Study Supports Single-Question Alcohol Screen for Adolescents

Study Supports Single-Question Alcohol Screen for Adolescents
A single screening question about drinking frequency in the past year could help doctors identify adolescents at risk for alcohol problems, according to a new study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, who collaborated with a network of rural primary care practitioners, the study also supports the use of the age-based screening thresholds put forward in NIAAA’s Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide. “Primary care physicians are encouraged to screen adolescents for alcohol problems, yet many do not, citing time constraints and other issues,” said NIAAA Director George Koob, PhD. “This study demonstrates that simple screening tools such as those in NIAAA’s Youth Guide are efficient and effective.” Researchers led by Duncan B. Clark, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center,...
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Research Discovers Link between Heavy Alcohol Use & Suicides During Economic Downturns

Research Discovers Link between Heavy Alcohol Use & Suicides During Economic Downturns
While economic downturns have been linked previously to increased suicide risk in the United States, new research from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs sheds light on the role alcohol use may play in the complex relationship between economic conditions and suicide. Results of the survey were unveiled in an article in Medical Xpress . The report, "Heavy Alcohol Use Among Suicide Decedents Relative to a Nonsuicide Comparison Group: Gender Specific Effects of Economic Contraction," will be published in the July issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. In conducting the study, specifically on the contribution of alcohol to suicide during the 2008-09 recession period, UCLA Social Welfare professor Mark Kaplan and colleagues used data from the U.S. National Violent Death Reporting System from 16 participating states and supplemented with data from the Behavior Risk Factors Surveillance System for the same states, which was used as the...
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Study Finds that Alcohol Intervention Programs Don't Work on Fraternity Members

Study Finds that Alcohol Intervention Programs Don't Work on Fraternity Members
Interventions designed to reduce alcohol use among fraternity members are just as effective as not intervening at all, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association. Article announcing the study findings was published in Inside Higher Ed . The researchers analyzed 25 years of research involving 6,000 college students and 21 different intervention programs. They found no significant difference between students who received an intervention and those who did not, in terms of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. “Reducing alcohol consumption and problems among fraternity members will require a different strategy relative to their college drinking peers,” said Lori Scott-Sheldon, lead researcher for the study and an associate professor of psychology at Brown University. “Additional research is needed to determine the best approach to reduce alcohol misuse among members of Greek letter organizations.”
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Global Alcohol Sales Decrease for First Time in Last Two Decades

Global Alcohol Sales Decrease for First Time in Last Two Decades
Sales of alcohol decreased worldwide in 2015 for the first time since the market research firm Euromonitor International began tracking sales in 2001, CNN reports. The overall volume of alcohol consumed fell by 0.7 percent worldwide in 2015, while sales in dollar terms rose by about 2 percent. Economic slumps in major emerging markets appear to be a factor in the decrease, the article notes. Alcohol consumption in China—which drinks more alcohol than any other nation—dropped 3.5 percent last year. Brazil’s alcohol consumption decreased 2.5 percent, while Eastern Europe fell by 4.9 percent. Brazil is facing a severe economic slump and political scandals, while fighting between Ukraine and Russia has impacted alcohol sales in Eastern Europe. North America had a 2.3 percent increase in alcohol consumption, while the rate remained steady in Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand. According to Euromonitor’s alcoholic drinks analyst Spiros Malandrakis, rum and vodka were the...
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Drug and Alcohol Abuse Linked to Self-Medicating Chronic Pain

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Linked to Self-Medicating Chronic Pain
Many people who abuse drugs or alcohol are self-medicating chronic pain, a new study suggests. Researchers at Boston University studied 589 people who fit the criteria for drug abuse or illicit drug use, and found 87 percent reported chronic pain. Of the 576 patients who used illicit drugs (marijuana, cocaine and/or heroin), 51 percent reported using drugs to treat pain. The study found 81 percent of the 121 people who said they misused prescription opioid painkillers reported they did so to treat their pain. Of the 265 patients who reported any amount of heavy drinking in the past three months, 38 percent said they were self-medicating chronic pain. The researchers found 79 percent of patients determined to be high-risk drinkers were self-medicating, according to Medical Daily . The results appear in the Journal of General Internal Medicine . “While the association between chronic pain and drug addiction has been observed...
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College Students’ Drinking Drops in the Summer, Spikes During Fall and Spring Break

College Students’ Drinking Drops in the Summer, Spikes During Fall and Spring Break
College students’ drinking drops during the summer, but spikes during the return to school in the fall semester, and during spring break, a new study shows. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego studied alcohol consumption among 462 college freshmen eight times over the course of a year. They looked at associations between drinking and events such as campus festivals, the beginning and end of the semester, and school breaks. They found a 29 percent drop in drinking during the summer, when most students are not on campus, Medical Daily reports. When they returned to campus in the fall, their drinking increased 31 percent. Alcohol consumption jumped by 18 percent around spring break, up until an on-campus festival. The findings appear in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research . According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about four out of five college students drink alcohol....
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Teens with Severe Alcohol and Drug Problems Often Lack Concern for Others

Teens with Severe Alcohol and Drug Problems Often Lack Concern for Others
Teens with severe drug and alcohol problems often have a low regard for others, a new study suggests. They have higher rates of driving under the influence and having unprotected sex with a history of sexually transmitted disease, The Huffington Post reports. These teens are also less likely to volunteer their time helping others, the researchers report in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse . Helping others has been shown to help adult alcoholics stay sober, the article notes. “Alcoholics have been described as a ‘tornado running through the lives of others,’” said lead author Maria Pagano, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. “Results from this study suggest that alcoholics lack awareness of others and how their actions impact others, rather than being sociopaths or intending to harm others.” Pagano and colleagues studied 585 Ohio high school students....
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One Question About Drinking Can Help Doctors Find Teens at Risk for Alcohol Problems

One Question About Drinking Can Help Doctors Find Teens at Risk for Alcohol Problems
One question about drinking frequency in the past year can help doctors identify which teens are at risk for alcohol problems, a new study concludes. Teens ages 12 to 17 who report having at least one drink on three or more days in the past year are most at risk for alcohol problems. The study also supports the use of age-based screening thresholds recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide. “Primary care physicians are encouraged to screen adolescents for alcohol problems, yet many do not, citing time constraints and other issues,” NIAAA Director George Koob, PhD said in a news release. “This study demonstrates that simple screening tools such as those in NIAAA’s Youth Guide are efficient and effective.” The study included almost 1,200 young people ages 12 to 20. They were asked about their alcohol...
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Parents More Likely to Let Teens Sip Alcohol if They Think Friends Drink Too

Parents More Likely to Let Teens Sip Alcohol if They Think Friends Drink Too
A study that looks at why parents allow their teens to sip alcohol concludes they are more likely to permit drinking if they think their child’s friends drink, too. “Parents may be supplying sips of alcohol in response to believing their child will be exposed to unsupervised alcohol use with their peers. However, they may be wrong in their belief, and may be prematurely introducing their children to a behavior that may have marked risks,” researchers write in Pediatrics. About 60 percent of teens have tasted alcohol by age 13, according to AAP News . The researchers note sipping alcohol may be a stepping stone to additional drinking by underage teens. Parents are a major supplier of alcohol, they found. Drinking by minors is associated with delinquent behavior and poor health, they add. A study published last year found children who are allowed to sip alcohol are more likely to...
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Testing Drivers for Evidence of Marijuana Use is Difficult

Testing Drivers for Evidence of Marijuana Use is Difficult
It is very difficult to test whether a driver has been using marijuana. The reason is that the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC, dissolves in fat, unlike alcohol, which dissolves in water, experts tell NPR . “It’s really difficult to document drugged driving in a relevant way, [because of] the simple fact that THC is fat soluble,” said Margaret Haney, a neurobiologist at Columbia University. “That makes it absorbed in a very different way and much more difficult to relate behavior to, say, [blood] levels of THC or develop a breathalyzer.” When a person drinks, alcohol spreads through the saliva and breath, and evenly saturates the lungs and blood, the article notes. That means measuring the volume of alcohol in one part of the body reliably indicates how much is in other parts, including the brain. Marilyn Huestis, who headed the chemistry and drug metabolism section at the National Institute...
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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.
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