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, December 24, 2011

Acute alcohol consumption is associated with increased interatrial electromechanical delay in healthy men

Acute alcohol consumption can cause atrial fibrillation in patients with, and without, heart disease. Increased atrial electromechanical delay (EMD) has been associated with atrial fibrillation. We evaluated the atrial conduction properties by tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) echocardiography in healthy men following acute alcohol intake.

Thirty healthy male volunteers were included in this study. Baseline ECG, heart rate, blood pressure, and TDI echocardiographic findings were compared to readings take one hour after drinking six 12-oz cans of beer (76.8 g of ethanol).

Although the blood pressure and heart rate remained similar before and one hour after alcohol intake, Pmax and Pd values were significantly prolonged (114.2 ± 10.4 vs 100.8 ±
± 10.6, p = 0.002; 50.6 ± 9.6 vs 34.5 ± 8.8, p < 0.0001). Interatrial EMD was significantly
increased after drinking alcohol compared to the baseline (19.8 ± 9.2 vs 14.0 ± 5.5 ms, p < 0.0002).

Acute moderate
alcohol intake was associated with an increased interatrial EMD obtained by TDI echocardiography. This finding may help explain how these patients express increased susceptibility to atrial fibrillation.

Read Full Article (PDF)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Different guidelines for different countries? On the scientific basis of low-risk drinking guidelines and their implications

The scientific evidence for low-risk drinking guidelines was examined in a narrative review focusing on three points: definition of exposure, the best way to select outcomes and risk relations and how to determine thresholds.

With respect to exposure, at least two dimensions should be incorporated: average volume of alcohol consumption and patterns of irregular heavy drinking occasions.

Mortality should be selected as the most severe outcome, and a disaggregated approach should be adopted incorporating the regional demographic and cause of death structure.

Finally, our plea is for establishing a general threshold for acceptable risk on a societal level rather than ad hoc specific committees setting norms for specific risks. Acceptable thresholds will be different if the risk is to oneself or to others.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

News Release - "Hazardous" drinking in minor injuries unit similar to that of emergency care

“Hazardous” drinking in minor injuries unit similar to that of emergency care. The number and profile of “hazardous” drinkers turning up to an urban minor injuries unit is similar to that seen in emergency care, suggesting these units may be equally suitable for targeted interventions on alcohol, according to research from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.

Minor injuries units—which offer rapid treatment to patients with less serious injuries—were developed to ease the pressures faced by emergency care departments, where around one in five patients has a minor injury.

Dr Robert Patton, from the Addictions Department at the Institute of Psychiatry and first author of the study, says: "Although MIUs are not set up to specifically treat alcohol problems, this pilot study demonstrates they are an appropriate location to identify patients who might benefit from some help or advice about their drinking, and suggests that with appropriate training MIU staff could then direct them toward appropriate services."

The researchers collected data from adults attending a major London hospital’s minor injuries unit (MIU) over a period of four weeks. The research was published online in Emergency Medicine Journal. > > > > Read More

Hazardous drinking among patients attending a minor injuries unit: a pilot study

Excessive alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of accidental injury. This pilot study reports on the prevalence of hazardous drinkers presenting to a minor injuries unit. The proportion of hazardous drinkers is broadly similar to that found in emergency departments, suggesting that such units could also host alcohol intervention and brief advice activities.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

SAMHSA’s Definition and Guiding Principles of Recovery – Answering the Call for Feedback

As part of SAMHSA’s efforts to provide stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the working definition of recovery and related guiding principles, several public feedback forums were run during the period August 12- 26, 2011. In addition to the forums, feedback was also submitted via the comments on the Recovery Defined – Give Us Your Feedback blog post.

The response to our request for feedback was tremendous and clearly demonstrated the field’s interest and concern on this important issue. The blog post received 259 comments. The two forums combined had over 1,000 participants, nearly 500 ideas, and over 1,200 comments on the ideas. Over 8,500 votes were also cast in support of the ideas on the forums.

SAMHSA appreciates the many thoughtful responses and suggestions received. All ideas were given careful consideration, and suggestions were incorporated into the final definition and principles (see below). Of particular note, we have added a preamble to the definition and principles emphasizing that there are many different pathways to recovery, and we have highlighted the importance of hope as the catalyst to the recovery process.

SAMHSA will disseminate the definition and principles as a resource to policy-makers, systems administrators, providers, practitioners, consumers, peers, family members, advocates, and others. The definition and principles are intended to help with the design, measurement, and reimbursement of services and supports to meet the individualized needs of those with mental disorders and substance use disorders. > > > > Read More

Acquisition, expression, and reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference in mice: effects of exposure to stress and modulation by me

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors mediate some of the rewarding and motivational effects of ethanol, including relapses. Relapses are common in drug addicts during abstinence when exposure to any stressor ensues.

However, the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the ethanol- and stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference has not yet been explored. Therefore, the present study investigated the influence of mecamylamine, a nicotinic acetylcholine receptors antagonist on acquisition, expression, and reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference in adult male Swiss mice.

The results revealed that mecamylamine (0.1–10 µg/mouse, intracerebroventricularly) dose dependently prevented the development, expression, and reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference.

Further, acute treatment with mecamylamine blocked the restraint stress and forced swim stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-induced conditioned place preference.

All of these treatments had no influence on the locomotor activity. Therefore, it is concluded that mecamylamine blocks the acquisition, expression and reinstatement of conditioned reinforcing effects of ethanol without per se reinforcing or aversive influence.

This ability of mecamylamine might be a potential advantage in the treatment of alcoholism.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Learn more about signs, treatments, and what you can do about FASDs. > > > > Read More

SPECIAL: Year in Review: Alcohol news in 2011


YLE (Finland) - Alcohol Consumption Falls in Finland
Finns drank less alcohol this year than last. However, if alcohol tax is not raised, consumption might yet exceed recent records, says Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.
Read more
Herald Sun (Australia) - Alcohol behind almost all murders in Queensland, figures reveal
ALMOST every murder committed in Queensland during the past year was suspected to involve alcohol, crime statistics show.
Read more
Focus Infomation (Spain) - Tougher traffic laws cut road deaths in Spain
The government credits the introduction of tough new road laws as well as the greater use of alcohol checkpoints and speed scanners for the decline in deaths from road accidents.
Read more
Innovations (Sweden) - Consumption Report 2010: Swedes' alcohol consumption is falling
Despite the fact that the Swedish Alcohol Retail Monopoly's sales are rising and statistics from Statistics Sweden indicate that we drink more and more alcohol, the trend is going in the opposite direction – Swedes' alcohol consumption is falling. This emerges from the Consumption Report 2010 (Konsumtionsrapporten 2010) published by the Centre for Consumer Science at the University of Gothenburg.
Read more
The Telegraph (Denmark) - Why is Denmark the cancer capital of the world?
One reason why Danish people seem to be particularly susceptible to cancer is that its record of diagnosing the disease is so good, meaning that more cases are picked up by the country's doctors than in most other parts of the world. But there are also lifestyle factors which could be having an influence on the figures reported by the World Cancer Research Fund from the World Health Organisation.
Read more (UK) - Alcohol-related liver disease in young people up 50% in a decade
The number of young people having to be treated in hospital for serious liver disease has risen by more than 50 per cent in the last decade, figures show.
Read more


European Public Health Alliance (EU) - 2010 - Overview of activities in implementation of EU Alcohol Strategy
Between September and November 2010 all the existing EU structures working on alcohol conducted their meetings. You can find below reports of the following : the Open Alcohol and Health Forum, the European Alcohol and Health Forum, the Forum Science Group, as well as the Committee on National Policy and Action.
Read more
Medical News Today - WHO Study: Alcohol Is International Number One Killer, AIDS Second
Today the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that alcohol is to blame for just about 4% of, or 2.5 million deaths worldwide annually. Alcohol attributable injuries are of a growing concern to the public health community, with alcohol-related injuries such as road traffic accidents, burns, poisonings, falls and drownings making up more than a third of the disease burden attributable to alcohol consumption.
Read more
Barents Observer (Russia) - Every fifth Russian man dies of alcohol
The Russians drink an average of 15,76 liters of pure alcohol every year, which makes them the fourth most drinking country in the world, a new report from the World Health Organization reads.
Read more
RIA Novosti (Moldova) - WHO names Moldova world's leader in alcohol consumption
Moldovans consume more alcohol per head than citizens of any other country, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its report.
Read more
GlobalPost (Russia) - NEWS FLASH! Beer is alcohol, Russia says
The Russian parliament today finally acknowledged something taken as given the world over: beer is alcohol. The Duma passed a law on second reading (a third, largely ceremonial reading will follow, but the second is the most important) a bill that explicitly acknowledges that fact and bans the sale of beer between 11pm and 8am.
Read more


EurekAlert (Sweden) - Parents important for keeping adolescents off alcohol
Parents who are both present and engaged are the very best way of preventing teenagers from consuming large quantities of alcohol. Adolescents who smoke, stay out with their friends and have access to alcohol – from their parents, for example – when they are as young as 13 are at greater risk of becoming binge drinkers in their late teens, reveals a new thesis from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
Read more (UK) - Health bodies slam "toothless" alcohol policy
Six prominent health organisations withdrew their support on Monday for a government initiative aimed at promoting responsible alcohol consumption, accusing ministers of not standing up to the drinks industry.
Read more
Times LIVE (South Africa) - State declares war on alcohol abuse
The government is waging war on the alarming increase in the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and has warned of stricter legislation - including raising the legal age for alcohol consumption from 18 to 21.
Read more
Norway: Government has to accept alcohol advertising on TV
The EU Commission will not grant Norway a continued exemption from the implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. This means that the Norwegian government will have to accept TV advertising for alcoholic beverages in Norway when it is broadcast from another country.
Read more


BCM (Russia) - Vladimir Putin speaks out against sharp rise in prices on alcohol in Russia
Speaking at the meeting of the Government Presidium on Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that a sharp hike in excise duties and, accordingly, the price of alcohol would be unacceptable.
Read more
Eureka! Science News - Underage binge drinking can create lasting brain changes
Adolescents represent the majority of people who binge drink. This may come as a surprise to some, but recent surveys indicate that episodes of heavy alcohol drinking within the previous two weeks are reported by 12 percent of 8th graders, 22 percent of 10th graders, 28 percent of 12th grade seniors and 44 percent of college students.
Read more
BMJ (EU) - Alcohol attributable burden of incidence of cancer in eight European countries based on results from prospective cohort study
In western Europe, an important proportion of cases of cancer can be attributable to alcohol consumption, especially consumption higher than the recommended upper limits. These data support current political efforts to reduce or to abstain from alcohol consumption to reduce the incidence of cancer.
Read more - Glass or two of wine a week 'could damage baby'
Pregnant women who drink as little as a glass of wine a week could be putting their babies at risk, according to new research which contracts recent studies indicating that an occasional tipple is harmless.
Read more (Italy) - Study: Italian youth at alcohol risk
The country's Higher Health Institute released a report Thursday saying at-risk drinkers of both sexes under the age of 16 are on the rise, with 18.5 percent of males and 15.5 percent of females in that age bracket showing worrying drink patterns, ANSA reported.
Read more
Focus-Fen (Sweden) - Sweden launches new strategy to combat narcotic, alcohol problems
The Swedish government Tuesday launched a new comprehensive strategy to deal with alcohol, drugs, doping and tobacco problems together.
Read more
ABC Online (Australia) - Alcohol strongly linked to cancer
The Cancer Council of Australia has issued a new position statement recommending that people limit their alcohol intake to reduce their risk of developing cancer.
Read more


Wine Spectator (Australia) - Aussie Health Group Says No to Alcohol, Even in Moderation
An Australian health organization has issued an eyebrow-raising report urging people to abstain from alcohol completely in order to reduce their risk of cancer.
Read more
BBC News (UK) - Alcohol-related hospital admissions reach record level
The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England has topped one million for the first time, according to official statistics.
Read more


The Hindu - Even small amounts of alcohol impact the brain
Just the one drink can sometimes prove one too many when it comes to alcohol, according to Chinese researchers who have discovered that even minimal alcohol intake can cause immediate damage to the brain.
Read more
Daily Mail (EU) - Men twice as likely as women to die before 65 because of smoking and alcohol abuse
Smoking and drinking too much means men are twice as likely as women to die before the age of 65, a European Union study has revealed.
Read more


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.
Read more
NHS Choices - Alcohol 'may damage a baby's DNA'
“Alcohol damages DNA of unborn children beyond repair,” The Independent reported today. The newspaper says that “scientists have identified the precise molecular mechanism” through which this damage happens.
Read more
Alcohol and Alcoholism (EU) - Heavy Episodic Drinking in Europe: A Cross Section Study in Primary Care in Six European Countries
Consecutive attenders aged 18–75 were recruited from the UK, Spain, Slovenia, Estonia, the Netherlands and Portugal and followed up after 6 months. Data were collected on alcohol use using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification test (at recruitment and 6 months) and risk factors for heavy episodic alcohol use at recruitment.
Read more
Daily Mail - How much alcohol is REALLY safe? None, say cancer specialists
French researchers said most nations including the UK and U.S. set their drink limit guidelines to deal with short-term effects of alcohol and were not designed to prevent chronic diseases.
Read more
The Guardian (France) - France's young binge drinkers upset cafe society with their 'British boozing'
Midnight on the Left Bank and the cafes and bars on Place St-Michel are, on the surface at least, unchanged from the 1920s, when Ernest Hemingway immortalised one in the opening chapter of A Moveable Feast.
Read more

AUGUST (Ireland) - Drink may cause ‘invisible’ brain harm
MORE than 4,000 Irish people could be suffering from an "invisible" serious brain injury caused by alcohol abuse, according to research.
Read more
AFP (USA) - More than half of Americans drink alcohol: report
More than half of Americans aged 12 and up drink alcohol, a quarter binge-drank in the past month, and one in 14 teens has used marijuana, a US government agency says in a report on substance abuse.
Read more
Medscape - Industry Influence on UN Noncommunicable Disease Summit?
The United Nations (UN) High-Level Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) will convene in New York City from September 19 to 20. However, negotiations recently broke down in drafting an outcomes document that will contain commitments toward progress in 4 target NCD areas: cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, cancer, and diabetes.
Read more


Austrian Independent (Austria) - Alcohol addiction warning issued
Around 900,000 of the 8.5 million residents of Austrian are consuming health-threatening amounts of alcohol, experts have warned.
Read more
Euractiv (EU) - Combat alcohol abuse with mandatory labels, EU urged
Policymakers gathered in Brussels this week to discuss the risks posed by alcohol abuse to unborn children urged the EU to introduce mandatory warning labels on bottles and cans.
Read more (New Zealand) - Alcohol contributes to quarter of child deaths – report
Alcohol contributed to the deaths of one in four children and young people who died between 2005 and 2007, a new report has found.
Read more
The Age (Australia) - Experts see red over wine 'myth'
RED wine's reputation for preventing heart attacks has come under fire from health experts who have declared every drink of alcohol can do you damage.
Read more
CNN International - WHO outlines steps to reduce leading causes of death
To decrease deaths from noninfectious diseases, countries should pass excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, encourage smoke-free public places, reduce salt and trans fat in foods, and increase awareness of diet and physical activity, according to a World Health Organization report.
Read more
Los Angeles Times (USA) - Drinking problems have increased in last 60 years
An analysis of 31 studies on alcohol drinking patterns worldwide has found that people born in North America after World War II are more likely than other groups to engage in binge drinking and develop alcoholism. Younger groups consistently consume more alcohol than older generations.
Read more
European Public Health Alliance (WHO Europe) - New Action Plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol adopted by 53 countries in Europe
Representatives from the 53 WHO European Region Member States met at the 61st session of the Regional Committee for Europe and adopted the European Action Plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.
Read more


IceNews (Denmark) - WHO calls for Denmark drinking age hike
The World Health Organisation has warned the new Danish government that it should take steps to reduce the amount of alcohol being consumed by teenagers.
Read more
Independent Online (South Africa) - Foetal alcohol syndrome is on the rise, says study
FOETAL alcohol syndrome is ravaging Western Cape farming communities, with hundreds of children affected, research has found.
Read more
PR Newswire - Big Alcohol Drunk With Power
Industry watchdog Alcohol Justice, formerly Marin Institute, released a new report today that chronicles an obscene outlay of Big Alcohol dollars to California legislators in 2010.
Read more
EurekAlert (Baltics/Italy) - Link between alcohol and harm is stronger in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden than in Italy
Research clearly shows a dose-response relationship between alcohol and health issues such as cirrhosis of the liver. More recent research has shown linkages between greater drinking and greater problems such as interpersonal violence. A study of the impact that the larger, cultural context of drinking in several European countries may have on the relationship between drinking and harm has found that this relationship is stronger in the Baltic countries and Sweden than Italy.
Read more (EU) - Commission stresses the need for action to protect young people from alcohol-related harm at the EU Alcohol and Health Forum
Although minimum drinking age in most EU Member states is set at 18 years old, the most recent European surveys show that half of school children aged 15 to16 years have drunk alcohol in the past month. In order to tackle this situation and take action to protect young people, experts, industry and other stakeholder have met at the the 9th plenary meeting of the European Alcohol and Health Forum held in in Brussels on 19 October.
Read more


NHS Choices - Breast cancer link to alcohol studied
Women who drink within the recommended limits are still putting their health at risk, according to The Daily Telegraph. It said new research shows that less than one small glass of wine a day increases the risk of breast cancer.
Read more
EPHA (EU) - 68 NGOs call of a new EU alcohol strategy
Under Eurocare’s leadership, 68 international, European and National NGOs (including EPHA) joined forces to call for a comprehensive Alcohol Policy Strategy in the European Union 2013-2020.
Read more
AHN | All Headline News - Teenage girls up breast cancer risk with every alcoholic drink
Among teen girls with a family history of breast cancer, there is a significant association between the amount of alcohol consumed and the risk of getting benign breast disease, which is a known breast cancer risk factor.
Read more
Toronto Star (Canada) - Women are the new face of alcohol advertising
She's the image of poised perfection: a come-hither blonde in a sexy gold dress, balancing a martini between polished red nails, painted just a shade darker than the swizzle stick perched jauntily through the “o” in “Classic Cocktails” above her head.
Read more
The (Germany) - One in five German children have alcoholic or drug-addict parents
One in five German children have alcoholic or drug-addict parents, according to the latest annual figures on drugs and addiction.
Read more
Kashmir Watch (China) - China Prohibits Advertising of Alcoholic Drinks
Nine out of the more than 20 national Chinese television networks (CCTV) will not air TV commercials that advertise beer, wine, or any other type of alcoholic drink, according to He Haiming, vice-director of CCTV's advertising operations and management center, as told to the Beijing Today newspaper.
Read more


Baltic Business News (Estonia) - Researcher: Estonia should triple alcohol excise duty
Indrek Saar writes in his doctor’s thesis that the alcohol taxation rate that was introduced in 2009 is notably below the optimum level.
Read more
The Atlantic (Italy) - A Sobering Look at Alcohol: 10-Year Study Finds High Death Rate
A number of studies in the past few years have suggested health benefits from drinking small or moderate amounts of alcohol. This can encourage people to look at alcohol almost as if it's medicine. A recent study of alcohol use in Italy paints a much more sobering picture.
Read more
Mindshare (Lithuania) - Alcohol advertising ban denied
Lithuanian Parliament has abjured complete ban of alcohol advertising. Alcohol advertising details are in constant questioning, as the latter plan oversaw a complete ban of outdoor, internet and print advertising.
Read more
Medical Daily - Underage Drinking Boosts Criminal Activity: Researchers
While alcohol has frequently been linked to criminal activity among adults, a new study finds that there is a strong association between childhood drinking and criminal activity.
Read more
New Zealand Herald (Australia) - New warning labels for pregnant women on NZ liquor products
Warning labels aimed at pregnant women will be added to all alcohol products in New Zealand and Australia.
Read more

Read Full Newsletter

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Call for Abstracts for the 2012 Student Poster Showcase Award Contest

What is the student poster award contest?
The American Public Health Association, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Section features a poster contest to students in the field of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. The 2012 contest will be the fifth contest of its kind. Unlike other abstract submissions, there are only a very limited number of slots open for consideration. During the program planning process, abstract reviewers will determine which of the submissions are eligible for a slot in the contest. If chosen, posters will be reviewed and judged at the APHA conference in San Francisco by experts in their respective fields (alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs) and one poster in each category will be recognized with an award.

What are the criteria for awards? Several features are important for a good poster. Below you’ll find the criteria by which the posters are scored and judged:
  • Innovation and Importance: what is new, creative, ground-breaking about the project? How important is the work for ATOD and/or public health in general?
  • Project Design and Implementation: quality and level of detail and fit of method with the project aims. How was the project conducted to achieve its goals?
  • Implications and Generalizability: How well are implications for practice or policy discussed? Are results broad enough to change the way the field thinks or acts?
  • Quality of Communication—is the poster well organized, graphically interesting, appealing to the eye, self explanatory and clearly presented?
  • During the session, is the presenter able to supplement the poster with a brief and clear presentation in person?
  • Overall Rating: is the whole greater or lesser than its component parts (above)?

Read Full Anouncement (PDF)

Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner's Guide

This pocket guide is condensed from the NIAAA Guide, Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide. It was produced in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Read Full Pocket Guide (PDF)

Interrelationship of substance use and psychological distress over the life course among a cohort of urban African Americans

Substance use and psychological problems are major public health issues because of their high prevalence, co-occurrence, clustering in socio-economically disadvantaged groups, and serious consequences. However, their interrelationship over time is not well understood.

This study identifies and compares the developmental epidemiology from age 6 to 42 of substance use and psychological distress in a population of African American men and women. Data come from the Woodlawn study, a longitudinal study of an urban community cohort followed since 1966. We use structural equation modeling to examine pathways between substance use (i.e., alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine) and psychological distress over time by gender.

We find significant continuity from adolescence to midlife for substance use and for psychological distress, as well as significant correlations within time periods between substance use and psychological distress, particularly among women. We also find greater adolescent substance use predicts psychological distress in young adulthood for men, but no cross-lag associations for women. Women's adolescent psychological distress and substance use are linked uniquely to that of their mothers. Findings show additional gender differences in the developmental etiology of substance use and psychological distress.

Findings demonstrate the continuity of substance use and psychological distress over time; the contemporaneous relationships between psychological distress and substance use within time periods, and minimal cross-lagged relationships. Findings also show that adolescent substance use may set boys on a pathway of long-term psychological distress, thus adding to evidence of negative consequences of frequent use.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Alcohol-Only Admissions Comprised 23% of Treatment Admissions in 2009; Nearly 40% of Admissions Were for Drugs Other Than Alcohol

The percentage of substance abuse treatment admissions for drug-only problems has risen since 1992 while the percentage for alcohol-only and the co-abuse of alcohol and drugs has declined, according to the most recent data from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS).

The percentage of drug-only treatment admissions increased from 20% in 1992 to 38% in 2009 (the most current year for which data are available). Alcohol-only treatment admissions, which had surpassed drug-only admissions prior to 1999, decreased from 37% to 23% over the same period. The percentage of treatment admissions for the co-abuse of alcohol and other drugs also decreased, from a high of 44% in 1997 to 37% in 2009.

While these findings may reflect actual changes in substance abuse and dependence, they may also be the result of other factors, such as changes in insurance policies or access to treatment.

Read Full FAX (PDF)

Critique 065: Are there differences in mortality between people consuming wine and those consuming other types of alcoholic beverages? — 20 December 2

Holahan CJ, Schutte KK, Brennan PL, North RJ, Holahah CK, Moos BS, Moos RH. Wine consumption and 20-year mortality among late-life moderate drinkers. J
Stud Alcohol Drug 2012; 73: 80–88.

Forum Comments

Background: There are consistent data showing that moderate consumers of alcohol have lower risk of cardiovascular disease and many other diseases of ageing, as well as lower risk of mortality, than do abstainers.1,2 Experimental data in animals and humans have defined a large number of mechanisms for such an effect.3 There is still some inconsistency as to differential effects according to the type of beverage consumed. In most epidemiologic studies, wine consumers have been shown to have higher levels of education and income, to consume a healthier diet, and have other characteristics that are associated with better health outcomes than consumers of other beverages.4,5 A recent meta-analysis by Constanzo et al6 showed that moderate consumers of both wine and beer had lower risk of cardiovascular disease than did people who generally consumed spirits.

Experimental data clearly show that polyphenols and other constituents in wine, in addition to the alcohol, have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk in animals, including humans.3, 7-9 The question is whether epidemiologic studies comparing people who consume certain beverages (rather than comparing the beverages themselves) demonstrate such differences in terms of health effects.

A Forum reviewer points out that studies often show that “it is the type of alcoholic beverage which is consumed most frequently in a population which exerts the clearest protective effect. For example, in France it is moderate wine consumption and in Germany moderate beer consumption associated with the healthiest outcomes.10-11 Wine consumers in a customary non-wine drinking country like Denmark may be especially different from the general population. Hence, attempting to adjust for the potential confounding by other lifestyle factors is an ongoing challenge for epidemiologists who are seeking to determine if the consumption of one type of beverage containing alcohol has different effects on health from the consumption of other types of beverage.” > > > > Read More

Big Alcohol‘s Global Playbook: New markets, reduced regulation and lower taxes

As the global alcohol industry becomes increasingly concentrated in a few big international companies, its practices around the world become remarkably similar. Public health professionals seeking to reduce the harm from alcohol can benefit from documenting and analyzing these trends and from studying the efficacy of differing responses. Several recent reports illustrate these convergences. > > > > Read More

Monday, December 19, 2011

NHS Operating Framework 2012/13: implications for alcohol harm reduction?

The NHS Operating Framework 2012/13 was recently published and sets out business planning arrangements and national priorities for the year ahead. The framework contains a number of 'Domain areas' within which there is scope to consider implications for alcohol harm reduction.
> > > > Read More

Positive Alcohol Expectancies Mediate the Influence of the Behavioral Activation System on Alcohol Use: A Prospective Path Analysis

Gray's (1975, 1987) behavioral activation (BAS) and behavioral inhibition systems (BIS) are thought to underlie sensitivity to reinforcement and punishment, respectively.

Consistent with Gray's theory and the Acquired Preparedness model, BAS may facilitate the learning of positive alcohol expectancies (PAEs) over time, leading to increases in drinking. Yet, no prospective tests of this pathway have been reported.

The present study investigated whether BAS prospectively predicted PAEs and whether PAEs mediated the association between BAS and subsequent alcohol use. We hypothesized that BAS would influence drinking specifically via enhancement-related PAEs. We also explored the role of BIS in PAEs and drinking.

College students (N = 557) completed online BAS, PAE, and alcohol use measures in September of their first (T1), second (T2), and third (T3) years of college. We conducted autoregressive path analyses with three BAS subscales and BIS (T1) as predictors, four PAE types (T2) as mediators, and quantity and frequency of drinking (T3) as outcomes.

The BAS Fun-Seeking scale was prospectively associated with PAEs, and there was a significant indirect path from Fun-Seeking to alcohol use mediated specifically through activity enhancement PAEs. BIS was positively associated with some PAE types, but did not have indirect effects on drinking.

Findings are consistent with both the theory of the BAS and the Acquired Preparedness model, as individuals high on BAS Fun-Seeking may find the rewarding properties of alcohol more reinforcing, leading to stronger enhancement PAEs and increased drinking over time.

The prospective design helps establish the temporal association between BAS and alcohol-related learning, and points to the need for prevention efforts that target these at-risk students.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Failure to Consider Future Consequences Increases the Effects of Alcohol on Aggression

The failure to consider the future consequences of one's behavior is a major risk factor for aggression. Aggressive people tend to act first, and think later.

Some people focus on the “here and now” rather than on the future, a tendency measured by the
Consideration of Future Consequences (CFC) scale (Strathman, Gleicher, Boninger, & Edwards, 1994).

Alcohol intoxication is a neuro-biological variable that produces similar effects. Participants in the present experiment completed the
CFC scale and then consumed either an alcohol or a placebo beverage. Next, they competed against a same-sex ostensible partner on an interpersonally adversarial competitive task in which the winner could administer electric shocks to the loser (the aggression measure).

As expected, aggression was highest in intoxicated persons with low
CFC scores.

Being unconcerned about the future consequences of one's actions, in conjunction with acute alcohol intoxication, combine in a pernicious manner to increase aggression.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail:

Digital Alcohol Marketing (Parts 1-4)

Dr. David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, walks us through the issues surrounding alcohol marketing in the digital age.

View YOUTUBE Videos

Digital Alcohol Marketing (Part 1): Alcohol Marketing in the Digital Age

Digital Alcohol Marketing (Part 2): Social Media Tour

Digital Alcohol Marketing (Part 3): Rules of the Road

Digital Alcohol Marketing (Part 4): A Path Forward

Youth Exposure to Alcohol Product Advertising on Local Radio in 75 U.S. Markets, 2009

Alcohol is the number one drug problem among youth, causing 4,600 deaths among persons under 21 every year. At least 13 longitudinal studies have found a strong association between youth exposure to alcohol marketing and underage drinking. The alcohol industry observes a voluntary 30 percent limit on the size of the underage audience for its advertising. The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 24 state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission have all encouraged the industry to adopt a more restrictive standard.

Radio continues to be a vibrant medium among youth, despite the proliferation and innovation of digital media. For this report, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed alcohol advertisements placed on radio in the 75 local markets in the United States in 2009 for which full-year data from a consistent survey methodology were available. These markets represent approximately 46.5 percent of the U.S. population age 12 and above.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Approximately 9 percent of all alcohol product advertisements aired on programming with underage audiences in violation of the industry's 30 percent standard. These advertisements generated 18 percent of youth exposure to alcohol advertising.
  • Three brands (Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite) placed close to half of the noncompliant ads.
  • Close to one-third (32%) of advertising placements occurred when proportionately more youth were listening than adults age 21 and above.
  • These overexposing ads generated more than half of youth exposure to radio advertising for alcohol in 2009.
  • In the majority of markets measured by Arbitron's new Portable People Meter™ technology in 2009, girls ages 12 to 20 were more likely than boys in the same age group to be exposed to alcohol advertising for alcopops, distilled spirits, and wine.

The alcohol industry's current standard covers all people below the age of 21; however, more than two-thirds of underage exposure to alcohol advertising on the radio went to young people between the ages of 12 and 20. Protecting this age group, which is less than 15 percent of the population, from undue exposure to alcohol advertising is the reason why the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine and 24 state attorneys general have called for the industry to adopt a new standard limiting alcohol advertising to programming where they are less than 15 percent of the audience.

In summary, this report finds that alcohol advertisers frequently violate a relatively weak voluntary standard, resulting in substantial undue youth exposure and overexposure to alcohol advertising.

Read Full Report

NLM Director's Comments Transcript Alcohol & Breast Cancer Risk: 12/07/2011

Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Low levels of alcohol consumption (or about three drinks a week) were associated with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer – in findings derived from a larger study of nurses recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study of about 106,000 U.S. nurses found women who self-reported drinking the equivalent of three to six glasses of wine each week were 15 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never or rarely drank alcohol. The differences between the groups were moderate but statistically significant.

Moreover, the study found the participants who reported they drank the equivalent of two glasses of wine a day over time were 51 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never or rarely drank. Hence, the study suggests higher drinking levels significantly increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

The study also found an increased risk of breast cancer was more linked to cumulative drinking over time rather than what type of alcohol participants drank, or the age when a woman begins to consume wine, spirits, or beer. > > > > Read More