April is Alcohol Awareness Month

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and this year's theme, " Changing Attitudes: It's not a 'right of passage '", is a national grassroots effort to draw attention to the many opportunities individuals, families, and communities have to educate young people on the dangers of alcohol use. Throughout April, NCADD is offering free assessments to help, along with information relating to this special event. According to the NCADD, "Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking, and more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has abused alcohol." Warning...
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Fear Factor: Do Scare Tactics Keep Teens from Using Drugs

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Thinking back to your middle school or high school health classes, you may recall photographs of lungs blackened by cigarette tar or videos of teenagers dropping out of school, fighting with friends and family, or even dying because of their errant drug and alcohol use. Exposing children and teenagers to the most damaging consequences of these behaviors has long been a mainstay in America’s addiction prevention strategy – but that poses the question: do scare tactics work? There is evidence to suggest that scaring people can help them adopt or avoid certain behaviors – this is especially true when the proposed negative outcome is paired with an “efficacy method” or something people can do to eradicate the fear. It also tends to work better when it comes to: One-time only or infrequent prevention behaviors, e.g., going to the dentist for a checkup Behaviors that detect a health problem, e.g., having...
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Alcohol May Affect Brain Function Differently in Men and Women

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A new study presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference finds that chronic alcohol use affects the brain cells of young men and women differently. Participants of the preliminary study did not have alcohol use disorder, but were classified as heavy drinkers. All participants were also in their 20s, suggesting that alcohol-related brain changes may not take very long to develop. The participants included 11 men and 16 women between the ages of 23 and 28 years, who all reported "heavy" drinking patterns over the previous 10 years. People who reported little or no alcohol use served as controls. Interestingly, the researchers found differences in the activity of receptors for the neurotransmitter GABA – which plays an important function in regulating anxiety and is thought to play a role in depression. "Generally, our work showed that alcohol causes more pronounced changes in both electrical and chemical neurotransmission in men...
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Study Finds that Heavy alcohol use in Teens Alters electrical Activity in the Brain

Study Finds that Heavy alcohol use in Teens Alters electrical Activity in the Brain
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland studied the effects of long-term heavy alcohol use in adolescence and found it altered certain brain functions. The study, the first of its kind to analyze long-term effects of alcohol in adolescents, found that heavy alcohol use can alter the cortical excitability and functional connectivity in the adolescent brain. The research was part of the Adolescents and Alcohol Study. The changes in the brain occurred in otherwise healthy adolescents who were heavy alcohol users but did not fit the criteria for a substance abuse disorder. In a study published in Addiction Biology , researchers found that heavy alcohol use causes alterations in the electrical and chemical neurotransmission in study participants. Earlier studies have shown the detrimental effects of heavy alcohol use in adolescence alters the function of the GABA neurotransmission system and causes cortical thinning, all among adolescents who did not meet the...
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10 years after September 11th, Exposed Individuals Display Intensity of Binge Drinking

10 years after September 11th, Exposed Individuals Display Intensity of Binge Drinking
The 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center resulted in elevated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use among exposed individuals. The relationship among traumatic exposure, PTSD, and excessive drinking is well documented; however, little is known about these relationships in the long term. This study examines factors increasing binge drinking risk among exposed individuals a decade post-9/11. According to an article in American Journal of Preventive Medicine , binge drinking was reported by 24.7% of participants in a research study, of whom 36.9% reported high-intensity binge drinking. The article concludes that observed associations among traumatic exposure, PTSD, and excessive drinking underscore the need for improved therapies addressing excessive drinking and PTSD concurrently, inclusion of repeated post-event screening for excessive drinking, and evidence-based population-level interventions to reduce alcohol consumption.
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Drug to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder Shows Promise among Drinkers with High Stress

Drug to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder Shows Promise among Drinkers with High Stress
NIH-funded multi-site clinical trial suggests that smokers may also benefit A new medication that targets part of the brain's stress system may help reduce alcohol use in people with alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to a new study by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. "Medications have become an important tool for treating alcohol use disorders, but current medications are not effective for all people with AUDs," noted NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D. "We're committed to developing new medications to provide effective therapy to a broader spectrum of people with AUDs." As reported online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers led by Raye Litten, Ph.D., acting director of the NIAAA Division of Medications Development, conducted a randomized clinical trial of a new compound, called ABT-436, designed to block the effects of vasopressin, a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus...
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Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Drug and Alcohol Use in Male Teens

Lack of Sleep May Increase Risk of Drug and Alcohol Use in Male Teens
A new study suggests a lack of adequate sleep may increase the risk of drug and alcohol use in male teens. The study of 186 boys found duration and quality of sleep at age 11 were associated with early substance use throughout adolescence. “If we just look at age 16, the group of kids getting the most sleep... only about half of them had tried alcohol,” lead researcher Brant Hasler told CBS Pittsburgh . “If we look at the group of kids getting the least sleep, nearly three quarters of them had tried.” Boys who slept the least, compared to those who slept the most, were more likely to report earlier use, intoxication and repeated use of both alcohol and marijuana.
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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic.
The merged organization will be called:

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