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 9, 2011

Prospective relationships of ADHD symptoms with developing substance use in a population-derived sample

Clinically ascertained reports suggest that boys and girls with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may differ from each other in their vulnerability to substance use problems.

A total of 1545 Finnish adolescents were assessed for DSM-IV-based ADHD symptoms by their parents and classroom teachers using standardized rating scales at age 11–12 years. At age 14, substance use disorders and psychiatric co-morbidity were assessed with the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism, providing DSM-III-R/DSM-IV diagnoses for Axis I disorders. At age 17.5, substance use was assessed by multi-item questionnaire.

Although baseline ADHD symptoms were less common among females, they were more predictive of adverse substance use outcomes once conduct disorder and previous substance use were controlled for. Only in females were baseline ADHD symptoms significant predictors of alcohol abuse and dependence and illicit drug use at age 14. At the age of 17.5, parents' reports of inattentiveness and hyperactivity were significant predictors for frequent alcohol use in both sexes, but they were more predictive of frequent alcohol and illicit drug use in girls. Impulsivity in teachers' ratings predicted frequent alcohol use and illicit drug use in boys. Parental reports of inattentiveness in their 11-/12-year-old daughters were a consistent predictor for illicit drug use across adolescence.

Inattentiveness and hyperactivity may be more predictive of alcohol use disorders and maladaptive patterns of alcohol and illicit drug use among girls than boys. The importance of these behavioural symptoms should be assessed further in the community, as they could jeopardize adolescents' successful transitioning into adult roles.

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Alcohol Demand, Delayed Reward Discounting, and Craving in relation to Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorders

A behavioral economic approach to alcohol use disorders (AUDs) emphasizes both individual and environmental determinants of alcohol use.

The current study examined individual differences in alcohol demand (i.e., motivation for alcohol under escalating conditions of price) and delayed reward discounting (i.e., preference for immediate small rewards compared to delayed larger rewards) in 61 heavy drinkers (62% with an AUD).

In addition, based on theoretical accounts that emphasize the role of craving in reward valuation and preferences for immediate rewards, craving for alcohol was also examined in relation to these behavioral economic variables and the alcohol-related variables.

Intensity of alcohol demand and delayed reward discounting were significantly associated with AUD symptoms, but not with quantitative measures of alcohol use, and were also moderately correlated with each other.

Likewise, craving was significantly associated with AUD symptoms, but not with alcohol use, and was also significantly correlated with both intensity of demand and delayed reward discounting.

These findings further emphasize the relevance of behavioral economic indices of motivation to alcohol use disorders and the potential importance of craving for alcohol in this relationship.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bipolar disorder comorbid with alcoholism: a 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy study.

Alcoholism is highly prevalent among bipolar disorder (BD) patients, and its presence is associated with a worse outcome and refractoriness to treatment of the mood disorder. The neurobiological underpinnings that characterize this comorbidity are unknown.

We sought to investigate the neurochemical profile of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of BD patients with comorbid alcoholism.

A short-TE, single-voxel
1H spectroscopy acquisition at 1.5 Tesla from the left DLFPC of 22 alcoholic BD patients, 26 non-alcoholic BD patients and 54 healthy comparison subjects (HC) were obtained. Absolute levels of N-acetyl aspartate, phosphocreatine plus creatine, choline-containing compounds, myo-inositol, glutamate plus glutamine (Glu+Gln) and glutamate were obtained using the water signal as an internal reference. Analysis of co-variance was used to compare metabolite levels among the three groups.

In the primary comparison, non-alcoholic BD patients had higher glutamate concentrations compared to alcoholic BD patients. In secondary comparisons integrating interactions between gender and alcoholism, non-alcoholic BD patients presented significantly higher glutamate plus glutamine (Glu+Gln) than alcoholic BD patients and HC.

These results appeared to be driven by differences in male subjects. Alcoholic BD patients with additional drug use disorders presented significantly lower myo-inositol than BD patients with alcoholism alone. The co-occurrence of BD and alcoholism may be characterized by neurochemical abnormalities related to the glutamatergic system and to the inositol second messenger system and/or in glial pathology.

These abnormalities may be the neurochemical correlate of an increased risk to develop alcoholism in BD, or of a persistently worse clinical and functional status in BD patients in remission from alcoholism, supporting the clinical recommendation that efforts should be made to prevent or early diagnose and treat alcoholism in BD patients.

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Stress and consumption of alcohol in humans with a Type 1 family history of alcoholism in an experimental laboratory setting

This paper investigates how stress interacts with alcohol consumption in subjects with a family history of alcoholism. One mechanism for increases in alcohol intake may be that stress alters the subjective effects produced by the drug.

58 healthy volunteers, divided into two groups of family history positive (FHP) and two groups of family history negative (FHN) participated in two laboratory sessions, in which they performed in one out of two sessions a stress task. Then subjects were allowed to choose up to six additional drinks of ethanol or placebo depending on which session they were randomly assigned to start with.

It was found that FHP subjects increased their consumption of alcohol after stress.

It is possible that both stress and alcohol specifically exaggerate the feelings of the reward in the FHP individuals in such way that it may increase the likelihood of consuming more alcohol.

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Expectancies regarding the interaction between smoking and substance use in alcohol-dependent smokers in early recovery.

The purpose of this study was to investigate expectancies regarding the interaction between cigarette smoking and use of alcohol among alcohol-dependent smokers in early recovery, using the Nicotine and Other Substances Interaction Expectancies Questionnaire (NOSIE).

Participants were 162 veterans, 97% male, with a mean age of 50 years, enrolled in a clinical trial aimed at determining the efficacy of an intensive smoking cessation intervention versus usual care. At baseline, participants were assessed on measures of smoking behavior, abstinence thoughts about alcohol and tobacco use, symptoms of depression, and smoking-substance use interaction expectancies. In addition, biologically verified abstinence from tobacco and alcohol was assessed at 26 weeks.

Participants reported that they expected smoking to have less of an impact on substance use than substance use has on smoking (p < .001).

Severity of depressive symptoms was significantly associated with the expectancy that smoking provides a way of coping with the urge to use other substances (p < .01).

The expectation that smoking increases substance urges/use was predictive of prospectively measured and biologically verified abstinence from smoking at 26 weeks (p < .03).

The results add to our knowledge of smoking-substance use interaction expectancies among alcohol-dependent smokers in early recovery and will inform the development of more effective counseling interventions for concurrent alcohol and tobacco use disorders.

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Activation of Group II Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors Inhibits the Discriminative Stimulus Effects of Alcohol via Selective Activity Within the Amyg

Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtypes (mGlu2/3) regulate a variety of alcohol-associated behaviors, including alcohol reinforcement, and relapse-like behavior. To date, the role of mGlu2/3 receptors in modulating the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol has not been examined.

Given that the discriminative stimulus effects of drugs are determinants of abuse liability and can influence drug seeking, we examined the contributions of mGlu2
/3 receptors in modulating the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol.

In male Long-Evans rats trained to discriminate between alcohol (1
g/kg, IG) and water, the mGlu2/3 agonist LY379268 (0.3–10mg/kg) did not produce alcohol-like stimulus effects. However, pretreatment with LY379268 (1 and 3mg/kg; in combination with alcohol) inhibited the stimulus effects of alcohol (1g/kg).

Systemic LY379268 (3
mg/kg, i.p.) was associated with increases in neuronal activity within the amygdala, but not the nucleus accumbens, as assessed by c-Fos immunoreactivity.

Intra-amygdala activation of mGlu2
/3 receptors by LY379268 (6μg) inhibited the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol, without altering response rate.

In contrast, intra-accumbens LY379268 (3
μg) profoundly reduced response rate; however, at lower LY379268 doses (0.3, 1μg), the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol and response rate were not altered.

These data suggest that amygdala mGlu2
/3 receptors have a functional role in modulating the discriminative stimulus properties of alcohol and demonstrate differential motor sensitivity to activation of mGlu2/3 receptors in the amygdala and the accumbens.

Understanding the neuronal mechanisms that underlie the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol may prove to be important for future development of pharmacotherapies for treating alcoholism.

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Ethanol Enhances Neurosteroidogenesis in Hippocampal Pyramidal Neurons by Paradoxical NMDA Receptor Activation

Using an antibody against 5α-reduced neurosteroids, predominantly allopregnanolone, we found that immunostaining in the CA1 region of rat hippocampal slices was confined to pyramidal neurons.

This neurosteroid staining was increased following 15 min administration of 60 m
m but not 20 mm ethanol, and the enhancement was blocked by finasteride and dutasteride, selective inhibitors of 5α-reductase, a key enzyme required for allopregnanolone synthesis.

Consistent with a prior report indicating that
N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR) activation can promote steroid production, we observed that d-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (APV), a competitive NMDAR antagonist, blocked the effects of 60 mm ethanol on staining.

We previously reported that 60 m
m ethanol inhibits the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP), a cellular model for memory formation, in the CA1 region.

In the present study, LTP inhibition by 60 m
m ethanol was also overcome by both the 5α-reductase inhibitors and by APV.

Furthermore, the effects of ethanol on neurosteroid production and LTP were mimicked by a low concentration of NMDA (1 μ
m), and the ability of NMDA to inhibit LTP and to enhance neurosteroid staining was reversed by finasteride and dutasteride, as well as by APV.

These results indicate that ethanol paradoxically enhances GABAergic neurosteroid production by activation of unblocked NMDARs and that acute LTP inhibition by ethanol represents a form of NMDAR-mediated metaplasticity.

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Alcohol Diversion Scheme reports: Herts and Derbyshire

Reports on Alcohol Diversion Schemes (ADS) in Herts and Derbyshire have been released by Druglink.

The schemes were set up to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder by offering those fined for alcohol-related offences the chance of a reduced payment by attending a 3 hour course. Individuals given Penalty Notices for drunk & disorderly, drunk & incapable or Section 5 Public Order offences were offered the option of halving the £80 fine to a £40 course attendance fee.

Druglink says the course encourages 'offenders to face up to the reality' of their behaviour in terms of personal health risks, whilst also being 'encouraged to think of the consequences of alcohol fuelled violent behaviour to others around them.' The reports provide further details of the project including feedback from participants and course outcomes based on surveys. > > > > Read More

Alcohol damages DNA of unborn children beyond repair, says study

Binge drinking can cause permanent genetic damage especially to the unborn children of women in the earliest stage of pregnancy, according to a study which shows for the first time how alcohol destroys DNA.

Scientists have identified the precise molecular mechanism leading to the breakdown of the body's natural defences that protect DNA against damage from excessive alcohol in the bloodstream. They believe the results demonstrate that binge drinking causes a build-up of toxins within the body, causing irreversible genetic damage, which may explain the phenomenon known as foetal-alcohol syndrome, when babies of mothers who drink during pregnancy are born with congenital learning problems.

The study was based on genetically-modified mice, but the scientists involved said the findings are applicable to humans and represent a sea-change in the understanding of how alcohol causes long-term physical damage to the body. > > > > Read More

Global Actions on Harmful Drinking

Welcome to Global Actions, your briefing on our efforts around the world as part of Global Actions on Harmful Drinking (

Key Recent Milestones


· Drink Driving initiatives have launched in Nanjing and Xi’an, with Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) signed by local stakeholders and organizations.

· Policymakers from local government agencies in each city attended the launch events and capacity-building activities.


· A Project Management Unit and Working Group has been established in Da Nang City. Two districts in Da Nang are now structuring their project teams to follow Da Nang City’s example.

· Representatives from the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP), the lead implementing organization for Global Actions, and National Economics University (NEU) met to discuss Noncommercial Alcohol in Vietnam.


· Global Actions representatives met with officials from SAB-Miller/Bavaria, the Bogotá Mayors Office, Colombia road safety organization Fondo Prevención Vial (FPV), the Association of Bars (ASOBARES), and consulting firm LTG Associates to discuss Zonas Seguras (Safe Zones), a collaborative action plan to implement safety measures in Colombia’s party centers.

· Logic models and evaluation guidelines for Zonas Seguras were established, and partners discussed expanding the project to Medillín.

· FPV officials agreed to structure and coordinate an Evaluation Training Seminar in Bogotá.
What’s Happening Next Mexico:

· Global Actions Mexico will coordinate with co-sponsor Jalisco Council Against Addictions to carry out a drink driving survey in Guadalajara. The survey will measure public awareness and knowledge of drink driving laws.


· A Pactos seminar is anticipated to occur in Bogotá. The “Pactos por la Vida” initiative is led by the Ministry of Social Protection, the United Nations and the Road Prevention Fund to discourage and prevent drink driving. Pactos managers will convene from 6 Colombian cities (Ibagué, Bucaramanga, Baranquilla, Cali, Medellín, and Neiva) for an exercise in using ICAP tools to evaluate the effectiveness of their projects.


· On July 18-20, Global Actions’ first drink driving capacity-building workshop in Nigeria will launch at the Protea Hotel Asokoro in Abuja. High profile participants include the Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the Registrar of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and the CEOs of Nigeria Breweries PLC and Guinness Nigeria PLC.

Fancd2 counteracts the toxic effects of naturally produced aldehydes in mice

Reactive aldehydes are common carcinogens. They are also by-products of several metabolic pathways and, without enzymatic catabolism, may accumulate and cause DNA damage.

Ethanol, which is metabolised to acetaldehyde, is both carcinogenic and teratogenic in humans.

Here we find that the Fanconi anaemia DNA repair pathway counteracts acetaldehyde-induced genotoxicity in mice.

Our results show that the acetaldehyde-catabolising enzyme Aldh2 is essential for the development of
Fancd2−/− embryos.

Nevertheless, acetaldehyde-catabolism-competent mothers (
Aldh2+/−) can support the development of double-mutant (Aldh2−/−Fancd2−/−) mice.

However, these embryos are unusually sensitive to ethanol exposure
in utero, and ethanol consumption by postnatal double-deficient mice rapidly precipitates bone marrow failure.

Aldh2−/−Fancd2−/− mice spontaneously develop acute leukaemia.

Acetaldehyde-mediated DNA damage may critically contribute to the genesis of fetal alcohol syndrome in fetuses, as well as to abnormal development, haematopoietic failure and cancer predisposition in Fanconi anaemia patients.

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More Dispatches from Buffalo: Regulating Alcohol

H2: Regulating Alcohol in the 20th Century and I1: American Alcohol Policy

These two sessions at the Buffalo conference demonstrate how various regulatory systems—including law and policy but also market forces and spatial relationships—interact to shape the availability of alcohol, and also its normalization, in a specific time and place. I found much to think about across the two sessions, and based on many thoughtful questions raised at each session, the rest of the audience did as well. > > > > Read More

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Public Health

The Amethyst Initiative, signed by more than 100 college presidents and other higher education officials calls for a reexamination of the minimum legal drinking age in the United States.

A central argument of the initiative is that the U.S. minimum legal drinking age policy results in more dangerous drinking than would occur if the legal drinking age were lower.

A companion organization called Choose Responsibility explicitly proposes "a series of changes that will allow 18-20 year-olds to purchase, possess and consume alcoholic beverages."

Does the age-21 drinking limit in the United States reduce alcohol consumption by young adults and its harms, or as the signatories of the Amethyst Initiative contend, is it "not working"?

In this paper, we summarize a large and compelling body of empirical evidence which shows that one of the central claims of the signatories of the Amethyst Initiative is incorrect: setting the minimum legal drinking age at 21 clearly reduces alcohol consumption and its major harms.

We use a panel fixed effects approach and a regression discontinuity approach to estimate the effects of the minimum legal drinking age on mortality, and we also discuss what is known about the relationship between the minimum legal drinking age and other adverse outcomes such as nonfatal injury and crime.

We document the effect of the minimum legal drinking age on alcohol consumption and estimate the costs of adverse alcohol-related events on a per-drink basis.

Finally we consider implications for the correct choice of a minimum legal drinking age.

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Research Letter: Alcohol Brand Preference and Binge Drinking Among Adolescents

Adolescents commonly misuse alcohol, with 24.2% reporting current binge drinking in surveys of US high school students. Early-onset drinking raises risks for drinking-related morbidity and alcohol dependence. The alcohol industry spent $1.7 billion in media advertising in 2009 (The Nielsen Co, unpublished data, 2009. Ratings and other data contained herein are the copyrighted property of The Nielsen Co. Unauthorized use of this copyrighted material is expressly prohibited. Violators may be subject to criminal and civil penalties under Federal Law [17 USC 101 et seq.]. All rights reserved.), operating only under voluntary limits regarding youth. Moreover, in 1996, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States ended its ban on television advertising. If such advertising is reaching adolescents, brands with larger ad expenditures may be chosen as favorites, and adolescents might choose a . . .

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Attitudes as Mediators of the Longitudinal Association Between Alcohol Advertising and Youth Drinking

To test the hypothesis that changes in alcohol-related attitudes and expectancies mediate the effect of alcohol advertising on youth drinking.

Longitudinal survey with a 9-month interval.

Twenty-nine public schools in 3 German states.

A total of 2130 sixth- to eighth-grade students (age range, 11-17 years; mean, 12.2 years) who were nondrinkers at baseline.

Exposure to alcohol and nonalcohol advertising was measured at baseline with masked images of 17 commercial advertisements with all brand information digitally removed; students indicated contact frequency and brand names.

Positive attitudes toward alcohol, current alcohol use, lifetime binge drinking.

A total of 581 of the students (28%) started to drink alcohol during the observation period. Alcohol use initiation was positively related to baseline alcohol advertisement exposure. This effect of alcohol advertisement exposure on alcohol use was partially mediated by a change in alcohol-related attitudes, which explained about 35% of the total effect after controlling for baseline covariates and exposure to other advertising contents. The analysis revealed similar results for binge-drinking initiation.

More favorable attitudes about alcohol may be one path through which alcohol advertising exerts behavioral influence.

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Treatment Episode Data Set–Admissions (1992 to 2009)

The Treatment Episode Data Set–Admissions (TEDS–A) provides details on individual treatment admissions throughout the United States. TEDS–A provides details on the substance(s) abused, route of administration, frequency of use, age of first use, treatment service and client characteristics, referral sources, and number of prior treatment episodes.

The 2009 TEDS–A data and documentation files are now available for download and online analysis. The updated 1992–2009 TEDS–A combined file is also available for download and online analysis.

Custom analytic tables can be produced with the TEDS–A series using Quick Tables by choosing from preselected core variables within dropdown menus. Interactive maps can be used to visually explore geographic data using a U.S. map. The maps currently available display the percentage of treatment admissions for a selected substance within a state for the years 2005 to 2009. Additional maps are planned.

Access the Combined 1992–2009 Data | Download the 2009 Report

Treatment Episode Data Set–Discharges (2006 to 2008)

The Treatment Episode Data Set–Discharges (TEDS–D) provides details on the characteristics of substance abuse treatment discharges and allows for geographic analysis within and across states. Variables available in TEDS–D provide information on the type of treatment service setting, length of stay, and reason for discharge or discontinuation of service.

The 2008 TEDS–D data and documentation files are now available for download and online analysis. In addition, and for the first time, the 2006–2008 TEDS-D combined file is also available for download and online analysis.

Custom analytic tables can be produced with the TEDS–D series using Quick Tables by choosing from preselected core variables within dropdown menus. Results can be easily copied and inserted into other documents.

Access the Combined 2006–2008 Data | Download the 2008 Report

National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (1997 to 2009)

The National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) collects annual information on the location, characteristics, services offered, and utilization of all known substance abuse treatment facilities, both public and private.

The newly created 1997–2009 combined N-SSATS data file and documentation are available for download and online analysis.

Data available include:

  • Treatment services and modalities
  • Operation and ownership
  • Accreditation
  • Client counts

Geographic data include state, county, Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS), state and county codes, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), core-based statistical area (CBSA), census region, and census division. Individual years of N-SSATS data can be accessed online.

Access the Combined 1997–2009 Data | Download the 2009 Report

Splendide Mendax: False Label Claims about High and Rising Alcohol Content of Wine

Many economists and others are interested in the phenomenon of rising alcohol content of wine and its potential causes. Has the alcohol content of wine risen—and if so, by how much, where, and when? What roles have been played by climate change and other environmental factors compared with evolving consumer preferences and expert ratings?

In this paper we explore these
questions using international evidence, combining time-series data on the alcohol content of wine from a large number of countries that experienced different patterns of climate change and influences of policy and demand shifts.

We also
examine the relationship between the actual alcohol content of wine and the alcohol content stated on the label.

The systematic patterns here suggest that
rising alcohol content of wine may be a nuisance by-product of producer responses to perceived market preferences for wines having riper, more-intense flavours, possibly in conjunction with evolving climate.

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Underage drinking on Saturday nights, socio-demographic and environmental risk factors: a cross-sectional study

Excessive alcohol consumption in underage people is a rising phenomenon. A major proportion of the disease burden and deaths of young people in developed nations is attributable to alcohol abuse. The aim of this study was to investigate social, demographic and environmental factors that may raise the risk of Saturday night drinking and binge drinking among underage school students.

The study was conducted on a sample of 845 Italian underage school students, by means of an anonymous, self-test questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression was applied to identify independent risk factors for alcohol drinking and binge drinking. Ordered logistic regression was used to identify independent risk factors for harmful drinking patterns.

The independent variables that confer a higher risk of drinking in underage students are older age classes, male sex, returning home after midnight, belonging to a group with little respect for the rules. The higher the perception of alcohol consumption by own friends group, the higher the risk. Spending time in bars or discos coincides with a two-fold or four-fold increase, respectively, in the risk of alcohol consumption.

Our findings show that certain environmental and social risk factors are associated with underage drinking. The most important role for preventing young people's exposure to these factors lies with the family, because only parents can exert the necessary control and provide a barrier against potentially harmful situations.

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Alcohol advertising ban 'no matter what'

The government is forging ahead with legislation that will crack down on alcohol advertising despite warnings of massive revenue and job losses.
> > > > Read More

Personality traits among patients with absent, current, and remitted substance use disorders

Personality traits may provide underlying risk factors for and/or sequalae to substance use disorders (SUDs).

In this study Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP) traits were compared in a clinical sample (N = 704, age 18–45) with current, past, or no historical alcohol or non-alcohol substance use disorders (AUD and NASUD) as assessed by DSM-IV semi-structured interview.

Results corroborated previous research in showing associations of negative temperament and disinhibition to SUD, highlighting the importance of these traits for indicating substance use proclivity or the chronic effects of substance use.

Certain traits (manipulativeness, self-harm, disinhibition, and impulsivity for AUD, and disinhibition and exhibitionism for NASUD) were higher among individuals with current relative to past diagnoses, perhaps indicating concurrent effects of substance abuse on personality.

The positive temperament characteristics detachment and entitlement distinguished AUDs and NASUDs, respectively, perhaps clarifying why this higher order trait tends to show limited relations to SUD generally.

These findings suggest the importance of systematically integrating pathological and normative traits in reference to substance-related diagnosis.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Validation of a nine-dimensional measure of drinking motives for use in clinical applications: The desired effects of drinking scale

The Desired Effects of Drinking (DEOD) is a 36-item, 9-subscale, self-report measure assessing reasons for drinking, concerning three general motives for alcohol use: Coping, Social, and Enhancement.

These subscales include Negative Feelings, Self-esteem, Relief, Positive Feelings, Social Facilitation, Assertion, Drug Effects, Sexual Enhancement, and Mental effects.

As part of the COMBINE study, scores from the nine DEOD subscales, along with additional information about alcohol consumption and consequences, were incorporated into personalized client feedback as part of a motivational enhancement intervention and as a guide for the development of a plan for treatment and change. With responses from a clinical sample of 572 individuals seeking alcohol treatment, the 9-subscale structure of the instrument was substantiated through a second-order confirmatory factor analysis, revealing moderately large to large factor loadings and good indices of model fit.

A third-order factor analysis indicated these nine subscales adequately represented the three drinking motives.

It is suggested these three general motives for alcohol use, which may be more distinctly delineated into the nine dimensions reflected in the DEOD structure, can be used clinically to help plan appropriate interventions and facilitate behavior change.

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The12 step affiliation and practices scale: Development and initial validation of a measure assessing 12 step affiliation

Research on instruments designed to measure endorsement of 12 step beliefs and practices among individuals with substance use disorders is virtually nonexistent. The goal of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of a novel instrument called the 12 Step Affiliation and Practices Scale (TSAPS) using a sample of young adults receiving 12 step-based residential treatment for alcohol and drug dependence.

As part of a naturalistic treatment outcome study, 300 young adults receiving residential treatment completed the TSAPS and several other assessments during and after treatment. Analyses of the TSAPS examined its factor structure, internal consistency, sensitivity to change over time, and convergent and predictive validity.

A maximum likelihood estimation factor analysis using oblique rotation produced 4 factors accounting for 61.16% of the variance. Internal consistency was very high and scores on the TSAPS significantly increased across the course of treatment. Convergent validity was demonstrated by relationships with scales of treatment attitudes, twelve step expectancies and commitment to sobriety. Predictive validity was also found, as evidenced by a relationship between total TSAPS score at 3 months post-treatment and percent of abstinent days at 6 months post-treatment.

The TSAPS shows promise as a psychometrically sound, internally reliable measure of 12 step affiliation and practices among individuals with substance dependence.

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Service to Others in Sobriety (SOS)

Alcoholics Anonymous participation has been measured in addiction research, but few validated tools distinguish components of this multi-dimensional construct.

This study provides psychometric findings for the scale “Service to Others in Sobriety (SOS)”, a brief assessment of AA-related helping (AAH).

Data are derived from a sample of treatment-seeking alcoholics, and SOS validity and response stability is reported by using a test-retest sample.

Findings demonstrated adequate psychometric properties of the SOS, including convergent validity, internal consistency (alpha=0.92) and test-rest reliability (

The SOS is a valid measure of AAH activities pertinent to the daily lives of recovering alcoholics.

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This paper is a descriptive study of social, demographic, and behavioral characteristics associated with:
  1. never attending AA,
  2. dropping out of AA, and
  3. continuing membership in AA

Only 15% of Americans with DSM-IV alcohol abuse/dependence ever attended AA meetings.

The socio-economic and behavioral characteristics of the 15% who ever attend AA meetings form a cluster which represent a high severity dimension of the externalizing disorder spectrum continuum.

The 85% of Americans with DSM-IV alcohol abuse/dependence who never attend AA meetings form a cluster which represents the low severity dimension of the externalizing disorders spectrum continuum.

This study's findings concerning gender, age and occupations of individuals continuing to attend AA replicate and validate the findings in the Alcoholics Anonymous 1992 Membership Survey. This is the first study validating the AA surveys in an independent representative sample of the US population.

This study's findings support Battaglini et al's behavioral economic model of Alcoholics Anonymous as a self-control commitment device used by respondents with high perceived severity of alcohol-related problems to achieve and supporting abstinence.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Socio-demographic Predictors of Dimensions of the AUDIT Score in A Population Sample of Working-age Men in Izhevsk, Russia

To investigate the relationship between socio-demographic factors and alcohol drinking patterns identified through a formal analysis of the factor structure of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score in a population sample of working-age men in Russia.

In 2008–2009, a sample of 1005 men aged 25–59 years living in Izhevsk, Russia were interviewed and information collected about socio-demographic circumstances. Responses to the AUDIT questions were obtained through a self-completed questionnaire. Latent dimensions of the AUDIT score were determined using confirmatory factor analysis and expressed as standard deviation (SD) units. Structural equation modelling was used to estimate the strength of association of these dimensions with socio-demographic variables.

The AUDIT was found to have a two-factor structure: alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. Both dimensions were higher in men who were unemployed seeking work compared with those in regular paid employment. For consumption, there was a difference of 0.59 SDs, (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.23, 0.88) and for alcohol-related problems one of 0.66 SD (95% CI: 0.31, 1.00). Alcohol-related problems were greater among less educated compared with more educated men (P-value for trend = 0.05), while consumption was not related to education. Similar results were found for associations with an amenity index based on car ownership and central heating. Neither dimension was associated with marital status. While we found evidence that the consumption component of AUDIT was underestimated, this did not appear to explain the associations of this dimension with socio-demographic factors. Conclusions: Education and amenity index, both measures of socio-economic position, were inversely associated with alcohol-related problems but not with consumption. This discordance suggests that self-reported questions on frequency and volume may be less sensitive markers of socio-economic variation in drinking than are questions about dependence and harm. Further investigation of the validity of the consumption component of AUDIT in Russia is warranted as it appears that the concept of a standard ‘drink’ as used in the instrument is not understood.

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Alcohol News - 27/2011

Stockholm News (Sweden) - Swedes drink less alcohol
The alcohol consumption in Sweden was 13% lower in 2010 compared with 2004 when the consumption peaked. This development has come as a surprise for many researchers since the import restrictions for private use was liberalized in 2004. (Sweden) - Few want lower tax on alcohol
According to a survey made by the SOM-institute in Gothenburg, only 20% want lower tax on alcohol. Six years ago, their number was 57% reports news agency TT.
WebMD (USA) - Nearly Half of U.S. Teens Smoke, Drink Alcohol, or Use Drugs
Nearly half of all American high school students smoke, drink alcohol, or use illicit drugs, according to a new report. And one in four who started using these substances before they turned 18 may become addicts.
USA Today (USA) - Report: July 4 weekend dangerous for male underage drinking
Underage males are twice as likely to go to the emergency room for an alcohol-related visit over the Independence Day weekend, a new study shows.
Irish Independent (Ireland) - Smokers and drinkers pay higher price than anywhere else in EU
HAVING a smoke and a drink is dearer in Ireland than anywhere in Europe. New figures also show that food and soft drinks are 20pc more expensive here than in the other 26 European Union states.
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) - Alcohol industry upset over link in plain packaging ads
WHILE Australian anti-smoking campaigns are broadcast around the world, the latest advertising efforts of the tobacco industry have angered a potential ally against government regulation - the wine industry.
BBC News (UK) - New task force to tackle Glasgow's booze culture
A multi-agency task force has been set up to tackle disorder and anti-social fallout from Glasgow's "booze culture".
BBC News (Northern Ireland) - Alcohol link to increased suicide rate in NI
Alcohol abuse is a major factor contributing to people taking their own lives, according to the findings of an inquiry.
Scottish Daily Record (Scotland) - Nicola Sturgeon: SNP will make war on cheap alcohol top priority in 2012
HEALTH secretary Nicola Sturgeon yesterday vowed to drive through minimum pricing for drink within a year.
TopNews New Zealand - Study Links Memory Blackouts with Alcohol Related Injuries
A recent study conducted by the U. S. and Canadian researchers has found that college students who experience more memory blackouts are at a higher risk of suffering from injuries. Memory blackout is an inability to recall events when a person is under the influence of alcohol. It’s not related to any other type of memory loss.
TVNZ (New Zealand) - Push to ask patients more about their drinking
Patients' drinking habits would come under closer scrutiny during GP visits if an alcohol screening programme becomes a reality.
Manila Bulletin (Philippines) - Congress to fix alcohol taxation with adverse ruling from WTO
Congress is going to fix the excise tax on imported spirits as the World Trade Organization (WTO) is set to release the official report of the case filed by EU and the US against the Philippines over discriminatory treatment on imported liquor.
Montreal Gazette - Binge drinking can damage young brains, study says
Young binge drinkers could be doing serious damage - to their brains. New research by scientists at the University of Cincinnati (UC) has shown that too much alcohol can harm brain cells in still-growing brains.
PR Newswire - Drink beer to lose weight? Muscle-up with a vodka tonic? Latest Deceptive and Dangerous Marketing Trend by Big Alcohol
Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog, released a new study today: Questionable Health Claims by Alcohol Companies: From Protein Vodka to Weight-Loss Beer. The report analyzes Big Alcohol's latest marketing scheme to jump on the healthy product bandwagon made popular by the food industry. But, the report concludes, when it comes to alcoholic beverages, such marketing messages are "legally tenuous, morally unsound, and potentially dangerous."
Medscape - Elderly Are Society's 'Invisible Addicts,' Report Says
Not enough is being done to identify and fight substance abuse in the elderly, according to a new report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) in the United Kingdom.
Wigan Today (UK) - Drinking ourselves to death
A new report by the Centre for Public Health has shown 53 women were killed by alcohol abuse in 2006/08 – a staggering 26%rise compared with 2005/07. (Canada) - Health data can help address alcohol-related harm in youth
Using ambulance, hospital and other routinely collected health data can provide a more comprehensive, dynamic picture of trends in alcohol use among young people, according to a new report involving CAMH collaboration.
Scotland Courier (Scotland) - Alcohol Focus Scotland says it's time for society to shun excessive drinking
The social acceptability of excessive drinking must be challenged to prevent the harmful effects it has on individuals and communities, a leading charity says.
The (Sri Lanka) - Alcohol policy in Sri Lanka needs a rethink
In recent years there have been a number of developments in alcohol policies the world over. A noteworthy aspect in these is that the greatest public support is given to policy measures that are not seen as intruding on the moderate or occasional drinker and do not penalize the alcohol industry.
London South East (UK) - Church of England reviews alcohol investment policy
The Church of England could threaten to pull its investments from British-listed supermarkets that fail to meet its minimum ethical standards on the sale of alcohol, in an attempt to stem the sale of cheap alcohol and reduce binge drinking.
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