUD on G3 EmD was transmitted via G2 EmD.

These findings shed light on the multigenerational processes through which SUD influences EmD.

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Press Release - Nation's Largest Addiction Counselors' Association Announces Strategic Partnership With Hazelden

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, and Hazelden, the national nonprofit focused on addiction treatment, prevention and recovery, announced today a new strategic partnership focused on improving the treatment of co-occurring disorders. The partnership announcement was made by NAADAC Executive Director Cynthia Moreno Tuohy during the National Conference on Addiction Disorders in Washington, D.C.

The new Hazelden/NAADAC affiliation will provide NAADAC members, psychiatrists, psychologists and other counselors with collaborative in-person training and distance learning in the integrated treatment of co-occurring disorders, said Hazelden President and CEO Mark G. Mishek. The partnership will kickoff in September with the national launch of the new NAADAC/Hazelden Lifelong Training Program, Integrating Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders: An Introduction to What Every Addiction Counselor Needs to Know.

“Thousands of people in need of addiction treatment services in the U.S. also have mental health or medical issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome and bi-polar disorders,” said NAADAC’s Cynthia Moreno Tuohy. “In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that fully half of Americans with mental illness also abuse illicit drugs or alcohol. Hazelden and NAADAC have worked together for years to train clinicians and administrators in the addiction profession and advocate for treatment issues together. This new partnership will be the most cohesive effort yet from Hazelden and NAADAC to promote excellence in the field of diagnosing and treating co-occurring disorders.” > > > >

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Functional genetic variants that increase synaptic serotonin and 5-HT3 receptor sensitivity predict alcohol and drug dependence

The 5-HT3 receptor is rapidly potentiated by ethanol and mediates fast excitatory serotonin (5-HT) transmission that modulates dopamine release in the reward circuitry. The 5-HT transporter regulates synaptic 5-HT availability. Functional polymorphisms in genes encoding the transporter and receptor may therefore influence addiction vulnerability.

In this study, 360 treatment-seeking African American male patients with single and comorbid DSM-IV lifetime diagnoses of alcohol, cocaine and heroin dependence and 187 African American male controls were genotyped for the triallelic 5-HTTLPR functional polymorphism in the 5-HT transporter gene (SLC6A4) and 16 haplotype-tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across HTR3B (including the functional rs1176744 Tyr129Ser) and HTR3A, genes encoding 5-HT3 receptors.

The HTR3B rs1176744 gain-of-function Ser129 allele predicted alcohol dependence (P
=0.002) and low 5-HTTLPR activity predicted cocaine/heroin dependence (P=0.01).

Both the HTR3B Ser129 allele (P
=0.014, odds ratio (OR)=1.7 (1.1–2.6)) and low 5-HTTLPR activity (P=0.011, OR=2.5 (1.3–4.6)) were more common in men with alcohol+drug dependence compared with controls.

Moreover, the HTR3B Ser129 allele and low 5-HTTLPR activity had an additive (but not an interactive) effect on alcohol
+drug dependence (OR=6.0 (2.1–16.6)) that accounted for 13% of the variance.

One possible explanation of our findings is that increased synaptic 5-HT coupled with increased 5-HT3 receptor responsiveness may result in enhanced dopamine transmission in the reward pathway, a predictor of increased risk for addiction.

Our results may have pharmacogenetic implications for 5-HT3 therapeutic antagonists such as ondansetron.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Truancy, alcohol use and alcohol-related problems in secondary school pupils in Norway

This study focuses on a vulnerable group of pupils often missed by mainstream school surveys. It explores alcohol use and alcohol-related problems for a sample of truants of secondary school age, comparing behaviours with a school-based sample from the same geographical area.

Analyses are based on a survey among truants (
n = 107) and a school survey (n = 3702) undertaken in Bergen, Norway.

When compared with mainstream pupils, the truants reported an earlier alcohol debut and a higher frequency of drinking. They reported significantly higher levels of binge drinking (6+ units). Truants were four times more likely to report regular drunkenness and twice as likely to report problems associated with their alcohol consumption.

In the truancy sample, boys were more likely to engage in regular and excessive drinking, while girls reported higher levels of problems linked to their drinking. Results suggest that higher levels of truancy were related to more frequent drinking, drunkenness and alcohol-related problems.

There are strong indications for early intervention activities directed at truants, and registration of truancy in itself could be a simple and effective way of identifying pupils at risk of a wide range of social and health problems, including high levels of alcohol use.

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Effectiveness of the universal prevention program 'Healthy School and Drugs': Study protocol of a randomized clustered trial

Substance use is highly prevalent among Dutch adolescents. The Healthy School and Drugs program is a nationally implemented school-based prevention program aimed at reducing early and excessive substance use among adolescents. Although the program's effectiveness was tested in a quasi-experimental design before, many program changes were made afterwards. The present study, therefore, aims to test the effects of this widely used, renewed universal prevention program.

A randomized clustered trial will be conducted among 3,784 adolescents of 23 secondary schools in The Netherlands. The trial has three conditions; two intervention conditions (i.e., e-learning and integral) and a control condition. The e-learning condition consists of three digital learning modules (i.e., about alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana) that are sequentially offered over the course of three school years (i.e., grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3). The integral condition consists of parental participation in a parental meeting on substance use, regulation of substance use, and monitoring and counseling of students' substance use at school, over and above the three digital modules. The control condition is characterized as business as usual. Participating schools were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control condition. Participants filled out a digital questionnaire at baseline and will fill out the same questionnaire three more times at follow-up measurements (8, 20, and 32 months after baseline). Outcome variables included in the questionnaire are the percentage of binge drinking (more than five drinks per occasion), the average weekly number of drinks, and the percentage of adolescents who ever drunk a glass for alcohol and the percentage of adolescents who ever smoked a cigarette or a joint respectively for tobacco and marijuana.

This study protocol describes the design of a randomized clustered trial that evaluates the effectiveness of a school-based prevention program. We expect that significantly fewer adolescents will engage in early or excessive substance use behaviors in the intervention conditions compared to the control condition as a direct result of the intervention. We expect that the integral condition will yield most positive results, compared with the e-learning condition and control condition.

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Alcohol industry say figures wrong in report on cost of harm from drinking

In media releases issued alongside its report on drinking a fortnight ago the Alcohol Education & Rehabilitation Foundation said its research raised "the total economic impact of alcohol misuse to $36 billion annually, more than double previous estimates".

The figure was repeated yesterday in a statement issued by the AER welcoming the reappointment of Nicola Roxon as Health Minister. Yet the report itself warns "A caution to keep in mind in reading and interpreting this report, however, is that the harms and the costs discussed here cannot validly be added together into a grand total, without facing the issue of possible double counting. A grand total is not the goal of this report."

The liquor industry peak body, the National Alcohol Beverage Industry Council, has written to AER chair Cheryl Bart accusing the foundation of "blatant misrepresentation of its own commissioned work for publicity purposes".

The letter, obtained by The Australian, accuses the AER of packing its own research "in a way that was contrary to guidance published in the report".

A separate letter to all members of the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, challenging the $36 billion cost, claims "the research report contains no such finding and indeed the published report carries numerous warnings about making such a claim".
> > > >

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The Effects of Eliminating Supplemental Security Income Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Eligibility on the Mental Health of Low-Income Substance Abusers

On January 1, 1997, as the result of federal legislation, many low-income substance abusers lost income and healthcare benefits provided by the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

This study examined the effects of eliminating drug addiction and alcoholism (DAA) as qualifying impairments for SSI benefits on the mental health and mental health treatment utilization of former beneficiaries 3.5 years following the policy change.

Study participants in four Northern California counties were categorized into three comparison groups based on their primary income source over the lifetime of the study.

Findings indicated that overall the reported mental health status of former SSI DAA beneficiaries improved following the policy change; however, study participants who relied primarily on some other type of public assistance post-termination reported an increase in mental health treatment utilization.

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Alcohol de-addiction camp for Koragas

The special 4th Alcohol De-addiction camp for Koraga Community is being organized jointly by the district administration, Samagra Grameena Ashrama, Udupi, Integrated Tribal Development Programme, Udupi District and Dr A V Baliga Memorial Hospital on Wednesday at Dr A V Baliga Memorial Hospital. > > > > Read More

Does the transcription factor AP-2β have an impact on the genetic and early environmental influence on ethanol consumption?

Genes involved in alcoholism have consensus sites for the transcription factor activator protein (TFAP) 2β.

In the present study, we investigated TFAP-2β protein levels in the ethanol-preferring alko, alcohol (AA) and the ethanol-avoiding alko, non-alcohol (ANA) rat lines. Furthermore, basal and ethanol-induced TFAP-2β levels were examined in Wistar rats exposed to different early postnatal environments that are known to affect later ethanol consumption.

Taken together, we found differences in brainstem TFAP-2β protein between the AA and ANA rats.

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Feedback-related negativity is correlated with unplanned impulsivity

Recent studies of electroencephalogram event-related potentials reported aberrant feedback-related negativity (FRN) in neurological and psychiatric diseases, such as alcoholism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. These diseases are characterized by high impulsivity.

We investigated the relationship between FRN and impulsivity in healthy people. We performed correlation analyses between FRN amplitude recorded during a gambling task and Barratt Impulsiveness Scale scores.

The analysis showed a significant negative correlation between FRN amplitude and the nonplanning impulsiveness score, which assess lack of past planning or future orientation.

This suggests that FRN may be a neurophysiological marker of unplanned impulsiveness.

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Alcohol News - 37/2010 (Finland) - Organisations Call on Women to Not Drink During Pregnancy
On September 9, the Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD) urges women to abstain from alcohol during all nine months of pregnancy.

The Local (Sweden) - Stockholm acts to block drunken bus drivers
Stockholm public transport operator SL will install ignition locks on all of its buses within the next two years, ensuring drivers who have been drinking can't start their vehicles.

The Reykjavik Grapewine (Iceland) - Alcohol Ad Laws Tightened
A bill submitted to parliament may close loopholes that alcohol importers and manufacturers have used in the current Icelandic law banning the advertising of alcoholic beverages.
The proposal, already approved by the Icelandic government, was submitted jointly by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice, Vísir reports. While Article 20 of the current alcohol law bans the advertisement of alcoholic beverages, loopholes have been found - for example, by advertising the low alcohol content versions of the same beers.

BBC News (UK) - British Red Cross says teach children alcohol first aid
Children should learn first aid skills to help friends who become dangerously drunk, the British Red Cross has said.

ABC Online (Australia) - Australians drinking to mask depression: research
The Salvation Army says it is concerned at the number of people it believes are drinking simply to get through their day. A survey of around 600 people commissioned by the charity and carried out by pollsters Roy Morgan has found more than 7 per cent often or sometimes drink in order to "feel normal". (New Zealand) - 1000 police in weekend booze bust
A 12-hour police operation targeting alcohol-related crime this weekend resulted in less than one percent of drivers stopped at checkpoints being over the limit, although the number of retailers selling alcohol to minors was a disappointment, say police. (Philippines) - Drunk Driving to Become Illegal in Philippines
A new bill is to criminalize drunk driving. The House of Representatives is set to deliberate on a measure filed by Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and imposing penalties on drunk driving, says.

PR Newswire (USA) - Survey of Police and Teachers: Alcohol and Marijuana Most Serious Substance Abuse Facing Teens
The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest released the results of a national Teen Substance Abuse survey today, indicating that police officers and high school teachers nationwide believe alcohol and marijuana are the most serious problem substances facing teenagers.

BusinessWeek - Obesity Worsens Brain Damage of Heavy Drinking
Researchers examined the findings of different types of brain scans conducted on 54 men in an alcohol treatment program and compared them with each man's body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measurement that takes into account a person's height and weight. The study findings appear online and in the December print issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

BusinessWeek - Heavy Drinking Part of Social Acceptance for Young: Study
Many young people consider getting drunk an important part of being accepted as part of a social group, a factor that needs to be considered when creating anti-drinking campaigns, a British researcher says. (Ireland) - Call for ban on alcohol advertising
The College of Psychiatry of Ireland says there have been multiple breaches of the self-regulatory code whereby the drinks industry is supposed to protect children from advertising.

Scotsman (Scotland) - Labour's plan for alcohol bill slammed
THE SNP has hit out at a Labour bid to scupper plans for some areas to ban under-21s from buying alcohol. MSPs have already thrown out the idea of a blanket ban.

MedPage Today - Drug May Improve Abstinence in Alcoholics
Alcoholic patients can modestly improve their chances of staying abstinent after detox with acamprosate (Campral), according to a Cochrane review.

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Alcohol in the news Aug 2010: hospital admissions, consumption and pricing reports

The release of the latest alcohol figures last week prompted a range of media coverage. Reacting to the updated Local Alcohol Profiles (LAPE) showing 954,469 alcohol-related admissions in 2009/09, headlines included 'Two admitted to hospital for alcohol a minute' (The Telegraph) and that 'problem drinking shows a north south split' (BBC).

Further reports picked up on other data collected within the profiles including 'London as worst for alcohol-related crimes'. An official press release acknowledged a 65% rise in admissions over a recent 5 year period, though the rate is slowing.

There were varied interpretations to the news of a 6% fall in consumption - the BBPA reacted to the latest figures as the 'biggest fall in 60 years', whereas Alcohol Concern described it as only a 'small decline'. A blog suggested the media had 'fallen for the industry press release' as the cause of the decline has been variously linked to the recession, the decline in the pub trade, alcohol duty rates and alcohol harm reduction programmes.

Minimum pricing was in the news again, pro-arguments coming from the Guardian's money blog in the article 'Binge drinkers should be priced out', a position supported in a comment piece 'I like a drink, but collectively we have a problem'. An Observer comment disagreed however, calling for policy makers to 'Fix poverty before you go after the drinkers'. The Royal College of Psychiatrists came out in support of minimum pricing urging action to follow Scotland's recent attempt for a 45 pence per unit minimum.

A survey by Drinkaware identified that more than one in three young adults go out to get drunk - see BBC and Telegraph reports. A comment by Release contextualised the findings within UK alcohol policy whilst the Daily Mail went for a report on a 'teenage alcoholic' drinking 3 bottles of wine a day. The BBC recently reported that 'teenage therapy reduces binge drinking'. Drunkenness 'is key to young people's social identity', said Professor Christine Griffin of the University of Bath presenting findings from a report to the British Psychological Society.

The release of Tony Blair's autobiography caused a stir last week as the former PM admitted to regularly drinking as a "prop" and was definitely at "the outer limit". Meanwhile football manager Harry Redknapp criticised the English drinking culture, citing alcohol as the 'main problem' behind recent player scandals. A corresponding feature in The Independent also explored the issue.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

News Release - Provisional figures from Operation Unite alcohol reduction campaign

More work needs to be done to challenge New Zealand's drinking culture judging by the provisional figures from Friday night's Operation Unite alcohol harm reduction campaign.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Win Van der Velde, Specialist Operations, Police National Headquarters, said the combined New Zealand and Australia police jurisdictions Operation Unite has reinforced the message that police, partner agencies and the public need to work together to reduce alcohol related harm on both sides of the Tasman.

The 12-hour operation which ran from 6pm on Friday to 6am Saturday morning, recorded some mixed results. Police were pleased that less than one percent of the 31,777 drivers stopped and tested for alcohol were over the limit.

"We're disappointed however that around 200 people still chose to drink and drive despite extensive publicity and the dangers around it," Mr Van der Velde said. > > > .

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1000 in cuffs: police alcohol blitz

Police crackdown on alcohol related violence in NSW on the weekend snares more than 1000 arrests.

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Recovery at work: The relationship between social identity and commitment among substance abuse counselors

The complex makeup of the substance abuse treatment workforce poses unique challenges to the field. One interesting dynamic is the high rate of counselors who are personally recovering from addictions.

Based on social identity theory, it was expected that counselors working in the field of substance abuse treatment who are in recovery themselves will identify more with their profession and report higher professional and organizational commitment.

Data from a study of substance abuse counselors from across the United States support the proposed relationship between personal recovery status and professional commitment but not organizational commitment

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Effect of early and late compliance on the effectiveness of acamprosate in the treatment of alcohol dependence

The aim of this study is to assess the influence of early and late compliance of acamprosate on attendance and abstinence duration in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

Individual patient data of 2,305 patients from 11 randomized controlled trials comparing acamprosate (n = 1,128) with placebo (n = 1,177) were used to predict early and late compliance and to study the effect of early and late compliance on attendance and abstinence duration using regression analysis and structural equation modeling.

Early compliance was predicted by baseline motivation to become fully abstinent and baseline abstinence (R2 = .26); late compliance was predicted by early compliance (R2 = .13); treatment discontinuation was predicted by young age, marital status, compliance, and treatment condition (R2 = .26); and abstinence duration was predicted by motivation to become fully abstinent early compliance and the interaction of early compliance and treatment condition (R2 = .27). Structural equation modeling showed that abstinence duration was significantly associated with motivation at baseline, late compliance, and treatment condition (Goodness of Fit Index [GFI] χ2/df = 1.56; Parsimonious Goodness of Fit Index [PGFI] = 0.69).

Motivation to become fully abstinent and abstinence at the start of treatment are important for early compliance. Early compliance in turn predicts late compliance. Late compliance, in combination with motivation to become fully abstinent, and treatment condition (acamprosate vs. placebo) predict duration of abstinence. This suggests that motivational interventions directed toward full abstinence motivation and abstinence at the start of treatment are crucial for both compliance with acamprosate and successful treatment outcome.

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