Lower Binge Drinking

Alcohol not allowed Stronger Alcohol Policies Have Lower Rates of Binge Drinking

States with stronger alcohol control policies have lower rates of binge drinking than states with weaker policies, a new study concludes.

Researchers gave scores to states based on how they implemented 29 alcohol control policies, Health Day reports. States that had higher policy scores were one-fourth as likely to have a binge drinking rate in the top 25 percent of states, compared with states with lower scores. Binge drinking rates were 33 percent higher in states in the bottom quarter than those in the top quarter of policy scores.

States with larger increases in policies had larger decreases in binge drinking over time, the study found. Binge drinking is responsible for more than half of the 80,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States annually, the article notes. It is generally defined as having more than four to five alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period.

“If alcohol policies were a newly discovered gene, pill or vaccine, we’d be investing billions of dollars to bring them to market,” study senior author Dr. Tim Naimi, Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University Schools of Medicine and attending physician at Boston Medical Center, said in a news release.

The researchers report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that alcohol policy scores varied by as much as threefold between states. “Unfortunately, most states have not taken advantage of these policies to help drinkers consume responsibly, and to protect innocent citizens from the devastating secondhand effects and economic costs from excessive drinking,” Naimi said.

While previous studies have investigated the effect of individual alcohol policies, the researchers said this is the first study to look at the effect of the overall alcohol policy environment.

By Join Together Staff

Alcohol and Energy Drinks: A Dangerous Cocktail – – TIME Healthland

 Alcohol and Energy Drinks: A Dangerous Cocktail – – TIME Healthland.

Mixing alcohol with other substances is never really a good idea, and pairing it with energy drinks may be especially hazardous.

That might seem obvious, but the results of a new study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research provide some interesting insights into why. Cecile Marczinski, a psychologist at Northern Kentucky University, found that combining energy drinks such as Red Bull with vodka or other liquors effectively removes any built-in checks your body has for overindulging.

When you drink alcohol by itself, it initially induces a feeling of happiness — a comfortable buzz. But when you overindulge, your body knows it, and it starts to shut down; you start feeling tired, sleepy and more sedated than stimulated. “That’s your cue to go home to bed,” says Marczinski.

Drinking and Risks to Men

Drinking Buddies

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Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health

Men are more likely than women to drink excessively. Excessive drinking is associated with significant increases in short-term risks to health and safety, and the risk increases as the amount of drinking increases.

Men are also more likely than women to take other risks (e.g., drive fast or without a safety belt), when combined with excessive drinking, further increasing their risk of injury or death.

Drinking levels for men
  • Approximately 62% of adult men reported drinking alcohol in the last 30 days and were more likely to binge drink than women (47%) during the same time period.
  • Men average about 12.5 binge drinking episodes per person per year, while women average about 2.7 binge drinking episodes per year.
  • Most people who binge drink are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.
  • It is estimated that about 17% of men and about 8% of women will meet criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.
Injuries and deaths as a result of excessive alcohol use
  • Men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.
  • Among drivers in fatal motor-vehicle traffic crashes, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater).
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physically assaulting another person.
  • Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, and more likely to have been drinking prior to committing suicide.
Reproductive Health and Sexual Function

Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in impotence, infertility, and reduction of male secondary sex characteristics such as facial and chest hair.

  • Excessive alcohol use is commonly involved in sexual assault. Impaired judgment caused by alcohol may worsen the tendency of some men to mistake a women’s friendly behavior for sexual interest and misjudge their use of force.
  • Also, alcohol use by men increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual activity including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
Cancer
  • Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men.

There are a number of health conditions affected by excessive alcohol use that affect both men and women.

Long-Term Health Risks

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems. These include but are not limited to—

  • Neurological problems, including dementia, stroke and neuropathy.
  • Cardiovascular problems (heart diseases), including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension.
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide.
  • Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, anti-social attitudes and family problems.
  • Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast. In general, the risk of cancer increases with increasing amounts of alcohol.
  • Liver diseases, including—
    • Alcoholic hepatitis.
    • Cirrhosis, which is among the 15 leading causes of all deaths in the United States.
    • Among persons with Hepatitis C virus, worsening of liver function and interference with medications used to treat this condition.
  • Other gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis.

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Addiction Inbox: Addicted to Bad Reporting

Addiction Inbox: Addicted to Bad Reporting.

How should we cover drug dependence?

Journalists usually learn it early: Drug stories are crime stories. Articles about alcoholism and assorted “hard” drug addictions are typically sourced by law enforcement, and the frequently lurid results tend to dump recreational, illegal, and prescription drugs into the same stew.

Alcohol Top Problem Facing Communities

Empty and full shot glasses uid 1344163 Survey Finds Alcohol Top Problem Facing Communities

According to Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) 2007 Annual Survey of Coalitions, 68 percent of community anti-drug coalitions across the country ranked alcohol as the number one problem facing their community. The Annual Survey of Coalitions (formerly known as the National Coalition Registry) is the only nationwide survey that targets community-based drug and alcohol abuse prevention organizations.

In the 2007 Survey, marijuana came in at a close second, with 60 percent of community groups ranking it as among the top five major problems in their areas. Other substances cited among the top five concerns include tobacco, methamphetamine and prescription drugs. Coalitions also consider binge drinking as one of the issues that they struggle with in their communities, confirming what several other nationwide studies have shown.

“It’s no surprise that our members are seeing big problems with youth alcohol use in their communities. The findings from our Annual Survey of Coalitions reflect those of other major national surveys that show alcohol use as the number one abused substance, followed by cigarette smoking and marijuana use,” noted General Arthur T. Dean, CADCA Chairman and CEO.

CADCA’s Web-based survey is conducted annually to identify the major issues facing community coalitions and to understand how coalitions work in their communities. Participants are asked a wide range of questions, such as the substance abuse issues facing their communities, the activities they use to address those issues and the organizations and agencies that help them in their efforts. The survey also asks for descriptive information, such as geographic target area, budget size and coalition membership, offering a picture of what typical community coalitions look like. In 2007, 700 coalitions participated in the survey.

When asked what major partners help them tackle their community’s problem, 88 percent said law enforcement was one of their strongest allies, 86 percent said parents and 81 percent cited the faith community.

Full story at; Coalitions Online

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Binge drinking ‘damages memory’

GirlsCheers The effects of heavy drinking may last days

Binge drinking teenagers are still at risk of absent-mindedness and forgetfulness days later, a study says.

A team from Northumbria and Keele universities compared 26 binge drinkers with 34 non-bingers in memory tests, and found the drinkers fared worse.

They told the British Psychological Society conference that binge drinking could be harming developing brains.

A spokesman for the charity Addaction said drinking at dangerous levels was putting some young people at risk.

Full story at BBC, UK

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AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL BINGE DRINKING STRATEGY

Kevin Rudd From an interview with the Prime Minister of Australia Mr. Kevin Rudd

The families, parents, local communities and police at the local level have been dealing with the problem of binge drinking for a long, long time. Families, parents, local communities know that binge drinking is a problem right across the country. What we find is that families and local police and communities have been trying to do their bit to turn this problem around, and today the Australian Government is putting up its hand to partner with them to try, to try to turn this problem around.

If you look at some of the figures, we have a big challenge on our hands. There is a 2005 survey that found that in a given week, approximately one in ten, that is 168,000 young people aged 12 to 17, reported binge drinking or drinking at risky levels. For 16 and 17 year olds, one in five drank at risky levels. In an earlier survey, 13 per cent of 18 to 20 year olds drank 13 or more standard drinks each time they visited a club, 83 per cent left the club as the driver of a vehicle and 70 per cent of males and 30 per cent of females believed that drinking was an important tradition at their club.

Ultimately, this, of course, is a question of personal responsibility. But what we propose to do is to, as the Australian Government, to do what we can to partner with parents and local communities and with families and with local police and sporting organisations to try and turn this problem around.

Therefore, we’re announcing today a $53 million program, which has three parts to it.

A $14.4 million investment in community level initiatives to confront the culture of binge drinking, particularly in sporting organisations. This funding, in particular, would be dedicated to sporting clubs to assist them in developing local codes of conduct in relation to binge drinking. The Government will also take sporting organisations actions on this question into account in the possible future consideration of grants to such sporting organisations.

Secondly, the question of personal responsibility. $19.1 million to support innovative early intervention and diversion programs for young people under the age of 18. That is where young people are found binge drinking, to provide funding and support to assist to turn those young people around.

The possible initiatives there range anything from requiring young people to participate in educational and/or diversionary activities. Or even to allow the authorities to confiscate alcohol and to provide formal warnings. Our objective under this program is to have a major pilot project up and running in each state capital of Australia during the course of 2008. We need to learn how this can work effectively at a community level.

The third part of this new national binge drinking strategy is this: $20 million over two years in a hard hitting television, radio and internet campaign that confronts young people with the costs and consequences of binge drinking.

This ‘in your face’ sort of advertising is necessary to confront young people with what happens if you go out binge drinking. It damages your health, increases the risk of damaging your life permanently through a car smash, or losing your life. And, I believe we need a no-holds-barred approach to putting it right in the face of young people as to what happens unless this is turned around.

The last thing I’d say is we don’t pretend to have all the answers on this. We’ve actually spent quite some weeks working this through. But we believe this is a positive step in the right direction. We’ll be reviewing this approach in 12 months time against the measures to see what effect has been yielded through this investment.

I conclude where I began. Right across the community mums and dads know this is a real problem. They are trying hard to deal with it at the local community level. The Australian Government now wants to partner with them to see what we can do practically to turn this around.

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Australian Binge Drinking Culture Must End

 

Binge drinking Many NSW Australia Youth Binge Drinking Culture Must End

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is today calling for a partnership between Government, industry, health professionals and the community to end the binge drinking culture that is damaging the health of young Australians.

A report by the Australian National Council on Drugs has revealed that one in ten high school students had been binge drinking in the past week.

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said urgent action was needed to end the binge drinking culture and change young Australians’ attitudes towards alcohol.

“Our teenagers and young people are putting themselves at serious risk by engaging in bouts of binge drinking and harmful alcohol abuse,” Dr Capolingua said.

“It is clear that messages about responsible drinking aren’t getting through to them.

“We need to examine how we communicate with young people about alcohol abuse on all levels – from Federal Government campaigns to talking with a doctor or family members.”

Dr Capolingua said the new national guidelines for ‘low risk’ drinking being developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) needed to include information on the risks of consuming high levels of alcohol in a single drinking session.

“It’s easy for kids to think that because they don’t drink very often that one big night isn’t going to do them any harm, but in fact they are putting themselves at risk of injury or death.

“According to the NHMRC, one Australian teenager dies and 60 are hospitalised each week from alcohol-related causes.”

Dr Capolingua said the alcohol industry is equally responsible.

“Alcohol manufacturers need to include clearly visible and easy to understand information about responsible drinking levels on all product labels.

“Figures from the NHMRC show the number of school students consuming pre-mixed spirits has doubled since 2001.

“These are strong alcoholic drinks and young people need to be aware of the risks of consuming a lot of these in one night or one drinking session.

“Binge drinking affects the whole community, so the whole community needs to be involved in putting an end to the binge drinking culture that is seriously harming our young people,” Dr Capolingua said.

From the Australian Medical Association

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