The pages in the tab "Current Issues" are designed to provide information and links to articles that speak to current moral issues facing our society. Please reference the original article (if available) when using quotes from these resources.
ACAAP does not necessarily agree with all opinions or "conclusions" that are reached in the following articles, but offers these articles as resource material for research purposes.
"I find that the news items that you have captured on the ACAAP website are among the best anywhere. What helpful information! Dr. Paula Gordon, PhD, author, Guide to Ideas on Drug Abuse Policies and Programs.
Strengthening State Alcohol Policies Can Reduce DUI Deaths: Study
May 31, 2018 BY PARTNERSHIP NEWS SERVICE STAFF
Strengthening state alcohol policies by 10 percent can reduce the odds of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths by the same amount, according to a new study.
Researchers examined more than 500,000 crash deaths. They used a scale of 29 possible alcohol policies a state can have, weighted by effectiveness. Alcohol taxes are among the most effective policies in reducing crash deaths, the article notes.
They found that for every 1 percent increase in the toughness of state policies, there was a 1 percent reduction of alcohol-related crashes, CNN reports.
If all states today increased the strength of their alcohol policies by 10 percent, it would save about 800 lives a years, the researchers report in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
College Students Do Not Recognize How Drunk They Can Get From Consuming “Supersized Alcopops”
Article ID: 695177
May, 28 2018
Newswise — An “alcopop” is a bottled alcoholic beverage that masks the taste of alcohol with flavors such as soda or lemonade. Originally marketed in Australia during the mid-1990s, alcopop brands such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade soon became popular in the U.S. Supersized alcopops, such as Four Loko, contain large quantities of alcohol and are reportedly popular among underage drinkers. This study examined the extent to which young adults recognize how intoxicated they would become from drinking supersized alcopops.
The researchers surveyed 309 undergraduates enrolled in a Virginia university (184 men, 125 women), 18 years of age and older, who drank alcohol during the previous year. Students were provided with an empty can of either a Four Loko alcopop or Budweiser beer of comparable liquid volume and asked to estimate their individual blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) after hypothetical consumption of one, two, or three cans of the beverage provided to them. Researchers compared their own estimates of the students’ BACs – based on the students’ body weight and sex – to the students’ self-estimated BACs.
Students randomized to the supersized alcopop group greatly underestimated the level of intoxication that they would experience from consuming the beverage, whereas students randomized to the beer group overestimated intoxication.
How the Booze Lobby Has Helped Kill a Law That Would Save 1,800 Lives Every Year
Only one state is on a clear path to lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for driving.
STEPHANIE MENCIMERMAY. 11, 2018 6:00 AM
On a Thursday morning in late February, Utah state Sen. Jim Dabakis (D) had breakfast, downed a couple of mimosas, and caught a ride to the state capitol, where he introduced a bill to to delay the implementation of the nation’s strictest drunk-driving law. Passed in March 2017, the measure would lower the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers from .08 to .05 percent.
On the capitol floor, Dabakis argued that the law would only depress tourism in a state already known for its weirdly strict alcohol laws. He scoffed at the idea that someone with a .05 BAC would be too impaired to drive. In fact, he disclosed to his mostly Mormon colleagues, his two-mimosa breakfast led him to blow a .05 on a breathalyzer test shortly before entering the building. “I feel perfectly fine,” he said.
His colleagues were unpersuaded, and on December 30 this year, Utah will officially become the first state in the country to lower the legal BAC threshold for drunk driving to .05 percent. Other states are considering following suit. Legislators in Delaware introduced a bill to do so in March. Lawmakers in New York, Hawaii, and Washington have also introduced bills. But Utah, the first state to adopt the .08 BAC limit, in 1983—back when .10 percent was the legal limit in most states—may continue to be an outlier for a long time as the industry pushes back and some of the most influential advocates against drunk driving sit on the sidelines. Outside of Utah, not a single bill aiming to lower the BAC limit has gotten a hearing.
What Parents Need to Know About College Binge Drinking
MAY 16, 2018 BY AMELIA ARRIA, PH.D.
The feeling of sending a grown child off to college for the first time can be described as a strange mixture of pride, relief and severe anxiety. What do parents need to know as their adult child takes this big step? As a public health researcher, I have some good news to share, and some reminders about what to be aware of during this critical transition for both you and them.
The first piece of good news is that your voice matters. Your child might not tell you, but when researchers have asked them about your influence, they find that parent attitudes and the rules you put in place during their development are major influences on their risk-taking behavior. Preparing and protecting your child from engaging in excessive drinking during college starts way before “drop-off” day. Even in middle school, and throughout high school, sending a clear message of your disapproval for underage drinking is critical and equally important in college.
Did you know that alcohol is the most widely misused substance among America's youth?
To help increase awareness about this serious issue, SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention offers an updated fact sheet, Underage Drinking: Myths Versus Facts, specifically written for preteens and teens. This fact sheet compares common myths about alcohol use with the facts about the prevalence of alcohol use. Share this resource with our youth to start the conversation and spread the word about underage drinking and alcohol misuse. Click here for your printable copy of the fact sheet, Underage Drinking: Myths Versus Facts.
One in Six Binge Drink Every Week, But Do Lawmakers Care?
By Rev. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
March 23, 2018
According to a new report published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control conducted a study to determine how much booze Americans are tossing back. It turns out that the amount is astonishing.
A statement released on the study Friday, March 16th, said “CDC scientists analyzed data on self-reported binge drinking during the past 30 days from CDC’s 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Total annual binge drinks was calculated by multiplying the estimated total number of binge drinking episodes among binge drinkers by the average largest number of drinks consumed per episode, and was assessed by age, sex, education, race/ethnicity, household income, and state.”
The results? Drum roll, please.
The study determined that Americans swigged down 17 billion drinks in 2015, which amazingly equals a total of 470 binge drinks per binge drinker.
“CDC researchers found that 1 in 6, or 37 million, adults binge drink about once a week, consuming an average of seven drinks per binge. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, in about two hours,” said the press release.
Other findings showed that while the prevalence of binge drinking is more common among ages 18-34 as might be expected, more than half of binge drinking is done by adults over the age of 35. Men binge drink the most, approximately 80 percent. While people of lower incomes (under $25,000 annually) consume substantially more drinks each year than those with higher incomes and educational levels.
Dr. Robert Brewer, coauthor of the study and the lead researcher for the CDC’s alcohol program, said, “This study shows that binge drinkers are consuming a huge number of drinks per year, greatly increasing their chances of harming themselves and others.”
Binge drinking is a national scourge that produces a host of social problems such as hazardous driving, precarious sexual activity, and violence. It’s at the bottom of serious health issues like cancer, heart disease, and liver failure. Every year, it accounts for more than half of the 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in this country, and no less than three-quarters of the $249 billion in economic costs connected to drinking.
Researchers say in this recent study that among some of the most important ways to reduce binge drinking is limiting the number of alcohol outlets, limiting days and hours of sale, and imposing stiff penalties on outlets that illegally serve underage or intoxicated patrons.
Hmmmmm….the findings in this study are really interesting!
Who in North Carolina has been arguing the problems with alcohol abuse in our state and nation are no inconsequential matter? Who has been contending alcohol is not an ordinary commodity, and, therefore we can’t afford to treat it as we do other commodities? Where have I heard limiting alcohol outlets is a necessary means for reducing the harms associated with our national drunkenness? Where have I heard limiting the days and hours of alcohol sales are critical for holding back the flood of alcohol-related social ills?
Oh, now I remember. I said it, over and over again for years – that right-wing preacher – that lobbyist for the Christian Action League - that fool who needs to realize times have changed – that neo-prohibitionist determined to take away everyone’s freedom to drink. Baseless accusations leveled at me, distractions from arguments about responsible alcohol policies that were unquestionably guided by faith, but mostly based in sound scientific research.
Yet these arguments which I have made to lawmakers, conclusions not only reached by the CDC in its most recent study but also found in numerous other reputable studies, more often than not, seemed hardly more than a tiny blip on their radar. In the last 20 years, lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly, both Democrat, and Republican, continuously rolled-back the state’s alcohol control measures, providing one legislative gift after another to restaurants, lodging, and alcohol industry interests at the expense of healthful living and a wholesome society.
Every excuse in the world has been concocted to make these changes more palatable - despite the overwhelming evidence our alcohol problems are worse than the troubles associated with all of the illicit drugs combined – despite the fact that alcohol issues are monstrously larger than all our problems with guns.
The predicament is not unique to the Tar Heel state. It’s this way across the country. Many have been sounding the alarm in their respective states and it’s largely fallen on deaf ears. Moreover, on the federal level, as a part of the President’s tax reform bill, the U.S. Congress gave a huge tax break to craft brewers, wineries, and distilleries – something a vast amount of research shows exacerbates the problems of alcohol abuse.
But the efforts to reduce the inebriation of our culture must continue – for the sake of the alcoholic who feels helpless in the grip of a habit he cannot control – for the sake of those who choose to totally abstain, because they see what alcohol abuse has done to the people they love – for the sake of the social drinker who nevertheless understands something ought to be done to reduce the tragedies that accompany alcohol abuse – for the sake of earnest people of faith who understand that they are their brother’s keeper – for the sake of people everywhere who genuinely want everyone to experience the best life possible – for the sake of those more interested in knowing and doing God’s will than they are defending the indefensible.
This is not a diatribe against drinking, although I personally embrace abstinence. Instead, it’s a call – a plea for policymakers to take an honest and objective look at the evidence. This nation has a serious drinking problem that’s growing and laws that encourage temperance and restraint are desperately needed.
Could reducing alcohol access solve Baltimore's murder problem?
The Baltimore Sun
Pamela Trangenstein, Inez Robb
January 18, 2018
Baltimore City leaders and communities have many potential solutions to address surging homicides, Among them: reducing the number of alcohol outlets.
Murder clusters around alcohol outlets. Each additional alcohol outlet in a census tract raises the homicide rate 1.6 percent. Nearly half of all homicides — 47 percent — are caused by excessive drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that the murder wouldn’t have happened if the perpetrator hadn’t been drinking. Apply CDC’s calculations to Baltimore, and 161 of the 343 homicides in 2017 were caused by excessive drinking.
How did we get here? Until recently, Baltimore had a state standard of no more than one alcohol outlet for every 1,000 people, even though the city has in double that number of outlets and some of our neighborhoods have one outlet for every 20 people. Often, the neighborhoods most saturated with alcohol establishments are low income and African American.
We must have a serious conversation about violent crime and how it’s often fueled by alcohol. Only then can we have conversations about equitable communities (walkable streets, trash control, affordable housing, education, and jobs and job training).
We, a community leader and a public health researcher, both live in or near a “transformation zone” identified by Mayor Catherine Pugh as being violence hotspots. In Baltimore, from 2012-2016, 89 percent of homicides occurred in neighborhoods that are mostly African American, and 86 percent occurred in neighborhoods with annual incomes less than $50,000.
Binge Drinking Rampant Among Americans
FRIDAY, March 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Americans are on a binge drinking binge.
More than 17 billion binge drinks were consumed by American adults in 2015, a new federal government study shows. That works out to an average of 470 drinks per binge drinker.
The study also found that 1 in 6 (37 million) American adults binge drink about once a week and down an average of seven drinks per binge.
"This study shows that binge drinkers are consuming a huge number of drinks per year, greatly increasing their chances of harming themselves and others," said study co-author Dr. Robert Brewer, lead researcher in the alcohol program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It takes all of us to fight dangerous drinking on college campuses
Eric J. Barron, President, Pennsylvania State University
Updated on Mar 20, 2018 at 06:03 AM EDT
Resistance by some Greek-letter organizations
While we continue to see progress on many fronts at Penn State, we also face frustrating obstacles put in place by a number of organizations whose priorities are not aligned with our commitment to safety, accountability and cooperation. For example, three Greek chapters suspended by Penn State -- Alpha Chi Rho, Alpha Sigma Phi and Sigma Alpha Mu - are still chartered by their national organizations after we have withdrawn University recognition.
The longstanding actions by some nationals of sustaining charters in such circumstances is irresponsible, and we are determined to do what we can to change this practice .
It is true that all off-campus fraternity houses at Penn State are privately owned and each chapter must meet certain requirements and be subject to drop-in monitoring in house common areas in return for university recognition.
However, because these three chapters have lost university recognition, but have not had their national recognition revoked, they now operate as unaffiliated, independent groups - unmonitored, unaccountable and left to their own devices.
And it doesn't end there.
Sadly, some who own the fraternity houses are taking it a step further, now fighting a longstanding municipal ordinance that prohibits groups of unrelated individuals from living in the same house - unless they carry official recognition from the university as a fraternity.
This legal dispute is deeply concerning. The ordinance as it stands has broad support: from neighbors in the community, colleagues in municipal government, local police forces, and Penn State.
If landlords and property owners - many of whom are alumni who operate fraternity houses through housing corporations they have formed - prevail in this challenge, additional chapters may forego university recognition and operate on their own, negatively affecting safety, organizational accountability, and our community. We need all parties involved, including nationals, alumni advisors, and housing corporations, to join us in focusing their full attention on the critical concerns of safety, security, and wellbeing.
A Cocktail Napkin Could Soon Detect Drugs in Your Drink
BY TOREY VAN OOT
MARCH 8, 2018 2:00 PM
It’s Friday night and you’re at your favorite dive bar, standing alone. Someone hands you a vodka tonic. Before taking a sip, you pause. Is this safe?
You reach for a napkin, and tilt your glass to drip a little out. The napkin changes colors: Your cocktail has been drugged. You put it down, notify the bartender, and leave. You just narrowly avoided being a victim of drink spiking, and possibly assault.
That’s the potentially life-saving scenario college student Danya Sherman is trying to create with KnoNap, a drug-detecting cocktail napkin currently under development. The idea is that putting this capability into something so commonplace in bar culture will make checking drinks for known date-rape drugs as easy as wiping a drip off your hand.
“It’s a huge issue on college campuses that’s really under-addressed,” Sherman, the company’s founder and CEO, tells Glamour. “That’s what we’re working on with KnoNap, to make sure there’s a conversation.”
Study Shows Letting Kids Sip and Taste Alcohol Is a Risky Behavior
Research suggests that early sipping and tasting may lead to increased drinking in late adolescence
Article ID: 689779
Released: 19-Feb-2018 2:15 PM EST
Source Newsroom: University at Buffalo
Newswise — BUFFALO, N.Y. – Parents who allow their young children to occasionally sip and taste alcohol may be contributing to an increased risk for alcohol use and related problems when those kids reach late adolescence, according to a new study by a University at Buffalo psychologist.
The findings contradict the common belief that letting kids sip and taste alcoholic drinks is harmless, and might even help to promote responsible drinking later in life.
But these beliefs run counter to new findings which appear in the journal Addictive Behaviors, says the study’s lead author, Craig Colder, a professor in UB’s Department of Psychology.
Colder says the sipping alcohol with adult supervision in childhood, so often viewed as innocuous, can be harmful when kids get older and age into peak periods of heavy drinking.
“Early sipping and tasting is predicting increased drinking behavior in young adulthood,” says Colder. “Sipping and tasting alcohol in childhood with adult permission is associated with more frequent drinking and an additional drink per drinking episode.
“It’s not only how often they’re drinking and how much they’re drinking in late adolescence, but the negative consequences related to drinking increase as well, like being hungover, getting into trouble, arguing and fighting.”
Roughly a third of all children before the age of 12 will taste alcohol with their parent’s permission. Though common in practice, that sipping and tasting still happens infrequently, perhaps four or five times a year.
“If I say a kid sips or tastes an alcohol drink a couple of times a year, few people would bat an eyelash,” says Colder. “But the data strongly suggest that such infrequent tasting in early childhood is not a benign behavior.”
Fetal Alcohol Disorders May Be Much More Common Than Previously Thought
FEBRUARY 8, 2018 BY PARTNERSHIP NEWS SERVICE STAFF
A new study suggests up to 10 percent of U.S. children may have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), much more than previously thought.
Prior research indicated that 1 in 100 children is affected, researchers report in JAMA. The new findings come from a study of more than 6,000 first graders in four U.S. communities, according to a news release from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the NIH.
The study found at least 1 percent to 5 percent of first graders had FASD. When the researchers used a less-strict estimate, they found the rate soared to as high as 10 percent in one community.
“The earlier that interventions are initiated, the more effective they are likely to be—especially during the early years when there is still relative plasticity of the brain,” study co-author Christina Chambers of the University of California San Diego School of Medicine told Reuters. “There is no cure for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, but there are definitely intervention strategies that have been demonstrated to help.”
to read the article with clickable links.
Why parents should think twice about supplying kids with alcohol
By SARANG KOUSHIK MD Jan 25, 2018, 6:06 PM ET
Drinking -- just one reason why teenagers can’t wait to leave home and head to college. And it’s also a situation that has parents concerned.
So it's little surprise, then, that many parents allow their kids to partake in drinking years before legal age -- in some cases even supplying them with the alcohol at home -- to try and protect them from the downsides of alcohol.
Now, a new study out of Australia suggests that this commonly used strategy may be misguided.
Researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Centre in Australia surveyed a group of 1,927 parents and adolescents over a six-year period to find out what happens when parents provide their kids alcohol.
America, Can We Talk About Your Drinking?
SundayReview | OPINION
More people are consuming alcohol in risky ways. That’s not a good trend.
By GABRIELLE GLASER
DEC. 29, 2017
After a season of indulgence, many Americans resolve to drink less in the new year. It’s a common pledge — many of us can recall cringe-worthy texts sent after a raucous night out or a regrettable comment uttered after that third glass of wine.
These intentions are rooted in a stark reality. For all the deserved attention the opioid crisis gets, alcohol overuse remains a persistent public health problem and is responsible for more deaths, as many as 88,000 per year. While light drinking has been shown to be helpful for overall health, since the beginning of this century there has been about a 50 percent uptick in emergency room visits related to heavy drinking. After declining for three decades, deaths from cirrhosis, often linked to alcohol consumption, have been on the rise since 2006.
The pattern has been years in the making. Rick Grucza, an epidemiologist who has been studying alcohol consumption patterns for more than a decade, says the numbers are incontrovertible. Since the early 2000s, according to five government surveys Dr. Grucza has analyzed, binge drinking — often defined as five per day for men and four per day for women — is on the rise among women, older Americans and minorities.
Behind those figures there’s the personal toll — measured in relationships strained or broken, career goals not met and the many nights that college students can’t remember. In researching my 2013 book on women and drinking, and many articles on the topic since, I’ve spoken with hundreds of problem drinkers of all races. Most of the people I’ve spoken to were college-educated; it’s a sad fact that many people learn to drink excessively in college. I found that a lot of people lack physical symptoms of alcohol dependence but they think they are overdoing it, and they are worried.
Thrasher bans all Greek life on campus (with video)
Tallahassee Democrat www.tallahassee.com
by Byron Dobson
Florida State University President John Thrasher has indefinitely suspended all fraternities and sororities effective immediately.
The suspension follows the death of 20-year-old Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, and the recent arrest of 20-year-old Garrett John Marcy, a Phi Delta Theta fraternity member who is accused of selling cocaine.
"For this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek life at the university," Thrasher said in his statement. "There must be a new culture, and our students must be full participants in creating it."
All fraternity and sorority chapters are prohibited from holding new member events, chapter meetings, chapter organized tailgates, socials, philanthropy, retreats, intramurals and organized participation in Market Wednesday and Homecoming.
A ban on alcohol has also been issued at all Recognized Student Organization events during the interim suspension.
"All of our student organizations - Greek organizations and the other recognized student organizations on campus - must step up. They will have to participate in the solution," Thrasher said.
FSU President John Thrasher has announced a ban on all Greek life at FSU.
"I want to send a serious message, I really do," said Thrasher. "We've got a serious problem."
Thrasher has also banned alcohol at all student organization functions.
Note the statement, “Thrasher [FSU President] has also banned alcohol at all student organization functions.” The American Council on Addiction and Alcohol Problems commends the FSU administration for taking this important step and encourages other colleges and universities throughout the nation to do the same. Alcohol continues to expand on campuses in spite of the detrimental effects of this mind-altering and addictive drug on the lives of students.
to read the rest of the article and view the video.
There Is No Safe Amount of Alcohol During Pregnancy, New Study Shows
Released: October 24, 2017
Source Newsroom: Binghamton University, State University of New York
Newswise — BINGHAMTON, NY- Any amount of alcohol exposure during pregnancy can cause extreme lasting effects on a child, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
A team of researchers led by Marvin Diaz, assistant professor of psychology at Binghamton University, determined that even a small to moderate amount of alcohol exposure produces significant amounts of anxiety in offspring, lasting through adolescence and into adulthood. This research differed in its use of only low levels of alcohol exposure, whereas prior studies used high levels of exposure to reach the same conclusion.
“There’s been a lot of media coverage on whether there’s a safe amount of alcohol to drink,” said Diaz. “This study shows that there isn’t.”
A Lower Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit of .05 Could Save 1,790 Lives Per Year in the United States
Released: October 19, 2017
Source Newsroom: Research Society on Alcoholism
Newswise — In every U.S. state, it is illegal for adults to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or greater. In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that states lower the BAC limit for driving from .08 to .05 grams. Most industrialized nations have already enacted a .05 BAC limit. This study investigated whether lowering the BAC limit to .05 would be an effective alcohol policy in the United States.
Utah: New standard on alcohol level?
October 13, 2017
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)
The American Council on Addiction & Alcohol Problems has praised Utah's governor for signing a bill to lower the blood alcohol level for drivers.
ACAAP passed a resolution thanking Governor Gary Herbert (R-Utah) for signing into law a bill there that would lower the blood alcohol level (for determining DUI) from .08 to .05.
"The standard in most if not all states is .08," says ACAAP president Rob Chambers. "What's interesting is that for those with a commercial driver's license the blood alcohol level is .04, but [this] will lower it from .08 to .05 for non-commercial drivers. We commend the governor for signing this piece of legislation, and hopefully this will set the standard for the rest of the states."
Questions have been raised about unintended consequences of the law. FOX13 in Salt Lake City reports concerns from restaurant owners that the law will harm tourism and scare customers away from fear that a glass of wine with dinner could lead to a DUI arrest. They also fear it would make Utah look "weird" when it comes to liquor laws.
A spokesperson for the governor's office confirmed the "questions" to OneNewsNow.com, and the governor's office expects there will be efforts to refine the law during the upcoming General Legislative Session (January-March).
"That said, we do not expect a change to .05% as a standard," the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the bill's sponsor insists the bill is about saving lives. "The original proposal we put forward was designed to maximize one thing, which was to reduce deaths from drunk driving," Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, told FOX 13.
ACAAP's Chambers says that is his organization's mission as well.
"In 2015, there were over 10,000 people who were killed involving alcohol-impaired drivers," he explains. "That's basically one-third of all traffic violations, so we help people see the correlation between the consumption of alcohol and traffic fatalities."
Could Cannabis-Infused Beer Be the Next IPA?
By Chris Morris
October 5, 2017
Marijuana and beer have always had a connection. Hops plants and cannabis are members of the same genus and have a closely related molecular structure. (And we won’t even get into how many brewers like to sample both.)
Those ties are slowly becoming more formal, though. In 2015 and 2016, Aurora, Colo.-based Dad & Dude’s Breweria offered tastings of General Washington’s Secret Stash, a cannabis-infused beer, at the Great American Beer Festival—to consistent long lines. And earlier this year, Lagunitas rolled out a limited run of Supercritical, an ale brewed with Cannabis terpenes, aromatic compounds of fragrant oils from the cannabis plant that give it distinctive flavors and aromatics.
Health care costs for treating alcoholic cirrhosis on the rise
Media Contact: Nola Gruneisen
On‐site Phone: 703‐615‐4160
Washington, D.C. – Health care costs for privately insured patients with alcoholic cirrhosis are nearly twice that of non‐alcoholic cirrhosis patients in the United States, according to research presented this week at The Liver Meeting® — held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
Alcoholic cirrhosis (scarring of the liver due to heavy alcohol use) is a major cause of liver disease and death in the U.S., and worldwide. Rising rates of alcohol‐use disorders are predicted to lead to further increases, and investigators from the University of Michigan recently examined the prevalence, health care utilization and costs for alcoholic cirrhosis.
“My colleagues at Michigan and I began to notice that we were seeing more and more patients in our clinics and in hospital with severe alcoholic liver disease. As a result, we initiated this study to determine if what we were seeing was being found across the nation,” says Jessica Mellinger, MD, clinical lecturer at Michigan Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology, whose research is supported by a 2016 AASLD Foundation Clinical and Translational Research Award.
Dr. Mellinger’s team collected data spanning 2008 to 2015 on prevalence, admissions and readmissions to health care facilities, and health care costs among people ages 18 to 65 with alcoholic cirrhosis. Yearly prevalence trends for alcoholic and non‐alcoholic cirrhosis were calculated. Using this data, the researchers estimated rates of complications due to portal hypertension (an obstruction of blood flow, and increase of blood pressure, in the liver) and determined the effect alcoholic cirrhosis had on total and per‐person health care costs, as well as admissions and readmissions to hospital.
Among the people studied, nearly 300,000 had cirrhosis in 2015, with 36 percent of these cases attributed to alcohol use. National prevalence of cirrhosis and alcoholic cirrhosis rose from .19 percent to .27 percent between 2008 and 2015 for cirrhosis overall, and .07 percent to .10 percent for alcoholic cirrhosis.
Dr. Mellinger’s team found that patients with alcoholic cirrhosis were significantly more likely to be diagnosed long after liver deterioration had already begun, and more likely to be admitted and readmitted within 30 days. Per‐person health care costs in the first year after diagnosis were nearly double for these patients compared to patients without alcoholic cirrhosis, and direct health care costs for alcoholic cirrhosis totaled around $5 billion, making up just over half the total costs of all‐cause cirrhosis.
Dr. Mellinger plans to use this research to further explore how many alcoholic cirrhosis patients gain access to alcohol use disorder treatment and who benefits from treatment. “Because alcohol cessation is the only proven therapy that can improve outcomes in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, we hope to find ways to help these patients stop drinking by helping them connect with alcohol use disorder treatment,” explains Dr. Mellinger, who also notes the importance of early diagnosis and alcohol cessation to help improve outcomes in these patients.
Dr. Mellinger will present these findings at AASLD’s press conference in Room 103B at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 21 at 4 PM. Dr. Mellinger will present the study entitled “The Rising Healthcare Burden of Alcoholic Cirrhosis in the United States” on Monday, October 23 at 10 AM in room 151. The corresponding abstract (169) can be found in the journal, HEPATOLOGY (link is external).
AASLD is a medical subspecialty society representing clinicians and researchers in liver disease. The work of our members has laid the foundation for the development of drugs used to treat patients with viral hepatitis. Access to care and support of liver disease research are at the center of AASLD’s advocacy efforts.
AASLD is the leading organization of scientists and health care professionals committed to preventing and curing liver disease. AASLD was founded in 1950 by a small group of leading liver specialists and has grown to an international society responsible for all aspects of hepatology.
Press releases and additional information about AASLD are available online at www.aasld.org
Drinking during pregnancy can affect your great-grandchildren, UCR study shows
By Evan Ismail - September 26, 2017
A new study entitled “Prenatal Ethanol Exposure and Neocortical Development: A Transgenerational Model of FASD,” published by UCR Professor of Psychology Kelly Huffman published in the Oxford academic journal Cerebral Cortex, finds that women who consume alcohol while pregnant may impact not only their child, but their grand- to great-grandchildren.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a term used to describe a group of conditions that affects a child whose birth mother drank alcohol while pregnant. According to the CDC, FASD occurs in approximately 0.2 to 1.5 infants per every 1,000 live births in certain areas of the United States. The associated effects can range from mild physical differences (i.e. a flat area between the nose and upper lip, hyperactivity and fine motor skill disabilities) to more severe cases such as mental development disabilities, conduct disorders and, in some cases, according to Huffman, can impede children from learning to read or write. These effects occur because ethanol changes methylation in humans which disrupts gene expression, which is critical in gene patterning. Instances of drinking while pregnant have been on the rise since 2006.
Huffman explained the syndrome is “more of a spectrum disorder which depends on factors like how much alcohol mom drank during the pregnancy, how good she was at metabolizing alcohol … and whether or not her consumption changed, so, (did) she drink a couple of glasses of wine a day throughout the pregnancy or did she binge drink on the weekends? So that can lead to a variable effect in humans.”
Drinks industry distorts alcohol cancer risk: scientists
September 7, 2017
LONDON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The alcohol industry uses denial, distortion and distraction to mislead people about the risks of developing cancer from drinking, often employing similar tactics to those of the tobacco industry, a study said on Thursday.
Drinks industry organizations often present the relationship between alcohol and cancer as highly complex, implying there is no clear evidence of a consistent link, said the study led by scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet.
Other strategies include denying any relationship exists, or saying inaccurately that there is no risk with moderate drinking, the study found. The industry also seeks to mention a wide range of other real and potential cancer risk factors in an effort to present alcohol as just one of many, it added.
Beer sales at college games a risky revenue stream
Monday, August 28, 2017
The college football season is now in full swing, and with it comes beer sales at stadiums. But even as more campuses are doing it, one family advocate says it's "bad policy."
Several universities have made decisions in recent years to allow beer sales at games. Joining the list this year is Ohio University, whose first home game is this weekend (September 2). As reported by The Columbus Dispatch and The Associated Press, the decision comes after feedback from customer surveys.
Before suds can flow at Peden Stadium during Bobcat home games, a permit must be issued by the state's Division of Liquor Control. The school – which emphasizes that implementation of beer sales was made with the input from, and support of, the Ohio University Police Department – will add an alcohol-free zone for fans. And while beer won't be sold on the student side of the stadium, nothing is in place to prevent students from taking beer to their seats.
Rev. Mark Creech is executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. and former president of what is now the American Council on Addiction and Alcohol Problems. Creech sees issues with the trend in light of rising levels of alcohol abuse among those who are under-aged – and according to him, most of the students who attend the games fall into that age category.
Creech, Mark (CAL)"I think it's really troubling to see the cavalier and even celebratory manner that our culture has embraced concerning alcohol in recent years," he tells OneNewsNow. "And there is nowhere on the planet where youth are subjected to more erroneous views about drinking than on a college campus."
Creech argues that allowing for the sale of beer sends the message that the only way to have fun is to drink alcohol.
"When you combine this with the way that [most] students ... already see drinking at college as an integral part of their educational experience – as a rite of passage, if you will – it exacerbates the problems of underage drinking, binge drinking, and its consequential trail of sorrows that includes nearly 2,000 students dying from some alcohol-related incident annually," he continues.
Creech adds: "That's not to mention the hundreds of thousands of unintentional injuries, assaults, cases of sexual assault and date rape, and students who develop an alcohol problem and then drop out of school."
Other related concerns have been raised about driving under the influence in and around an area with thousands of spectators, many of them tailgating before and after games.
Ohio's five other Mid-American Conference schools sell beer during football games. The Ohio State University, which is in another conference, raised $1.1 million last season after it began selling beer at football games. Regardless, says Creech, "what Ohio University has done is a bad policy."
He concludes: "It's a shame that the university is in a chase for more revenue, and, in doing so, allowing so many lives to be put at risk."
Support for Total Abstinence Projects
The Pennsylvania Prohibition Committee has money available to support total abstinence projects in Pennsylvania. Proposals are invited, from anyone. Some possibilities include: developing teaching materials, campaigning for local option elections, and historical preservation. Grants will be in the range of $5000.
Interested persons and organizations should submit a brief outline of the intended work, the name and qualifications of the project director, and an estimate of cost to the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Prohibition Committee, James Hedges, Box 212, Needmore, Pennsylvania 17238 (or to firstname.lastname@example.org
James Hedges, Editor
Alcohol Feen to Sobriety Queen
www.ncadd.org / Recovery Stories
Tuesday, 25 July 25, 2017
I can remember the first time tasting it and being hooked at 23 years old. All the feelings of insecurity, doubts and fears after the first taste were all removed. Alcohol had me feeling like SUPERWOMAN and I didn't want that feeling to ever leave me. From that day forward, everything I did included alcohol, from partying to going to the movies. It was my BFF, my man, my everything, for over ten years. It had given me what I thought was important, but it had stolen more than I could've ever imagined: thousands of dollars supporting my weekly habit; sexual engagement unprotected, often with strangers; dignity; self respect; family members dying as result etc. I lived my life this way for over ten years, self-medicating. Alcohol, the substance I started drinking and then ultimately became addicted to, was causing more pain than I was trying to mask. The substance I would do anything for wasn't serving me. I remember realizing my life was going to end because of my drinking. I knew I had to make a decision or else I wasn't going to live much longer. Besides, it had already sent all of my aunts and uncles as well as my mother straight to the grave.
America’s Drinking Problem Is Much Worse This Century
Alcohol abuse has shot up since 2001, and the number of adults who binge weekly may top the population of Texas.
By John Tozzi
August 9, 2017
Americans are drinking more than they used to, a troubling trend with potentially dire implications for the country’s future health-care costs.
The number of adults who binge drink at least once a week could be as high as 30 million, greater than the population of every state save California, according to a study published on Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry. A similar number reported alcohol abuse or dependency.
Between the genders, women showed the larger increase in alcohol abuse, according to the report.
“This should be a big wake-up call,” said David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved with the research. “Alcohol is our number one drug problem, and it’s not just a problem among kids.”
While underage drinking has declined in recent years, adult consumption increased across all demographics. The jump was also especially large for older Americans, minorities and people with lower levels of education and income.
The rise is “startling,” said Bridget Grant, a researcher at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and lead author of the paper. “We haven’t seen these increases for three or four decades.”
First Secondhand Smoke, Now Secondhand Harm From Drinking
Source Newsroom: Research Society on Alcoholism
Newswise — It’s no secret that university life often includes alcohol use, which can sometimes cause harm. Yet harm can also extend beyond the drinker, such as “secondhand harm” that is caused by intoxicated people: accidents or domestic, physical, or sexual violence; interrupted sleep or property destruction; and arguments, problems with relationships, or financial problems. Prior research suggests that more than 70 percent of college undergraduates have experienced harm from other students’ drinking. This study examined the prevalence and types of secondhand harm among Canadian undergraduates, and whether certain personality risks for alcohol use disorder – impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity – can predict secondhand-harm exposure.
Study Details Possible Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Treatment
Kristen Thometz | July 18, 2017
Two commonly used drugs could be potential treatments for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, according to a new study that looked at the drugs’ ability to reverse learning and memory deficits associated with the disorder in rats.
“These two treatments can reverse it, so potentially these treatments can be explored for human fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” said Northwestern University professor Eva Redei, the lead investigator and senior author of the study. “I would really hope, eventually, to treat fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. I hope we can prevent it but that doesn’t seem to be working.”
Why alcohol affects women more than men
by David Schardt
“A woman reaches a higher blood alcohol level than a man after drinking the same amount of alcohol, even if they’re the same height and weight,” says George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health.
That’s mostly because women’s bodies contain less water, notes Koob. And less water means a higher concentration of alcohol in their blood and in their cells after drinking the same amount as men.
But the effect of alcohol is not just a matter of becoming impaired more easily. Women who drink regularly are at increased risk of breast cancer.
“Alcohol is related to both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer,” says Walter Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “And the more you drink, the higher your risk.”
Drinking over more of your life also matters. “Women who started drinking earlier in life and then stopped, their risk goes down,” Willett explains. “The highest risk is in women who started consuming alcohol early and continued.”
And it’s not just heavy drinking
“We now see a 17 percent increased risk with only one drink every other day,” notes Willett. “What’s remarkable is how modest that amount is. With colorectal cancer, you don’t see much increase in risk until you get to over two drinks a day.”
Alcohol’s ability to raise blood estrogen levels appears to explain at least part of the increased risk. “But we’re still not entirely sure whether it’s limited to the increase in estrogen or whether there’s more to it than that,” adds Willett.
“Alcohol is also a stronger risk factor for estrogen-positive cancer than for estrogen-negative breast cancer,” says Regina Ziegler of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. Estrogen-positive breast cancers are more common in older women.
Excise tax reform push could make American liquor great again
By Tom Acitelli
America’s growing ranks of craft distillers think that an excise tax cut from Washington could spur unprecedented growth in their industry, putting their small-batch, traditionally made whiskeys, gins, vodkas, brandies and more into more hands and on more menus than ever.
It’s not so much drunk talk. Just look at what happened with craft beer.
In September 1976, Congress passed legislation that cut the federal excise tax on beer to $7 from $9 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced, so long as a brewery produced no more than 2 million barrels annually (a 31-gallon barrel is equal to about two kegs).
When President Gerald Ford signed the bill that same month, there were well under 100 breweries in the United States, and the number was shrinking fast amid industry consolidation and the high costs of doing business for smaller players. Analysts predicted perhaps two or three American breweries by the turn of the century — probably the big players such as Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors.
A funny thing happened, though. The number of U.S. breweries rose steadily, crashing through 1,000 by the 1990s and then through 2,000 in the 21st century — about 1,997 more than analysts’ predictions. The number now stands at more than 5,000, the most breweries operating at any one time in the nation’s history.
Dry no more: Kenilworth lifts liquor sales ban
One of last Chicago suburbs to prohibit selling alcohol hopes to attract businesses
By Kate Thayer and Kathy Routliffe
Kenilworth — one of the last Chicago suburbs to prohibit the sale of alcohol — is dry no more.
Leaders of the tony North Shore village voted last week to allow liquor sales in hopes of attracting restaurants and other businesses to their small retail district.
In doing so, Kenilworth follows the lead of other formerly dry suburbs that have moved away from such bans, including Evanston, Oak Park, Park Ridge, Zion and Wheaton. That leaves south suburban South Holland — which also bans the sale of pornography — as possibly the last Chicago-area community to continue to prohibit liquor sales, as well as bars.
Religious, philosophical and sometimes practical concerns kept booze bans in place in some Chicago-area communities long after Prohibition ended in 1933. But changing times, and the prospect of a new public revenue source, have lured many communities away from outright bans, including now Kenilworth, which Forbes.com in 2011 called the “most exclusive neighborhood in the Midwest.”
When alcoholism ruins someone's liver, should they qualify for a transplant?
Alexandra Rockey Fleming
Special To The Washington Post
January 31, 2017
It began as a gentle way to unwind, a reward after a long day at work.
Jackie Brafford, a registered nurse, would arrive home, kick off her shoes and pour herself a glass of chardonnay as she prepared dinner for herself and Steven, her husband of 40 years. After the pair ate at their home in Mineral, Virginia, Jackie would settle on the couch with a book, glancing at the evening news while idly scratching Crystal, the family's chow, between the eyes.
Often that first glass of wine would turn into a second, and then another.
At some point, on Jackie's days off, "she might not make it to lunchtime before she started drinking," Steven says.
By early last year, Jackie, 62, was about five years into habitual alcohol use. Family members had confronted her with their worries around Christmastime, and Jackie quit drinking, cold turkey. But by then, Steven says, she was lethargic and unmotivated, her appetite low.
"I'd been after her to get those things checked out," he says, "but nurses are the worst patients, and she didn't think anything was wrong enough to warrant a visit to the doctor."
On vacation in Florida with Steven and friends in March, Jackie began to feel acutely ill, tired and weak. The couple headed north, stopping at their daughter's home in Virginia Beach for a grandson's birthday party. But right before the festivities began, Jackie told her husband to take her home. Once in the car, that request changed, Steven says, to "Just take me to the hospital."
Within days, doctors suspected alcoholic liver disease (ALD), a spectrum of damage caused by excess alcohol intake. To survive it, Jackie was told, she would need a new liver.
Many Americans die every year of complications of ALD - more than 21,000 in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some might have been saved by a liver transplant. However, many ALD patients are unable to get on a list for a donor organ because an informal policy at nearly all of the nation's 140 or so transplant centers requires that ALD patients demonstrate six months of sobriety before they are allowed to register.
Nonresistance to Alcohol Compromises Marijuana Resistance
By Dr. Mark Creech
The votes for advancing alcohol sales across the Tar Heel state were alarming this year. A total of 27 alcohol referendums were held in Alexander, Bertie, Burke, Camden, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Gaston, Haywood, Johnston, and Stanly counties. Every referendum succeeded with votes in favor of greater access to alcohol besting limited sales by an average of 62.3% to a 37.1% margin.
It used to be 30 to 40 years ago, if there was an alcohol referendum on the ballot in some city or town in North Carolina, nearly every mainline church would join forces to defeat it. There was a general consensus among churches that easier access to alcohol was inherently problematic, bringing with it hosts of social problems. Today, however, it’s difficult to find a handful of churches willing to oppose an alcohol referendum.
Thus, the primary reason pro-alcohol forces bent on making new markets for wine, beer, and spirits had a banner year in North Carolina.
Pastors rarely, if ever, preach on the subject of alcohol use and abuse in their churches anymore. A few years ago, a pastor asked me to come to his church and preach on the topic. After I finished my sermon, several people came up to me afterward and said it was the first full sermon they had ever heard on the subject.
What concerns me is another threat coming down the pike that was also up for a vote on Election Day, not in North Carolina but in other states. And the compromise of our churches on the alcohol issue, I believe, places us in a vulnerable position to effectively resist it.
According to the Washington Post, “Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives Tuesday night, and several other states passed medical marijuana provisions, in what is turning out to be the biggest electoral victory for marijuana reform since 2012, when Colorado and Washington first approved the drug's recreational use.”
Maine also voted on a recreational marijuana initiative, but the vote is so close that it will take at least a month to determine whether it succeeded. The Huffington Post also notes that “[e]ven without Maine, 66.9 million Americans living in seven states and the District of Columbia — or 21.4 percent of the U.S. population — will soon have access to legal marijuana.”
Does this concern you, citizen Christian? If not, it certainly should. On top of all the quantifiable damage done to individuals, families, and society caused by alcohol – on top of all the quantifiable damage caused by tobacco to the public’s health – now there is a movement with serious momentum to legalize recreational marijuana – something some of the most reputable studies from Europe and the United States have found has multiple significant adverse outcomes.
Interestingly, the same arguments made in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana are essentially the same made when an alcohol referendum proposes lifting restrictions on alcohol sales in our state:
- It's needed to generate more tax revenue
- It's needed to enhance economic growth
- It will create new jobs and new opportunities
- It will provide better control, ending the business of illegal sales.
Just as these always prove to be false promises for communities that vote in favor of an alcohol referendum, they’ll prove over time to be false for any state that legalizes marijuana.
Of course, one can never talk about alcohol and marijuana in the same sentence without someone quickly pointing out that Prohibition was a failure, and, therefore, the current prohibition on marijuana needs to also be lifted.
Such claims, however, don’t stand up to scrutiny. It is true Prohibition didn’t end alcohol use altogether, but it did succeed in reducing consumption and its harms.
William J. Bennet and Robert White in their book, Going to Pot, reference journalist Daniel Okrent’s recent research in his book on Prohibition, titled Last Call. They write:
“Prohibition had the effect of reducing alcohol consumption by 70 percent in its first few years. Furthermore, the highest rate of consumption of alcohol in American history was 2.6 gallons of pure alcohol per person just before Prohibition. It stayed below that for a long time, even long after repeal, not reaching that level of 2.6 gallons again until 1973.”
The authors also cite research from Professor Mark Moore of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government noted in an article from the New York Times:
“Cirrhosis death rates for men were 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 and 10.7 in 1929. Admissions to state mental hospitals for psychosis declined from 10.1 per 100,000 in 1919 to 4.7 in 1929. Arrests for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct declined 50 percent between 1916 and 1922…[V]iolent crime did not increase dramatically during Prohibition. Homicide rates rose dramatically from 1900 to 1910 but remained roughly constant during Prohibition’s 14-year rule. Organized crime may have become more visible and lurid during Prohibition, but it existed before and after.”
To contend Prohibition didn’t work is an untenable argument, no matter who makes it. What is more, to claim the current prohibition on marijuana hasn’t worked is just as untenable because, like alcohol, legalization won’t reduce consumption or harms but only increase both.
Since 2008 there has been legislation filed in the North Carolina General Assembly to legalize medicinal marijuana, which is simply the first step toward legalizing recreational pot. Each year, these measures have been rejected.
Still, the point here is that this issue will continue to push North Carolinians for a decision in its favor. And if churches don’t start taking on alcohol as a threat to their communities, if preachers don’t start preaching against alcohol use and encouraging abstinence, if citizen Christians are unwilling to resist alcohol for what it is - America’s number one mind-altering drug that destroys more lives than all the other drugs combined - then there seems to be little ground for standing on to defeat weed.
Don’t misunderstand me. Prohibition is a dead issue and it isn’t coming back. Nevertheless, the less resistance there is to alcohol, the wider the door swings for marijuana legalization to sashay in.
Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health
SAMHSA IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF FACING ADDICTION IN AMERICA: THE SURGEON GENERAL'S REPORT ON ALCOHOL, DRUGS, AND HEALTH. THIS LANDMARK REPORT WAS DEVELOPED AS A COLLABORATION BETWEEN SAMHSA AND THE OFFICE OF THE SURGEON GENERAL.
Today, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy published a landmark report on a health crisis affecting every community in our country. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health is a comprehensive review of the science of substance use, misuse, and disorders.
Nearly 21 million people in America have a substance use disorder involving alcohol or drugs, an astonishing figure that is comparable to the number of people in our country with diabetes and higher than the total number of Americans suffering from all cancers combined. But in spite of the massive scope of this problem, only 1 in 10 people with a substance use disorder receives treatment.
The societal cost of alcohol misuse is $249 billion, and for illicit drug use it is $193 billion. What we cannot quantify is the human toll on individuals, families, and communities affected not only by addiction, but also by alcohol and drug-related crime, violence, abuse, and child neglect.
Though this challenge is daunting, there is much reason to be hopeful. That’s because we know how to solve the problem. We know that prevention works, treatment is effective, and recovery is possible for everyone. We know that we cannot incarcerate our way out of this situation; instead, we need to apply an evidence-based public health approach that brings together all sectors of our society to end this crisis. And we know that addiction is not a moral failing. It is a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency, and compassion.
Previous reports of the Surgeon General, including those on tobacco (1964), AIDS (1987), and mental health (1999), have helped to create understanding and urgency to address critical public health challenges. Building on this heritage, The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health will equip clinicians, policymakers, law enforcement, community leaders, and families with the evidence and tools they need to take action.
Together, we can prevent addiction and create hope for millions of people in treatment and recovery. When we stop judging, we can start helping.
Study Links Teens’ Exposure to Alcohol Ads and How Much of Those Brands They Drink
BY PARTNERSHIP NEWS SERVICE STAFF
September 8th, 2016
A new study finds a link between teens’ exposure to alcohol ads and how much of those brands they drink.
Researchers at Boston University studied more than 1,000 13- to 20-year-olds who said they had consumed alcohol in the past month. Underage drinkers who didn’t see any alcohol ads drank about 14 drinks per month, compared with 33 drinks for those who had seen an average amount of alcohol ads, CNN reports
“I think one of the implications for the broader society is that currently our controls on television advertising for alcohol are minimal and they’re self-regulatory, so I think we should definitely tighten up that seam,” said lead researcher Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH.
Craft Beer’s Looming Crisis
Find out if your favorite local or national craft brand is in danger of disappearing.
By Lew Bryson
You may want to grab a barstool before you hear this: Craft beer has some very serious issues.
While things certainly seem bubbly on the surface for the category—years of double-digit sales growth have led to a large increase in brands and an overwhelming selection of IPAs, stouts, saisons, and just about every other conceivable type of beer on store shelves—growth is slowing, putting pressure on the industry. What makes matters worse is that breweries are still opening at a rapid pace around the country and unfortunately, many of those bottles on the shelves are old or have gone bad.
And there is also the fact that fruit beers are flooding the market, which is truly a sign of the apocalypse. (Mango IPA, anyone?) This will not end well.
What to Do If Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning
WE CONSULTED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS ON HOW TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT ALCOHOL POISONING — AND WHEN TO GET HELP.
By Danielle Sinay
August 17, 2016
With more than 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths in the U.S. each year — an average of six alcohol poisoning deaths every day — it’s imperative to educate yourself and friends on the dangers of alcohol abuse, and how to prevent and treat it. If you are under 21, remember that it is illegal to drink alcohol. But if you find yourself in a situation where one of your friends may have consumed alcohol and seems to be showing signs of alcohol poisoning, you should do whatever you can to make sure they are physically OK.
We asked medical professionals what we can do to prevent and treat alcohol poisoning, and potentially save someone’s life. Read on for their advice.
How do you know someone has had too much to drink?
Keep an eye out for “slurred speech, inability to remain standing or sitting up straight, trouble remembering things, bloodshot, glassy or watery eyes,” Ryan Potter, director of clinical development at Ambrosia Treatment Center, tells Teen Vogue. Loud or embarrassing behavior and extreme mood changes are often signs as well. Essentially: If your friend is acting strange, something may be going on.
How tough should schools be on teen drinking?
By Donna St. George
July 31, 2016
As schools grapple with how to deter underage drinking at prom and other events, some elected officials and parents in Montgomery County are urging tougher punishments for students when they are caught, such as limiting their involvement in school activities or barring them from graduation ceremonies.
They have looked to neighboring Fairfax County, Va., where those found using alcohol or drugs at school events face suspension from athletic teams, clubs and other activities for 30 days for a first offense. They also have eyed policies in Anne Arundel County, where drug and alcohol violations during the weeks before graduation mean students lose their chance to attend commencement and other senior events.
The Smithsonian Will Pay Someone $64,000 a Year to Drink (and Research) Beer
July 26, 2016
The museum is looking to document the craft beer movement.
Beer nerds, it may be time to dust off your resume: The Smithsonian is hiring a beer historian.
The hoppy gig, which will pay $64,650 a year and includes benefits, is a new role for the Museum of American History, the Washington City Paper reported. Funded by the Brewers Association, the position lasts for three years and seeks someone who’s interested in “research, documentation and collecting American brewing history.”
The museum has long collected information on food history, and in the course of its research, staff members became curious about the origins of the craft beer movement. “We were looking at wine, coffee, cheese, artisanal bread, and farmers markets,” museum curator Paula Johnston told the Washington City Paper. “Well, this movement with small-scale, local regional beer is part of the ethos.”
Alcohol Worse than Guns?
By Dr. Mark Creech, Executive Director
Christian Action League of North Carolina
Instruction, advice, given seasonably, is a beautiful thing. That’s what the writer of Proverbs was saying when he wrote, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
I thought about that principle recently when I read Franklin Graham’s words about Democratic Congressional leaders holding a sit-in on the House floor of the Capitol. Graham said:
“Democratic leaders in the House had a sit-in last night! Do they think this is the 1960's? The President, along with many Democratic leaders, believes the problem in the world is with guns. The Bible says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). That is so true. It takes a human being to pick up a gun and pull the trigger. More people are killed with knives annually in the United States than with rifles. More people are killed by drunk drivers annually in America than with all the guns. But you don't see them having a sit-in to ban alcohol! The hypocrisy of our leadership never ceases to amaze me. Our government has become so dysfunctional.”
Wise reproof. Well given by a wise reprover.
It was Graham’s words about alcohol, however, that mostly captured my attention. I doubt it ever crosses the minds of most Americans that alcohol is actually more problematic for our country than guns. The trail of alcohol is one of ignominy and death.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety/Support Fund, which claims to have the “most comprehensive, up-to-date sources of data to measure America’s unprecedented levels of gun violence,” an average of approximately 33,000 people were killed annually by guns from 2010 – 2014. This includes every category, homicide, suicide, unintentional deaths, legal intervention, and undetermined intent.
By contrast, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes.
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Justice Report on Alcohol and Crime found that alcohol abuse was a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S. And add to this that 37 percent of almost 2 million convicted offenders, who are currently in jail, report that they were drinking at the time of their arrest, one can only wonder how many of the large number of deaths by guns were not in some way influenced by alcohol.
Yes, alcohol is much worse than guns. In fact, one could argue that alcohol is worse than the Atomic Bomb. Most people cringe whenever they see old footage of the carnage after Hiroshima was hit with an atomic explosion during World War II. The Manhattan Engineer District Survey published a study in 1946 that concluded the death toll was about 66,000 people. Still, we tolerate something worse than a Hiroshima from the negative wake of alcohol use and abuse every year in America.
Call me an ignoramus and out of step with the times, if you wish. But when I see our nation’s leaders sprawled across the floor of the U.S. House in a protest for gun control measures, I can’t help but ponder in what ways alcohol may be negatively impacting them.
Now I don’t mean to say that they were all drunk or that they had even been drinking. What I am asking, however, is in what way is alcohol fueling the dysfunction in our government that Graham opined about.
In the 1980s, evangelist Jack Van Impe, in his book, Alcohol: The Beloved Enemy asked a series of related questions. He wrote:
“Perhaps alcohol’s most dangerous potential for destruction is the power to influence decisions in government. What is the impact of alcohol in the day-by-day legislative, judicial, and executive processes?
“How many laws are passed because of politicking at drinking affairs?
“How many committee compromises are worked out by key people over cocktails?
“How many votes in state legislatures and in Congress are in some way influenced by the alcohol in the blood of the elected officials?
“How many votes are missed because of hangovers?
“How many judicial decisions are tainted by alcohol?
“Is a drinking Judge competent to hand down decisions affecting the lives of individuals for years to come?
“Can Judges who abuse the product that is the nation’s number one drug problem correctly evaluate cases involving other harmful substances?
“What part has alcohol played in foreign policy-making?
“If .06 percent alcohol in a person’s bloodstream (about three drinks) makes a driver twice as likely to cause a traffic accident, what might the same quantity do to a negotiator dealing with problems concerning nuclear weapons?
“How much alcohol in the blood would be required to cause a chief executive to make a misjudgment that would bring about a nuclear holocaust?”
I’m not sure we should conclude such questions as pure hyperbole, when we consider media reports back in 2013 that said bartenders near the Capitol were claiming members of Congress were partying and drinking a lot during the government shutdown. Reporters covering the vote complained Congressional members smelled strongly of booze.
The Scriptures admonish leaders, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink; Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted” (Proverbs 31:4, 5).
“So what’s your point?” someone asks. “Are you saying we should ban alcohol?”
Nope. I’m not arguing for bringing back prohibition. Nonetheless, I am unashamedly arguing that alcohol is a bigger and even more urgent problem than guns. And while I don’t believe we need further restrictions on gun ownership, I do believe governments, local, state and federal, should do more to tighten alcohol policy.
But don’t worry; there won’t likely be a sit-in anywhere, anytime, by anyone over that issue.
Protesters on horseback halt vote on alcohol sales on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Paul Hammel / World-Herald Bureau
May 18, 2016
LINCOLN — The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation will remain officially dry after a vote to allow alcohol sales was called off at the last minute.
Residents of the reservation, in southern South Dakota bordering Nebraska, were poised to vote Tuesday. But the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council, in the face of protesters on horseback, voted 9-4 late Monday afternoon to halt the election.
“A lot of people don’t want it,” said Percy White Plume, who staged the protest ride. “If you allow liquor sales, all the young people will say it must be OK. We’ll have even more alcohol-related deaths, beatings and rapes that go along with it.”
“And the revenue isn’t going to be that much,” White Plume added.
SAMHSA's National Prevention Week 2016
May 15–21, 2016
SAMHSA's fifth annual National Prevention Week (NPW) is dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, prevention of mental and/or substance use disorders. During NPW, community organizations across the country host health fairs, block parties, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events, and more. The 2016 theme—Strong as One, Stronger Together—recognizes that one person can make a positive difference in his or her community, but when we all unite together we can achieve even more.
Alcohol Obsession, Corporate Greed And Devastated Lives
By Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent
Apr 28, 2016
Alcohol is widely used to ‘turn up,’ ‘get the party started,’ or some say simply to relax, but excessive drinking and alcohol abuse render devastating results far different from the drug portrayed as euphoria in a bottle.
Statistics indicate an average of six people a day die of alcohol poisoning in the U.S. Seventy-six percent (three in four) alcohol poisoning deaths occur among adults 35-64. Last year, nearly 10,000 people were killed and approximately 290,000 injured in drunk driving incidents.
Yet, people keep reaching for their favorite ‘spirits.’
“America won’t put down the bottle because there’s plenty to escape from,” said Janalyn Glymph, Ph.D, retired personnel director for the Los Angeles Unified School District and Minister of Arts at Glory Christian Fellowship International.
“I think the fact that there are so many ills across America—poverty, healthcare, violence in our streets, fear of terrorism, displaced families—the list goes on and on and on of very crippling things that are a part of our 2016 environment, and across America, communities have different abilities to rise above,” Dr. Glymph said.
Much of that comes from within, but also from the kinds of oppressions that actually exist, she told The Final Call. “The fact that those things are very real cause people to want to disengage, to have an experience that removes them from the daily plight, and so it becomes that much more attractive to kind of escape,” she said.
Alcohol Justice is a watchdog group based in California, the industry’s biggest market. According to Jorge Castillo, advocacy director, Whites across the state drink the most, followed by Latinos, then Blacks.
Nationally, 20 percent of America’s population consumes 80 percent of the alcohol in society, he said. Though Blacks and Latinos drink the least, they have less access to health services and health care. They are also segregated more economically and politically, which means they suffer the most harm, Mr. Castillo said.
A 2014 study by researchers with the National Institutes of Health found that Blacks are more likely to encounter legal problems from drinking than Whites, even at the same levels of consumption.
“Less Drinking, Yet More Problems: Understanding African American Drinking and Related Problems” further found that low-income Black men, in particular, appeared to be at the highest risk for alcoholism and related problems due to complex interaction of residential discrimination, racism, age of drinking, and lack of available standard life reinforcers, such as stable employment and financial stability.
“Clearly, this is a complex issue that involves interactions among numerous sociocultural risk factors in a vulnerable subset of African Americans with few resources to address their problems,” stated Aaron White, Ph.D., senior scientific advisor to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director.
On April 4, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) launched a new campaign to spark a national conversation about alcohol responsibility.
“Responsibility Starts with Me,” designed to kick off April’s designation as “Alcohol Responsibility Month,” highlighted the organization’s recent study among American adults to learn what personal responsibility, especially when it comes to consuming alcohol, means to them.
Researchers found that three out of four American adults (76 percent) believe responsibility starts with “me,” and 68 percent believe it is everyone’s own personal responsibility to address the harmful consumption of alcohol.
“For 25 years, Responsibility.org has led the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking, and I am excited for this new campaign highlighting the importance of personal responsibility when it comes to alcohol. Responsibility starts at the individual level,” said Mike Keyes, president of Brown-Forman’s North American region and chair of Responsibility.org’s board of directors in press release.
What about corporate accountability? activists argued. It is disingenuous and hypocritical, for Responsibility.org to claim leadership in the fight to eliminate drunk driving, underage drinking, and responsible consumption of alcohol given that the national not-for-profit is funded by America’s leading distillers (Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA).
NTSB recommends to lower legal blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05
February 2, 2016
by Danica Lawrence
SALT LAKE CITY -- The National Transportation Safety board said it's recommending lowering the legal blood alcohol limit on the roads from .08 to .05.
The NTSB reports nearly half of deadly crashes would go down if the country cut the alcohol legal limit. It is one of the government agency’s top issues it is focusing on in 2016.
NTSB came out with its “Most Wanted” list, which is a policy list where the agency explains its recommendations. The mission is to cut down on deadly crashes but not everyone thinks lowering the limit is a good idea.
“If the level were to change I don't think our focus or our mission would change at all,” said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Christian Newlin.
Newlin is the breath alcohol supervisor and has been trained to know the signs of impairment.
“Swaying back and forth, slurred speech,” Newlin said. “So you start to see physical indicators at the .08. The .05 is based on very rigorous research that points to when mental impairment starts. The ability to multitask, reaction time
The NTSB said other countries like Australia have a .05 legal limit. Not only has it reduced crashes, but the overall average blood alcohol content for drivers has dropped.
Here's what one public health expert wishes the alcohol industry would do to protect kids
by German Lopez
February 4, 2016
Kids aren't supposed to drink alcohol. But in the US, booze is everywhere. It's hard to grow up without being exposed to alcohol advertising. And those ads are working a little too well: Several long-term studies have found that higher exposure to alcohol ads correlates with an increase in drinking among youth.
That's a big problem: Drinking at a young age, according to numerous studies, can lead to detrimental effects, from dependence to earlier development of liver cirrhosis.
That's why the alcohol industry takes steps to stop ads from reaching people under 21.
For the industry, part of this is economical: It's more profitable to show ads to people who can legally buy alcohol. But there's also a self-interest in avoiding the ire of public health officials who wouldn't be happy with the industry advertising to youth.
So the industry self-regulates to limit alcohol advertising so that no more than 28.4 percent of its ads' audiences are people under 21. (State and federal laws can't impose such standards due to constitutional protections for speech, including advertising.)
But is the industry really doing all it can to avoid youth audiences? David Jernigan, an alcohol policy expert at Johns Hopkins University, and two of his colleagues looked at this question in a recent study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
The authors found that the industry has room to improve. They recommend alcohol makers figure out which of their television ad campaigns, television networks, and time slots have exposed more underage people to their ads. They also recommend where companies can put better safeguards on advertising for low-rated programs, which have very unpredictable age demographics.
If the industry adopted these three measures, Jernigan's study found it could eliminate a majority of ads that slip through to youth — from 2005 to 2012, these restrictions would have cut nearly 13 billion instances of exposure to youth each year.
I reached out to Jernigan to discuss his study and why it's important to prevent youth exposure to alcohol ads. What follows is the interview, edited for length and clarity.
Starbucks Liquor Plan Bars Outdoor Consumption For Now
One of two Starbucks coffee shop locations in Buffalo Grove (IL) will soon sell alcoholic beverages to customers.
Village trustees Jan. 4 approved a liquor license for Starbucks to sell beer and wine at its 1205 W. Dundee Rd. location.
In order to sell alcohol to customers, Starbucks must complete all village requirements for the liquor license on or before March 21.
The liquor request was part of a new concept that Starbucks is rolling out at select locations throughout the country called “Starbucks Evenings.” The concept includes expanding Starbucks offerings with beer and wine in the afternoon and evenings for customers as well as small plate food items for onsite consumption.
After 2 p.m. until the close of business, customers will be able to buy a glass of wine or beer for consumption in the coffee shop. Customers would order the alcoholic beverage at the counter, as they would coffee, and receive the alcoholic beverage before sitting at a table inside the premises.
‘Dry January’ Cuts Alcohol Sales In Half
In the United Kingdom supermarket sales of alcohol have plummeted in January as more people than ever before are taking part in ‘Dry January’ campaign.
Last year in the UK, an average of almost £1 in every £10 spent in supermarkets was spent on alcohol. However, so far this year this ratio has dropped to just 46p. At the same time, overall sales of drinks for the first two weeks of January are well above the monthly average of drinks sales in 2015.
This data suggests that more shoppers than ever are choosing juices, soft drinks and other alcohol-free products, instead of alcohol.
Market data shows that ca. 40% of the money spent in supermarkets in January so far has been on beverages, while the average for the entire 2015 was approximately 30%. In previous years, data revealed that January is more of a healthy month than other months of the year, but the trend of people choosing alcohol-free beverages over alcohol is substantial and is having increased momentum.
‘Dry January‘ is an annual campaign where Alcohol Concern
challenges people to give up alcohol for the 31 days of January.
Alcohol Concern says that over 2 million people are taking part this year.
Texas A&M Prof Contends Alcohol Companies Directly Marketing To Youth On Social Media
Source Newsroom: Texas A&M University
Newswise — Youth are being targeted with alcohol-related advertisements on social media platforms, according to new research by a Texas A&M University professor.
Adam Barry, professor of health education, contends that youth – as young as 13 – have unrestricted access to alcohol advertising on social media platforms. Despite regulations which should limit advertising to youth, alcohol brands were even found to send alcohol advertisements directly to underage profiles on social media platforms such as Instagram.
Due to a lack of published studies on the topic, Barry says he was curious about the direct engagement of today’s youth with different alcohol brands.
“We wanted to see if an underage profile could view alcohol brand content and interact with that content directly from smartphones,” Barry says.
Actually, Prohibition Was a Success
New York Times Opinion
By Mark H. Moore; professor of criminal justice at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Published: October 16, 1989
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— History has valuable lessons to teach policy makers but it reveals its lessons only grudgingly.
Close analyses of the facts and their relevance is required lest policy makers fall victim to the persuasive power of false analogies and are misled into imprudent judgments. Just such a danger is posed by those who casually invoke the ''lessons of Prohibition'' to argue for the legalization of drugs.
What everyone ''knows'' about Prohibition is that it was a failure. It did not eliminate drinking; it did create a black market. That in turn spawned criminal syndicates and random violence. Corruption and widespread disrespect for law were incubated and, most tellingly, Prohibition was repealed only 14 years after it was enshrined in the Constitution.
The lesson drawn by commentators is that it is fruitless to allow moralists to use criminal law to control intoxicating substances. Many now say it is equally unwise to rely on the law to solve the nation's drug problem.
But the conventional view of Prohibition is not supported by the facts.
Student's essay on near-death binge drinking goes viral
USA Today Network
Siobhan McAndrew, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal
January 13, 2016
Doctors didn’t expect University of Nevada, Reno student Hanna Lottritz to live through the night when she arrived at Renown Regional Medical Center.
With a blood alcohol concentration five times over the legal limit, the then 20-year-old college student was unresponsive when she arrived at the hospital via care flight the morning of July 26, 2015
Lottritz, a journalism major at UNR, shared her experience on her blog.
UK Government Advises There Is No Safe Limit for Alcohol
Tessa Berenson @tcberenson
Jan. 8, 2016
The new advice is a radical change from previous guidance
The UK government has issued new guidelines on alcohol, saying any amount will increase the risk for cancer.
The advice says people who drink regularly should not consume more than 14 units of alcohol a week, which is equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine, BBC reports. This limit is for women and men, which is a break from previous advice which said men could safely drink more alcohol than women.
The guidelines advise that pregnant women should not drink, and for people who do drink, some days should be kept alcohol-free. The government also cautions that any amount of alcohol can increase the risk for cancer; there is no safe drinking limit.
The main shift in these new guidelines is in apportioning out units of alcohol by week rather than by day, to erase the assumption that drinking every day is considered alright, according to BBC.
'Fear of Missing Out' Linked to Alcohol Harm in Students
29 November 2015
University students who have a greater "fear of missing out" (FoMO) are much more likely to experience negative consequences from drinking alcohol, new University of Otago psychology research suggests.
FoMO refers to the uneasy and often all-consuming sense that friends or others are having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. It is characterized by a desire to remain socially connected and may manifest itself as a form of social anxiety, according to MedicalXpress.com.
The Otago Department of Psychology researchers have now published what is believed to be the first research examining FoMO, alcohol use, and alcohol-related consequences in university students.
Their study appears in the journal Annals of Neuroscience and Psychology.
Male and female drinking patterns becoming more alike in the US
Monday, November 23, 2015
In the United States, and throughout the world, men drink more alcohol than women. But a recent analysis by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, indicates that longstanding differences between men and women in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms might be narrowing in the United States.
Researchers led by Aaron White, Ph.D., NIAAA’s senior scientific advisor to the director, examined data from yearly national surveys conducted between 2002 and 2012.
“We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males,” says Dr. White. “Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing.” A report of the study by Dr. White and his colleagues is online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
“This study confirms what other recent reports have suggested about changing patterns of alcohol use by men and women in the U.S.,” notes NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D. Dr. Koob adds that the evidence of increasing alcohol use by females is particularly concerning given that women are at greater risk than men of a variety of alcohol-related health effects, including liver inflammation, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and cancer.
Sexual Assaults on College Campuses: Focus on Alcohol
Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP
Much has been reported in the press about sexual assaults on college campuses of late. Cases across the country (including at the most competitive and elite schools) have dominated the press. Recent reports have suggested that as many as 20% of college women are victims of unwanted sexual advances by their fellow students while on campus. Certainly any parent who sends their child to college expects them to be safe and to be able to complete their college education free of being victimized by sexual crimes and harassment. In order to maximize safety and minimize assaults there are plenty of critical things that colleges (as well as their students) can do to create a safer campus environment. But if I had to pick just one intervention to reduce sexual assaults it would be to get serious about alcohol!
Certainly there is much that can be done to reduce sexual assaults on campus including greater awareness among students of appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior, "yes means yes" and "no means no" training, working to educate potential bystanders to intervene as needed, mandating sexual assault reporting as we now do with child abuse cases, ensuring that campus safety officers have ready access to on campus (as well as perhaps off campus) college parties, and changing the culture of campuses to maintain a zero tolerance approach to sexual assault but the one common factor that increases the risk of sexual assault of college students is the abuse of alcohol.
Tropical Alcopop Targets Millennial Women
November 30, 2015
Mike’s Hard Lemonade (Mark Anthony Group) has joined a trend with its Palm Breeze spritzer, stating that the new brand is focused on Millennial women. Dressed in a breezy tropical look, Palm Breeze sits in a cold case with other sweet, fizzy, dangerous alcopops.
Mike’s has stated that it is filling a market gap, "designed specifically to appeal to the 11 million millennial women that annually drink more than 13 million cases of flavored malt beverages" with, among other promotional factors, a lower alcohol by volume (ABV). Mike's hopes the carbonated beverage will evoke a tropical vacation feeling from a can and become a daily favorite among Millennial women. Put another way, the fruit-flavored, inexpensive, lower ABV alcopop will make it easier for girls to start drinking, and encourage young women to drink more often.
Females experience more negative effects from alcohol than males. Binge drinking in young women has increased over the last decade, fueled predominantly by flavored alcoholic beverages/alcopops. In that regard Mike's is not only contributing to a trend; it's a leader.
City council ordinance targets under-aged drinking on party buses
by TERRY DEAN on NOVEMBER 2, 2015
The Chicago City Council is considering cracking down on under-aged drinking on commercial party buses after a shootinging last month involving one of those vehicles.
Three people were wounded Oct. 11 from gunshots fired during a party bus trip in the South Loop. The ordinance was filed three days later by Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) and Ald. Ed Burke (14th), both former police officers.
The measure would require party bus operators to designate someone 25 and older to check IDs of all passengers, and for that person to make sure anyone under 21 does not drink alcohol. The ordinance also would require operators to ensure that anyone chartering a bus is licensed to sell alcohol in the city.
A group of middle-aged whites in the U.S. is dying at a startling rate
By Lenny Bernstein and Joel Achenbach
November 2, 2015
A large segment of white middle-aged Americans has suffered a startling rise in its death rate since 1999, according to a review of statistics published Monday that shows a sharp reversal in decades of progress toward longer lives.
The mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education increased markedly between 1999 and 2013, most likely because of problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and suicide, the researchers concluded. Before then, death rates for that group dropped steadily, and at a faster pace.
An increase in the mortality rate for any large demographic group in an advanced nation has been virtually unheard of in recent decades, with the exception of Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The rising death rate was accompanied by an increase in the rate of illness, the authors wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Drugs and alcohol, and suicide . . . are clearly the proximate cause,” said Angus Deaton, the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics, who co-authored the paper with his wife, Anne Case. Both are economics professors at Princeton University.
Middle-aged 'should curb drinking alcohol to avoid dementia'
21 October 2015
Middle-aged people should be warned there is "no safe level of alcohol consumption" and advised to curb drinking to reduce their risk of developing dementia, according to new official guidance.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) guidelines for preventing the risks of dementia, disability and frailty suggest drinking alcohol is among several factors which can increase a person's vulnerability.
The watchdog called on the health service to make clear the dangers of drinking alcohol and "encourage people to reduce the amount they drink as much as possible".
Ben & Jerry’s now has beer, ice cream, AND beer-flavored ice cream
Thanks to a partnership with New Belgium brewing, the Vermont ice cream giant is expanding its horizons again.
OCTOBER 22, 2015
BY PERRY EATON
Vermont ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s never shies away from pushing ice cream to the limit. Last spring, the duo created a Passover-friendly charoset flavor and even tossed around the idea of a cannabis-infused ice cream. This is on top of several treats inspired by musicians, late-night TV hosts, and other celebrities.
Now, Ben & Jerry’s is teaming up with Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing to cook up two very special creations. The local creamery with be purveying Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale ice cream, a special blend infusing the flavors of New Belgium Brown Ale, salted caramel, and fudge brownie (and available for all ages
Chicago banned happy hour. Now it’s back. Less sloppily so.
October 8, 2015 — 1:24 PM CDT
Happy hour, that time-honored tradition of discounted after-work drinking, is one of the greatest benefits of being young and employed (or even unemployed) in an American city. Unless that city is Chicago, where it was prohibited for almost 25 years.
In July, Illinois lawmakers decided it was time to liberate the cheap booze. The state legislature voted to overturn the ban, and as of this fall, bars and restaurants can serve discounted drinks for as many as four hours a day, capped at 15 total per week. State Representative Sara Feigenholtz told Crain’s the decision was “an effort to recognize the fact that Illinois has become a culinary destination.” Happy hour brings more people to restaurants—and more tax dollars to a state that’s so far in debt (about $150 billion and counting, according to the nonprofit State Budget Solutions) it suspended payouts to lottery winners until a new budget passes.
How three Chicago tycoons will be affected by Big Beer's mega-merger
JOE CAHILL ON BUSINESS
October 14, 2015
Three bigwigs in the Illinois beer biz have a lot riding on Anheuser-Busch InBev's proposed acquisition of SABMiller.
Billionaire brothers Chris and Jude Reyes' Rosemont-based Reyes Holdings is the biggest U.S. distributor of SABMiller's Miller and Coors brands. Megabucks deal-maker Byron Trott, meanwhile, co-owns the leading Illinois distributor of AB InBev's Anheuser-Busch products, including Budweiser.
Either side could win or lose big in the aftermath of a planned $104 billion combination of the world's top brewers.
Merging companies often look to save money by consolidating their business relationships with a smaller number of outside partners, which in this case could include beer distributors. 3G Capital, the Brazilian buyout firm known for scorched-earth cost-cutting, controls Belgium-based AB InBev. It cut deeply at Anheuser-Busch after acquiring the famed St. Louis brewer in 2008.
Backed by Trott's pal Warren Buffett, 3G now is hacking its way through the packaged-foods industry. It's eliminating thousands of jobs at Kraft after combining the Northfield-based grocery supplier with H.J. Heinz.
Being Hung Over at Work Costs the U.S. $77 Billion a Year
NEW ESTIMATES SAY EXCESS ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION COST THE U.S. ECONOMY A QUARTER-TRILLION DOLLARS IN 2010.
By John Tozzi
October 15, 2015
Drinking too much has well-known personal costs—headaches, nausea, and regrettable 4 a.m. text messages.
The Centers for Disease Control has put a figure on how much it costs the American economy: $249 billion.
That includes spending on health care as well as the economic toll of lost productivity, car crashes, crime, and deaths attributable to excessive alcohol consumption.
The biggest economic drag from tipplers manifests in the workplace. Alcohol cost $77 billion in impaired productivity at work in 2010, according to the CDC's breakdown published in the American Journal of Preventive Health. Adding in absenteeism and other factors, the total productivity toll from excess drinking approached $90 billion. That's not counting losses from alcohol-related deaths. The CDC has previously estimated that one in 10 deaths of working-age Americans are caused by too much drinking.
Surgeon general plans substance abuse study
By Peter Urban
GateHouse Media Washington Bureau
Oct. 6, 2015
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Surgeon General’s Office plans to release a first-ever “substance use, addiction and health” report in 2016.
Speaking at the Unite to Face Addiction Rally on Sunday, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the report would serve as a new starting point for what he hopes will be a comprehensive approach to substance abuse.
“We’re going to look at the best science on everything, from heroin and marijuana, to alcohol and prescription opioids,” he said. “And we’re going to launch a national campaign to tackle the prescription drug crisis because we know that someone dies from an opioid overdose every 24 minutes in this country.”
Sebago Brewing to build "destination brewery"
THE COMPANY WANTS TO OFFER TOURS, TASTINGS AND BEER-CENTRIC FOOD TO CATER TO MAINE'S GROWING BEER TOURISM.
By Leslie Bridgers Staff Writer
August 30, 2015
Sebago Brewing Co., one of the early players in Maine’s now-booming craft beer scene, is planning to build a new, larger brewery with a tasting room and tap house to capitalize on the growing popularity of beer tourism.
The company, which was started by three friends in 1998 as a brewpub next to the Maine Mall, plans to double its production at the new “destination brewery,” which will offer tours and tastings and serve a menu of beer-centric food at a tap house that has space for small- to medium-sized events, said Kai Adams, vice president and one of the founders.
Pro: Borgata uses booze, sexy servers to distract gamblers
By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. —
A professional gambler accused of cheating an Atlantic City casino out of $9.6 million by seeking an unfair edge at cards says the casino has its own method of gaining an advantage: plying gamblers with free booze served by flirty, scantily clad waitresses.
Phil Ivey is using the unusual defense against allegations that he and a partner cheated while playing baccarat at The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 2012. Both sides are suing each other over his winnings.
The Borgata claims Ivey and an associate exploited a defect in cards that enabled them to sort and arrange good cards. The casino says the technique, called edge sorting, violates New Jersey casino gambling regulations.
But Ivey asserts his win was simply the result of skill and good observation.
In a court filing this week, Ivey turns on its head the Borgata's assertion that he and the associate sought an unfair advantage at the card tables. Ivey said the Borgata does the same thing by "plying him with free alcohol served by only the most curvaceous and voluptuous females in the industry."
Beer of champions? Wheaties teams up with brewery
By CANDICE CHOI
Associated Press, www.dailyherald.com
NEW YORK -- These Wheaties may not be so good with milk.
Wheaties says it is partnering with a craft brewery to create a limited-edition beer. The 16-ounce cans will only be available in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market starting Aug. 26, according to Wheaties parent company General Mills.
It's not exactly clear what makes it Wheaties beer, besides being made from wheat.
General Mills says the beer will be called HefeWheaties in a nod to a German style of beer called hefeweizen, which is typically made with more than 50 percent malted wheat.
"We're not saying it's a breakfast beer, but we're not saying it's not," said Ryan Petz, president of Fulton Brewery, the Minneapolis-based brewery that is making the beer.
‘Pop the Cap’: 10 Years and Every Fear Realized
Christian Action League
August 14, 2015
By Dr. Mark Creech
Inside a black frame and adorning the wall of the Christian Action League’s office is a memento of one of its previous legislative skirmishes. It features a wild-eyed, crazed-looking radical preacher with a Bible, pounding a pulpit and railing against the evils of alcohol. That’s how “Pop the Cap” proponents, who wanted to lift the limit on alcohol content in beer from 6% to 15%, portrayed my opposition to their proposal in 2005.
Sean Lilly Wilson, founder of Fullstream Brewery in Durham, spearheaded the effort and won. Wilson is now considered something akin to a “rock star” in a beer culture that has exploded on the Tar Heel state. He recently told Our State magazine the opposition he and his coalition first experienced to the proposal “was intense.” He said, “It was political theater. It was cartoony. It was absurdity.”
That’s only because Wilson and his cohorts depicted it that way, not because the alcohol-related health issues opponents warned lawmakers about had no basis in fact.
This month “Pop the Cap” celebrates ten years. A recent article in the Charlotte Observer sings it praises for creating thousands of jobs, and bringing in $791 million annually to the state’s economy. Moreover, the article says the industry’s success in the last decade is so great “North Carolina brewers now dream of being the center of beer on the East Coast.”
What the article doesn’t say, however, is that every fear raised against the initiative at the start has been realized, and more.
A Greater Risk for Hazardous Drinking
There was the fear that lifting the alcohol by volume limit on malt beverages would create a greater risk for hazardous drinking. Only four years after passage of “Pop the Cap”, in a USA Today story, substance abuse experts reportedly cautioned other states that were considering raising their cap on malt beverages. Brewers argued then, as they do now, that they needed the higher limits to achieve certain taste results. Craft beer buyers, they said, only drink to appreciate the flavors, and not to get drunk. But David Rosenbloom, who was president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at the time, now known as CASAColumbia® in New York, and headed by Sam Ball, PhD, told USA Today there was no evidence people who choose high content brews “will drink less or fewer beers.” Instead Rosenbloom argued the more alcohol, “the faster you get drunk and the longer you stay drunk.”
A Greater Risk for Underage Drinkers
Because beer is the beverage of choice for underage drinkers, many concerns were expressed about way the change would put them at greater risk. Studies have long shown that increasing the number of alcohol outlets imperils teens by making the possibility that they will get alcohol more likely. Limiting alcohol outlet density is one essential strategy for reducing underage drinking problems.
Since “Pop the Cap” passed there are now 132 craft breweries in North Carolina, up from 25 originally, with even more in the works. The Charlotte Observer states, “Today, supermarkets and bottle shops are crammed with choices, from the fresh, German–style Olde Mecklenburg to the tall cans of NoDa’s Hop Drop ’N Roll and Coco Loco. Craft styles from sour beers to goses, even mead, have bubbled up all over.”
Indeed they have. And, parents should be alarmed these beers, many of which are as high as 30 proof in alcohol content, can be sold in local grocery stores.
Alcohol Advertising Standards Have Been Lowered
While alcohol outlet density is up, the state’s standards for alcohol advertising are down from what they were. To further boost the burgeoning micro-brewing industry, lawmakers lowered the bar on alcohol advertising, also allowing beer tasting events at grocery stores and various food businesses. Malt beverage special permits are now allowed where free samples of beer are given, as well as freedom to sell at trade shows, conventions, shopping malls, festivals and similar events.
Recognizing the mountain of data showing greater exposure to alcohol advertising contributes to increased underage drinking; North Carolina didn’t used to permit such promotion and marketing. But as Bob Dylan once said, Money doesn’t just talk, it swears in obscenities.
Certainly the state’s Talk it Out campaign, initiated by North Carolina’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission is an important step in reducing underage drinking, but such actions are only frustrated when publicity criteria has been made lax.
Dangerous High Alcohol Content Brews Now Marketed
More problematic malt beverage products have also arrived on the scene since the passage of “Pop the Cap.”
In March of last year, Attorney General Roy Cooper, announced the manufacturer of the malt beverage, Four Loko, had reached an agreement with 19 other state attorneys general. Four Loko’s company was required to stop marketing its product in a way that dangerously promoted binge drinking among youth, and failed to disclose its effects of combining alcohol with caffeine.
The Triangle Business Journal noted that ”[w]hile it no longer contains caffeine, Four Loko comes in 23.5-ounce cans and has an alcohol content of 12 percent, comparable to four beers. It has been linked to alcohol poisoning and auto accidents, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as reported by WRAL.”
Other malt beverage products, like the current version of Four Loko, commonly referred to as alcopops, many of which are well-above above 6% in alcohol content, are serious catalysts for underage drinking issues. Made as sweet fruit favored alcoholic drinks that closely resemble sodas, these products are unquestionably meant to be a transition for youth from soft drinks to beer drinking. Alcopops are sold every day in North Carolina.
Alcohol Justice, reported that underage alcopop consumption cost North Carolina $207 million, took 10 lives and contributed to more than 7,800 incidents of harm in 2007 alone.
And what about the high alcohol content new malt liquor products that are such a problem for the Black and Hispanic communities that are now available?
None of these dangerous malt beverages with elevated alcohol levels, whether the caffeinated Four Loko, alcopops, certain malt liquors, etc., products characteristically associated with alcohol abuse, would have ever been able to enter the state’s market were it not for “Pop the Cap.”
Oh boy, let’s celebrate! Not!
Push to Reduce Taxes on Beer
We could also talk at length about the micro-brewing industry’s’ political push to reduce their excise taxes. Yet public health advocates have repeatedly said increasing taxes and prices on alcoholic beverages is an indispensable means for reducing alcohol related harms and excessive consumption. The last thing North Carolina needs is to lower its taxes on the beer industry.
Undermining of the Three-Tier System
We could further talk about the brewers’ efforts to undermine the state’s Three-Tier system of alcohol control. Micro-brewers can currently self-distribute if they remain under 25,000 barrels annually, which is a huge amount. Ninety-two percent of breweries in the country produce less than 7,500 barrels. But this year, brewers in the state sought to move a bill raising the number of barrels to 100,000. The passage of an initiative of this kind would be disastrous.
North Carolina’s three-tier system is made up of suppliers, distributors, and retailers. It’s an arrangement that provides critical checks and balances. Because of the independent buffer of a distributor between the supplier and the retailer, there are built in protections against corrupt, manipulative, or abusive industry practices.
To whatever level the three-tier system is diminished, the clarity of the chain of custody that scrupulously traces the product from production to sale is lost, protections against sales to minors and other abuses is lost, safeguards against contaminated or counterfeit products is lost, and an accurate means of collecting excise taxes is lost. To whatever means the specialty beer industry can get around this critical means of control, the public loses, the state and local communities lose, while the brewers laugh all the way to the bank.
So while many celebrate ten years of “Pop the Cap” this month and extol the many good things it purportedly brought about, keep in mind there is another face to the celebration – a sad one. Every fear that was expressed against the initiative, when it was first introduced, has now come to pass. And I can assure you, that’s not just the vociferations of some wild-eyed, crazed-looking, backwards, so-called prohibitionist preacher.
More Than 4 Million Americans Admit to Driving While Intoxicated in Past Month
/BY JOIN TOGETHER STAFF
August 11th, 2015
More than 4 million Americans admit they have driven while intoxicated at least once in the past month, a new government study finds. The typical drunk driver is a young male with a history of binge drinking.
About 4.2 million people—close to 2 percent of American adults—admitted to driving drunk in the prior month, HealthDay reports. Alcohol-impaired driving crashes account for about one-third of all U.S. crash deaths in the past two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are an estimated 121 million episodes of drunk driving annually, the CDC noted in its report.
The study found people in the Midwest consistently report higher alcohol-impaired driving rates than those living in other regions. Men ages 21 to 34 accounted for one-third of drunk driving episodes. Overall, men accounted for 80 percent of impaired drivers, the article notes.
The CDC researchers found 4 percent of adults are binge drinkers—men who have five or more drinks on one occasion, or women who have four or more drinks on one occasion. Binge drinkers account for nearly two-thirds of all drunk driving incidents.
People who say they sometimes do not wear a seatbelt were three times more likely to drive drunk, compared with adults who generally buckle up.
The researchers said states and communities can take steps to reduce drunk driving. These include expanding the use of publicized sobriety checkpoints; enforcing breath alcohol laws and minimum legal drinking age laws; and increasing alcohol taxes. The CDC also recommends requiring ignition interlocks, which are breath-test devices connected to a vehicle’s ignition. They require a driver to exhale into the device, and prevent the engine from being started if the analyzed result exceeds a preprogrammed level for anyone convicted of alcohol-impaired driving.
Take the vapors: Londoners buzz over breathable booze
By ASHLEY CHA
Aug. 10, 2015 4:09 PM EDT
LONDON (AP) — Britons are buzzing over a temporary entry in the capital's already saturated drinking scene: breathable booze.
The pop-up bar, Alcoholic Architecture, uses a humidifier to pump a gin and tonic vapor into an enclosed space. Patrons absorb their alcohol from the "Cloud" by breathing in the vapors and by soaking it in through the skin and eyes.
The concept isn't new. Douglass Miller, a beverage expert at the Culinary Institute of America, recalls seeing the idea in action back in 1998.
Descending into a basement on the south bank of the Thames, customers are handed plastic ponchos to prevent the smell from permeating their hair and clothes, then are led into a corner of the bar sheathed in plastic strips.
They walk in. And breathe. Deeply.
"I think the last time I did something like this was where we accidentally spilled lots of vodka into the sauna," said Tom Foreman, 28, who works in marketing.
Sam Bompas, one of the project's designers, says the alcohol "goes straight into the blood stream, bypassing the liver." Patrons are limited to one hour in the Cloud so they don't get too inebriated.
Medical experts don't share his excitement. Dr. William Shanahan, a consultant psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital, which specializes in addictions and mental disorders, called the method "a gimmick."
Alcohol Distributors Ply Statehouses to Keep Profits Flowing
Liz Essley Whyte / Center for Public Integrity
August 6, 2015
Rhinegeist Brewery invested $250,000 in trucks and employees to bring its beers into Kentucky, just a few miles from its fledgling brewery in downtown Cincinnati.
Sales boomed in the “thirsty” Kentucky market, said brewery co-founder Bryant Goulding.
But in March, just three months after the deliveries began, the legislature there voted to make Rhinegeist’s distribution business illegal.
“We were crestfallen, heartbroken, disappointed, really frustrated by the political process,” Goulding said. “We felt like we really didn’t have genuine access or really didn’t get genuine consideration from a lot of the politicians.”
Rhinegeist had run into a little-known but powerful political force at play in nearly every state: alcohol distributors. They don’t brew the beer, and they don’t serve it. But as wholesalers who function as the legally mandated middlemen between alcohol makers and retailers, they have a wide-ranging influence on the booze Americans drink, marking up prices and controlling the growth of craft brewers and small wineries.
Alcohol distribution is a $135 billion industry in the U.S. that has made many rich, including Cindy McCain, head of her family’s beer distributing company and wife of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. To protect the post-Prohibition regulations that guarantee their business, wholesalers bankroll scores of lobbyists and give millions of dollars in contributions in election seasons. And because wholesalers are often local, family-run, American-owned businesses, they are popular with politicians.
“The beer wholesalers are a lot like the teachers unions,” said John Conlin, a Colorado management consultant who works with beverage companies. “The teachers unions have incredible clout, too, and the reason is there are teachers in every congressional district out there… And historically that was the same with beer wholesalers.”
But recently two economic forces have encroached on wholesalers’ power and territory, putting them on defense: big multinational brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, which boasts $47 billion in annual revenue; and the burgeoning craft beer industry that wants more freedom to distribute its own beer, offer tastings in new places or sell to-go containers called growlers.
Spirits producers sponsor Harvard professorship
July 27, 2015
Distilled spirits producers such as Diageo and Bacardi, hiding behind the newly-renamed Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), generated media attention in July for a new $3.3 million endowed chair at Harvard Medical School's Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA).
FAAR is the new iteration of the Century Council, and an arm of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).
The endowment allows spirits producers to ride the coattails of a world-renowned, iconic, Ivy League research brand: Harvard Medical School. And it's not the first or only time Harvard and its Cambridge Health Alliance have joined with the alcohol industry. The Division on Addiction located within CHA has accepted project funding from Big Beer's Heineken as well as spirits producers. Howard Shaffer, the first awardee to this alcohol industry-endowed chair, was a lead investigator on the Heineken and spirits projects.
These funding relationships between alcohol corporations and institutions of higher education, particularly research institutions, are highly problematic and concerning. The relationships allow the alcohol industry to push its "drink responsibly" agenda with increased credibility from association with the Harvard Medical School brand. The "drink responsibly" research agenda places all of the focus and responsibility on individual drinkers to stop drinking the products which are produced and marketed to get them to keep drinking, and drink more of that product. Often research scientists with alcohol industry-endowed salaries or projects sponsored by the industry write op-eds, letters to the editor, commentaries, and articles in scientific journals without acknowledging the source of the research funding or including a statement of their conflict of interest.
If the spirits producers really wanted to "advance alcohol responsibility," they would hold themselves accountable and change their own business practices that make it more likely, and easier, for high-risk drinking and alcohol-related harm to occur. Socially responsible alcohol corporations would stop promoting and funding their own version of public health, while actively opposing the most effective policies available to reduce alcohol-related harm.
As the work from the U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force makes clear, the cost of alcohol-related harm to states and their residents from excessive drinking is both concerning and modifiable. Costs from alcohol-related harm were more than $5.1 billion in 2006 dollars in Massachusetts - home to the new "drink responsibly" industry-endowed chair at Harvard Medical School.
Beer, now with more alcohol
SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2015
By Andrea Kszystyniak / World-Herald staff writer
Around the world, beers are getting bigger and bolder, and some local brewers are riding along with the trend.
Domestic beers such as Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon usually have an alcohol by volume of about 5 percent. But crack open the top of a craft beer, and that baby might have substantially more alcohol.
Market research firm Mintel found that 1 in 4 beers launched globally last year had an alcohol by volume of 6.5 percent or higher. That was up from 1 in 7 in 2012. Alcohol by volume, or ABV, is a measure standardized around the world that indicates how much alcohol is in a beverage.
In Omaha, Lindsey Clements and her husband, Thomas, are planning a new brewery that will feature mostly high-gravity beers, or beers with a high ABV. The Clementses hope to open the brewery, Vis Major, next year.
Head brewer Thomas Clements makes many of his beers between 7 and 9 percent ABV. It’s necessary to brew beers with this amount of alcohol to get the flavor that he wants.
“If you’re going to get a craft beer, you are paying the extra dollar, so I think that you should get a little bit more out of it,” he said.
Though high-alcohol beers are trending up, Omaha has also seen an uptick in session beers, which usually have an alcohol content of less than 5 percent. They’re created so you can drink more than one in a reasonable time period without becoming too tipsy.
An amazing and bold experiment’ at U-Md games: Beer
By Susan Svrluga
July 9, 2015
When football season starts, fans will be able to buy beer at Byrd Stadium during University of Maryland games. The one-year pilot will test whether legal, regulated sales during football and basketball games will cut down on binge drinking — with some fans aggressively pre-gaming with shots and mixed drinks — or lead to more rowdiness.
Students suggested it, researched it, pitched it and sold it, with the student government convincing task forces, councils and the university president that providing and controlling alcohol could ease a problem rather than worsen it.
University President Wallace D. Loh called the pilot “an amazing and bold experiment” in presenting it to the Prince George’s County Board of Commissioners Wednesday night; their approval was the final hurdle.
There are reasons to be particularly concerned about drinking on game days, said Patrick Ronk, the student government president and a rising senior at U-Md.
Cottage Grove teen lobbies for those with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
By Emily Buss on Jul 15, 2015 at 8:00 a.m.
Recent high school graduate Gary Riege is a science and math whiz. He’s also a Star Wars fanatic, avid computer science techie and Advanced Placement student. He’s soft spoken, but he has big ideas, especially when it comes to bringing awareness to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and the need for more educational opportunities.
“I found out when I was really, really young,” Riege, 18, said about his diagnosis. “I always knew I had that.”
Riege and several others with FASD took to the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol earlier this year and spoke with their local legislators to ask for education changes that allow students on the fetal alcohol spectrum the same opportunities as other students.
Adopted at age 2, Riege’s parents, Christine and Dave, fostered his desire to learn.
“From a very early age they had me watching Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel, which got me interested in how the world works from a scientific perspective,” he said. “When you find out how some of it actually works, you only want to know more.”
Alcohol misuse major threat
By The Herald Editorial Board
July 10, 2015
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration this week confirmed what states have been reporting for years: That the rate of heroin use in the U.S. has climbed 63 percent in the past decade; and the rate of heroin abuse or dependence climbed 90 percent over the same period. Deaths caused by heroin overdoses nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013, claiming 8,257 lives in 2013, the agencies reported. The study also confirms what states, such as Washington, discovered quite a few years ago — that there is a “particularly strong” relationship between initial use of opioid painkillers and later heroin use.
Studies like the one from the CDC make for big headlines, and heroin use is indeed news, but such single-minded focus on one drug gives the wrong impression about what substance really causes the most problems in society. It's not heroin. But reports on alcohol generate very little buzz or big headlines, apparently because it's legal. But it's not for lack of scientific evidence and studies.
Public Divided On Heart Benefits From Alcohol Consumption
Using Health eHeart Study, UCSF Researchers Find Those Believing Alcohol As “Heart Healthy” Drink Much More Than Counterparts
By Scott Maier on June 16, 2015
In one of the first published studies using data from the Health eHeart Study, UCSF researchers have found that people are divided on the cardiovascular benefits of alcohol consumption. And, those who do perceive alcohol as “heart healthy” drink substantially more than their counterparts.
The study is in the Aug. 15 issue of American Journal of Cardiology.
“While we often hear about alcohol’s effects, this is the first assessment to address how the public might use that information,” said senior author Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, director of clinical research in the UCSF Division of Cardiology.
Alcohol is the most commonly consumed U.S drug, according to the study researchers. While the harms of alcohol abuse related to physical and mental health have been established, there is debate regarding the cardiovascular health effects of moderate consumption. The researchers note that while few, if any, rigorous controlled trials have been conducted to determine alcohol’s potential heart benefits, the media frequently portray alcohol as “heart healthy.”
To determine people’s perceptions of the cardiovascular benefits of alcohol, the source of those perceptions and how perceptions may influence behavior, Marcus and his colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data collected from participants enrolled in the Health eHeart Study between March 8, 2013, and Sept. 29, 2014.
Baby's First Poop Shows If Mom Drank Alcohol
A new study of meconium—baby's first poop—helps doctors determine fetal alcohol exposure earlier than ever before, and draws connections to cognitive problems later.
by Whitney C. Harris
Most OB-GYNs will tell their patients that alcohol use during pregnancy is a very bad idea. Yet, experts estimate that around 2-5% of school-age children suffer developmental disabilities as a result of fetal alcohol exposure—and that number jumps to 17% for those in the child welfare system.
Now, new research out of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University indicates that the very first stool a baby produces can actually indicate whether the mother was drinking alcohol while pregnant, which is associated with cognitive issues in offspring. In fact, elevated levels of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) in meconium (that first, precious poop) are indicative of maternal alcohol consumption, and can give doctors the information they need to determine whether the newborn is at a greater risk for cognitive problems.
Here's why wine in grocery stores isn't liquor reform
By David Ozgo
As the liquor-privatization debate ramps up in Pennsylvania, it is disappointing to hear Gov. Tom Wolf propose a "half-way" approach to modernization that would put wine in grocery stores, while leaving distilled spirits as the sole product sold in state stores.
The distilled spirits industry has maintained throughout the discussions on privatization that wine-only plans are bad for consumers and for the state.
If the people of Pennsylvania decide to privatize, the new legal framework governing the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol should result in an efficient marketplace that is consumer friendly.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) currently derives nearly 44 percent of total sales from wine.
So the proposal to take wine out of state stores will reduce revenues by 44 percent, but will leave the fundamental problem – operating costs – at an incredibly high level.
Trucks would still have to deliver spirits to stores, stores will have to be rented and employees will still be needed to staff those stores.
Even if we assume that transportation and warehousing costs could be reduced proportionally with sales and store operating costs by 20-25 percent, both generous assumptions, the PLCB would be looking at annual reduction in operating income between $140 and $180 million.
Clearly under such conditions, the PLCB could no longer make its annual $80 million transfer to the general fund – and may in fact need operating subsidies.
21st Birthday Drinking a Serious Health Hazard
Custom Prevalent Among College Students
By Buddy T
Updated May 22, 2015.
A prevalent custom among college students to drink heavily on the day that they turn 21 years of age poses a serious health hazard, according to a study of 2,518 current and former college students.
In a published study called, ""21st Birthday Drinking: Extremely Extreme," Patricia C. Rutledge, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri - Columbia, and her colleagues analyzed the results of an online survey of college students who had already turned 21 years old.
The study is believed to be the first to confirm the growing custom known as "21 for 21," the practice of having 21 drinks when someone turns 21 years old, the legal drinking age in the United States.
83 Percent Drank on Their 21st Birthday
The results of their survey included:
83% of the students reported drinking on their 21st birthday.
34% of men reported consuming 21 drinks or more.
24% of women consumed 21 drinks or more.
The maximum number of drinks for women was 30.
The maximum number of drinks for men was 50.
Tips for Parents About Middle School Drinkers
Don't Wait Until There Is a Crisis
By Buddy T
Updated May 22, 2015.
Children who begin drinking while they are in middle school or earlier usually have a wide variety of problems that last well into their adulthood. What can parents do to prevent early onset drinking?
Almost 20% of 14-year-olds say they've been drunk at least once, according to a U.S. Surgeon General report, and one-fourth of 8th graders have reported being drunk, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey.
Another study, by RAND Health, found that three-quarters of 7th graders had used alcohol.
A Signal of Other Problems
Early onset drinking is a signal that the child will likely develop other problems in young adulthood, including employment problems, abuse of other drugs, and committing criminal and violent acts before age 23.
Other studies have found that children who begin drinking prior to age 15 have a much greater chance of developing serious substance abuse problems in adulthood.
In light of these statistics, members of The Science Inside Alcohol Project at American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have developed five suggested steps parents can take to talk with their kids about alcohol.
Your booze could soon get cheaper hypothetically, at least.
By Hutner Schwarz
May 26, 2015
A bill was introduced Tuesday that would lower taxes on distilled spirits things like gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey which are taxed at a higher rate than wine and beer. The bipartisan bill (the "Distillery Innovation and Excise Tax Reform Act") was introduced by Rep. Todd Young (RInd.) and cosponsored by Rep. John Yarmuth (DKy.).
There's a big gap in how much different types of alcohol are taxed by the federal government. Distilled spirits are taxed at $13.50 per proof gallon (a.k.a. for the actual alcohol, not the rest of the drink), which is about 21 cents per ounce of alcohol. It's more than double that of beer, which is taxed at about 10 cents per ounce of alcohol, and wine, taxed at about 8 cents per ounce of alcohol, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The bill would drop the federal tax on spirits significantly, from its current $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 gallons and $9 after that which could end up saving you a buck or two.
Extended Bar Hours: Dangers for States, Cities, & Communities
this fact sheet from Alcohol Justice.
Raising a foster child damaged by alcohol
May 18, 2015
LOS ANGELES TIMES
In three weeks, Kathryn White's son Chris will turn 18. There will be a little birthday celebration — and a hint of desperation.
The milestone officially makes Chris an adult, and that will make it hard for his parents to find the shelter and counseling he needs.
Kathryn and her husband, Shaun, took in Chris and his younger brother as foster children when the boys were 5 and 3, and adopted them a few years later. Their mother was an addict, and both children were born with fetal alcohol syndrome — which damages the brain in utero, causing stunted growth, mental deficits and behavior problems. White read up on it but wasn't too worried: "It seemed like if they had proper schools and proper support, this was something they could overcome."
But the deck had been stacked against Chris, who would eventually be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Living with the Whites, he attended a school for children with disabilities and took medication to manage his illnesses. "Things were great for two years," White recalled. "Then puberty hit."
Lawsuit claims arsenic levels 'unsafe' in low-cost wines
USA TODAY NETWORK
Kassandra Lau, KING-TV
March 20, 2015
A class action lawsuit claims dozens of California wineries produced wine with dangerously high levels of arsenic.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in California Superior Court. It claims the 28 wineries knowingly violated California law by producing wine contaminated with arsenic and failing to inform consumers about the potential dangers.
Testing was done at BeverageGrades in Denver. The lab tested 1,306 different types of wine and found 83 showed dangerously elevated levels of inorganic arsenic. Two additional labs confirmed the results. BeverageGrades listed the wines with the lowest levels of arsenic on its website. According to the lawsuit, some wines contained arsenic levels that exceeded the safe daily intake limit by 500%.
Maine must tackle senior substance abuse in concerted fashion, panel says
Experts say that alcohol and drug use among seniors can lead to financial abuse, making for unique challenges in a rapidly aging state.
BY MICHAEL SHEPHERD STAFF WRITER
March 26, 2015
AUGUSTA — A few years ago, a retired couple in Waldo County hired a handyman to make some house repairs. Within a few weeks, the handyman, a sex offender, and his girlfriend were living in the back room.
One day, the handyman took the husband, a heavy drinker, on a fishing trip. They drank. By day’s end, the two ended up in the town office, where the drunk husband signed a deed giving control of their modest home to the handyman. A clerk notarized it. After the husband and wife complained, the handyman evicted them.
That’s when Legal Services for the Elderly was called. The couple got the house back, but only after a legal fight. A panel of experts at the Maine Hospital Association’s office on Thursday said that this sort of case isn’t uncommon. It’s a peripheral issue surrounding substance abuse among seniors in Maine, and panelists said the nation’s oldest state by median age must tackle it in a concerted fashion.
Why your glass of wine costs so much - or does it?
March 19 2015
Few people dining at posh River North or West Randolph Street restaurants would raise an eyebrow at a craft cocktail costing $14 or a $10 bottle of craft beer. Yet when presented with a $17 glass of wine one may wonder, “Why are restaurants marking wine up so much?”
The answer may surprise you. Looking at the real cost of a glass of wine, a cocktail or a beer gives the true picture of markups.
Hammered And Heedless: Do Dangerous Drinking Videos Harm Teens?
FEBRUARY 21, 2015
Type "drunk," "hammered," or "trashed" into YouTube's search bar and some pretty unsavory videos are likely to turn up.
And that can't be good for teenagers and young adults, researchers say. User-generated YouTube videos portraying dangerous drinking get hundreds of millions of views online, according a study published Friday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
These videos often present wild bingeing in a humorous light, the study found, without showing any of the negative consequences, like potentially fatal alcohol poisoning and accidents caused by drunk driving.
The researchers didn't reveal which videos they looked at, to avoid singling out particular YouTube users.
Our own unscientific search turned up many videos under the words "drunk fails," with people who are publicly intoxicated or completely passed out, as well as sleazier stuff like Best Drunk Girls Compilation, Part 1.
There's been lots of research on paid-for alcohol advertisements and product placement on TV shows, in the movies and in music, says Dr. Brian Primack, an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh and the study's lead author. "But we haven't really looked at YouTube before," he tells Shots.
With powdered alcohol now legal, will campuses say bottoms up or no shot?
By Rachel Rosenbaum, Emory University
March 17, 2015
First there was the Cronut. Then came the Lime-A-Rita. And now, Palcohol is giving it a shot in the alcohol industry. Literally.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved a new product on Wednesday called Palcohol, a powdered alcohol substance made by the Lipsmark company. Several states are already debating the legality of this product, prompting many students to wonder how this new form of alcohol consumption will impact college campuses.
According to the company’s website, the product won’t be sold to the public until the summer. But safety concerns have lead multiple states – including South Carolina, Louisiana and Vermont — to ban the product preemptively, while others – such as Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts — have proposed obstructive legislation.
Alex Kletz, an Emory University senior and resident adviser of a freshman dorm, says the product raises many safety concerns.
“I worry students won’t know how to use it just because it is so new,” Kletz says. “And once they try to use it, I feel like it could go wrong.”
This delivery service brings craft cocktails to your doorstep
By ALLY MAROTTI
March 06, 2015
Cocktail Courier is betting that Chicagoans want craft cocktails delivered to their door.
After all, says Scott Goldman, co-founder of the New York City-based cocktail delivery service, many are willing to fork out $12 or $13 for a finely crafted cocktail at least once a week at local bars and restaurants.
“Chicagoans really appreciate not only good food but good cocktails in this town, and there are so many talented bartenders in Chicago,” he said. “Also, the consumer likes to throw house parties, and there is definitely more square footage than in New York City.”
Goldman founded Cocktail Courier in New York City in November with his brothers, Curt and Ryan. The service began Chicago deliveries last week.
Customers choose from a cocktail list featuring recipes from local bartenders and place orders online. If an order is placed by 9 p.m., customers can receive a box of cocktail ingredients the next day, complete with instructions for preparing the drinks.
“In the liquor industry, I would say we've done a great job educating the consumer on brands and on liquor categories. You see these big billboard ads,” he said. “(But) we haven't educated the consumer on what you do with those liquor bottles once you pick them up from the store and bring them home.”
Cocktails run $6.99 to $9.99 per drink, and orders include ingredients for multiple drinks, depending on the recipe. The bartender's tip, taxes and delivery are included in the price. Cocktail Courier only delivers to neighborhoods surrounding downtown Chicago on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, but Goldman said that footprint is set to expand in a couple of weeks.
WVU Student Who Died in Fraternity Pledging Had Blood Alcohol Six Times Legal Limit
Jan 27, 2015, 10:45 PM ET
By DEAN SCHABNER
A West Virginia University student who died during a fraternity pledge event had a blood-alcohol level of more than six times the legal limit, well above what health officials consider lethal, police said today.
Nolan Burch, 18, of Williamsville, N.Y., died Nov. 14, after suffering a "catastrophic medical emergency" during a pledging ceremony at Kappa Sigma fraternity, police said.
Burch and 19 other fraternity pledges were taking part in an initiation function known as "Big-Little," Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said in a statement released today.
Burch and the others were taken to a room in the fraternity where they were blindfolded and then taken to another house where they were presented to the "Big," a senior member or alumnus of Kappa Sigma, and given a bottle of liquor, Preston said.
After he drank a large quantity of alcohol, Burch was taken back to the fraternity house, where he was so intoxicated he was laid on a table, the police chief said.
Later that night, a fraternity member noticed that Burch's face was blue and tried to wake him, but it was found that he had no pulse, Preston said.
Majority of public unaware of alcohol's link with cancer
7 January 2015
More than half of the British public are unaware of the link between alcohol consumption and cancer, according to a survey from the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA)
"Alcohol has long been a scientifically established cause of cancer." - Sarah Williams, Cancer Research UK
The UK- wide poll found that just 47 per cent of people were aware of any connection between alcohol and the disease.
But an overwhelming majority (83 per cent) would back further nutritional and health information on alcohol labelling.
Sarah Williams, Cancer Research UK’s senior health information officer, said: “Alcohol has long been a scientifically established cause of cancer, but there is surprisingly low awareness among the public of this link.
“And it isn't just a risk for heavy drinkers; regularly drinking alcohol puts you at greater risk of seven different types of cancer, including breast and mouth cancer”
Alcohol is currently exempt from the EU legislation (link is external) that makes it mandatory for food products and soft drinks to carry nutritional value information, despite alcohol being classed as a group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organisation (link is external).
The AHA's chair, Sir Ian Gilmore, says the lack of health information on many alcoholic products is "indefensible".
“It’s not right that labelling is mandatory for a box of corn flakes but not for alcoholic products which can seriously harm health,” he said.
Koch Bros' American Future Fund Supports Stalled PA Privatization Effort
January 10, 2015
Charles and David Koch's American Future Fund (AFF) recently announced a 2015 statewide media and advocacy blitz with 3 priority areas, one of which is privatizing liquor sales in Pennsylvania. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, the AFF is a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization that is supposed to spend resources for social welfare purposes. However, the AFF plans to strong-arm passage of retail liquor sales privatization and put the health of Pennsylvanians at risk, courtesy of the Koch Brothers' influence, money, and power. Never mind the fact that state lawmakers and citizens have rejected privatization year after year.
Privatization efforts in Pennsylvania have not succeeded for decades, despite election promises and incumbent threats, for good reason. State-controlled alcohol systems make sense on many levels. They bring much-needed funds to state coffers, and they help reduce consumption and harmful consequences. Based on analysis and findings from the U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against privatization, which has a negative impact on public health. Increased consumption resulting from privatization results in increased alcohol-related harm and economic costs - to government, private businesses, and families.
Privatization proponents say the sale of the state's liquor stores will bring a boon to the economy, but any initial economic boon will soon be outpaced by the increasing costs of related harm, along with losses in state alcohol sales revenues. Any economic benefit will be seen by Big Alcohol and the Koch Brothers, while the public pays the price.
Pennsylvania has admirably withstood the onslaught of pro-privatization campaigns and influence over the years, but the Koch Bros. and Big Alcohol only need to win once for long-lasting harm to commence in Pennsylvania. States that privatize are very unlikely to reinstate monopolies on alcohol sales.
Alcohol Poisoning Kills 6 Americans a Day, a Federal Report Finds
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
JANUARY 6, 2015
Six Americans die from alcohol poisoning daily on average, and mortality rates are highest among middle-aged men, federal health authorities reported on Tuesday.
The report is the first in a decade by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to tally alcohol poisonings for the entire American population. Most previous analyses looked at certain groups, in particular young people.
The agency found that an average of 2,221 people died of alcohol poisoning annually between 2010 and 2012. Three-quarters of the deaths occurred among 35- to 64-year-olds, the report found, and about three-quarters were men. The death rate was highest among men ages 45 to 54.
“Most previous studies have looked at college kids and young people, but the problem is bigger than that,” said Dr. Robert Brewer, who heads the alcohol program at the C.D.C. “It was surprising that the number of deaths was so concentrated among middle-age adults.”
The C.D.C. described death from alcohol poisoning as “a bigger problem than previously thought,” but said it was impossible to tell whether the death rate had risen because researchers had changed how they track the data in recent years.
A Dangerous Trend: The Move Away from Abstinence Based Addiction Treatment
By RICHARD TAITE
A Dangerous Trend: The Move Away from Abstinence Based Addiction Treatment
The face of addiction treatment is changing, and not for the better.
Betty Ford and Hazelden have long been beacons of hope in the addiction treatment community, two well-known and respected centers that used 12-step treatment and abstinence based recovery to help thousands of people recover from addiction for decades.
The Betty Ford Center and the Hazelden Foundation announced in 2013 that they were pursuing a “formal alliance” to become the nation’s largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider. Mainstream media outlets noticed the story but in general, the news did not gain the public’s attention. On the surface, why should it? However, to those of us who owe our lives to abstinence-based addiction recovery, the news was shocking.
Hazelden and now Betty Ford, may be minimizing or eliminating their emphasis on abstinence-based addiction recovery. In an abstinence-based recovery model, addicts are considered sober if they refrain from using mind-altering substances on a recreational basis. Some minor exceptions are made for painkillers for a short term, such as after a major surgery, but for the most part, addicts are suggested to live a life not taking substances for non-medical purposes or that affect them from “the neck up.”
Instead of an abstinence model, Betty Ford and Hazelden are embracing what is known as a harm-reduction form of treatment using pharmaceutical interventions. These medical based treatments use pharmaceuticals like methadone or Suboxone, and other drugs, to limit the “harm” or negative consequences of substance abuse, attempting to keep the individual using a pharmaceutical in smaller amounts than their drug of choice, less often, and staying addicted to the pharmaceutical substitute, but using enough of a substitute not to get dope sick. This is an “evidence-based” treatment, and one that pharmaceutical companies are pushing as they stand to make millions of dollars from the sale of harm-reduction pharmaceutical products.
Alcohol warnings from parents matter
When it comes to adolescents and drinking, the message that parents send matters, says UB psychologist Craig Colder.
By Bert Gambini
Release Date: January 8, 2015
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Parenting practices and restrictions when it comes to alcohol use can make a difference with adolescent drinking, and there is considerable value to consistent and sustained parental attitudes about drinking, according to new research by a University at Buffalo psychologist.
This study, however, shows that those same parents who communicate the risks of alcohol use with their young children are often less likely to continue those discussions as their kids get older, a result suggesting that parents shouldn’t underestimate the impact of maintaining that messaging as their children move through adolescence, according to Craig Colder.
His study, “A latent growth curve analysis of alcohol-use specific parenting and adolescent alcohol use,” was published in the December issue of Addictive Behaviors.
Colder says a parent’s attitude affects a kid’s attitude, and subsequently drinking in general.
“What our data are suggesting is that you can’t control all of your kids’ decisions, but you can help them to make good choices in situations where alcohol is available,” said Colder. “You want kids to think about and reflect upon the pros and cons of drinking based on your previous discussions.”
Most of the literature on adolescent alcohol use has been driven by the kinds of attitudes that predict drinking, but little work has been done on how these attitudes form. That was the genesis for this project, according to Colder. “We wanted to understand how kids’ attitudes develop.”
Though evidence shows that restrictive household rules against alcohol use discourage children from drinking, parents tend to shift those rules over time, along with the attitudes they project to their kids about drinking. The rules slacken as children get older; the consequences of breaking those rules become less severe; and parents spend less time with their kids discussing alcohol use and its associated dangers.
“We found a correlation between the shifting of those three aspects of parenting and increases in alcohol use,” said Colder. “The more rapid those declines, the more rapid the increase in the onset of alcohol use.”
The study used three annual assessments of parents and the target adolescent. For the first assessment, subjects were 10- or 11-years-old, an age before most kids initiate drinking. Researchers asked questions about drinking and the family environment. One year later, the subjects were interviewed again, and then interviewed a third time after another year had passed.
“The research is correlational in nature, which has implications for how we can interpret causality. We’re not manipulating parenting in an experimental way. We’re looking at what’s happening in the naturalistic environment. It’s called a passive correlation design,” said Colder. “We’re just observing two things that happen over time and determining if they’re related to each other And these two things are related."
The NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded this study, is funding another round of research, already underway, that will allow Colder to follow the subjects for an additional three years. The successive studies will combine data obtained before the subjects started drinking and through their early phases of experimental drinking, with the data to be gathered in the follow-up study, where alcohol use can escalate to problem drinking in the late adolescent, young adult years.
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Before Drinking on New Year's Eve, Young Adults Should Read this Study:
Binge Drinking Disrupts Immune System in Young Adults, Study Finds
26-Dec-2014 10:00 AM EST
Loyola University Health System
Newswise — MAYWOOD, Il. – Binge drinking in young, healthy adults significantly disrupts the immune system, according to a study led by a researcher now at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Depending on their weight, study participants drank four or five shots of vodka. Twenty minutes after reaching peak intoxication, their immune systems revved up. But when measured again, at two hours and five hours after peak intoxication, their immune systems had become less active than when sober.
The study by Majid Afshar, MD, MSCR, and colleagues is published online ahead of print in Alcohol, an international, peer-reviewed journal.
Along with pizza and subs you can have beer delivered to your front door in Pennsylvania
By Sue Gleiter
December 22, 2014
Coming soon to your front door – beer delivery.
Along with pizza and subs, you will soon be able to order a six-pack or growler of your favorite beer.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board recently issued an advisory opinion saying that's it's legal for retail establishments that already sell beer – pizza shops, taverns and grocery stores – to deliver up to 192 fluid ounces of malt beverages or brewed beer. That is the equivalent of about two six-packs of beer.
No new laws were created to allow for beer delivery. The opinion simply clarifies the current law, said Stacy Kriedeman, spokeswoman for the LCB.
The establishments have to apply for a transporter for hire license which allow them to deliver malt beverages and beer to customers 21 years and older. The licenses cost close to $1,000.
States With More Traffic Stops and DUI Arrests Have Fewer Drunk Drivers
By Join Together Staff
December 17, 2014
States that have a greater number of random traffic stops and a higher number of DUI arrests have a lower rate of drunk driving, a new study concludes.
The study looked at almost 6,900 weekend nighttime drivers in 30 communities who were stopped and screened for blood alcohol levels.
“Hardly any new laws are being passed regarding drinking and driving,” said study lead author James Fell, a senior research scientist with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Calverton, Maryland. “So we think the best strategy for making progress on reducing impaired driving could be better enforcement of the laws we already have.”
The study is published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
“The public notices police cars on the side of the road issuing citations or arresting drivers for DUI,” Fell said in a news release. “That serves as a general deterrent and increases their perceived risk of being caught driving impaired.”
Not the Usual College Party (This One’s Sober)
By JENNIFER CONLIN
FEBRUARY 27, 2015
It started with a wine cooler, said Paige Cederna, describing that first sweet, easy-to-down drink she experienced as a “magic elixir.”
“I had no inhibitions with alcohol,” said Ms. Cederna, 24. “I could talk to guys and not worry about anyone judging me. I remember being really proud the day I learned to chug a beer. I couldn’t get that feeling fast enough.” But before long, to get over “that feeling,” she was taking Adderall to get through the days.
But it was now more than three years since she drank her last drop of alcohol and used a drug for nonmedical reasons. Her “sober date,” she told the group, many nodding their heads encouragingly, was July 8, 2011.
Ms. Cederna’s story of addiction and recovery, told in a clear, strong voice, was not being shared at a 12-step meeting or in a treatment center. Instead, it was presented on a cool autumn day, in a classroom on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to a group of 30 undergraduate students in their teens and early 20s.
Recovery High Schools Help Save Young Lives
By Yvonne Abraham
FEBRUARY 08, 2015
It’s hard enough to pull away from addiction when you’re an adult. How do you do it as an adolescent — when you’re not yet fully formed, and your friends are everything?
Brendan Griffin found an answer to that puzzle. It came hard. It means everything.
Sitting in an office at his school on a recent morning, he recounted his steep descent, and his slow climb back. He was 14 when he started using. An athlete from a loving, supportive family, he began with marijuana, then took up alcohol and prescription pills.
“I was drinking in the shower every morning,” he said. “I cut off everyone in my life. My goal was to get high, to get out of myself.”
He knew the pain he was causing, withdrawing from the people who loved him, eventually stealing from them, too. But he saw no other way to get through the days.
“When I could stop, I didn’t want to,” he said. “And when I wanted to stop it was too late, and I couldn’t.”
When he hit bottom, his parents sent him to a wilderness rehab program in Utah. He's now 14 months clean.
NHTSA Releases Two New Studies on Impaired Driving on U.S. Roads
Friday, February 6, 2015
Contact: Gordon Trowbridge, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov
Drunk driving declines, while drug use behind the wheel rises
WASHINGTON – The nation’s decades-long campaign to combat drunk driving continues to make our roads safer, but use of marijuana and prescription drugs is increasingly prominent on the highways, creating new safety questions, according to a pair of ground-breaking studies released today by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
One study, the latest version of NHTSA’s Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers, found that the number of drivers with alcohol in their system has declined by nearly one-third since 2007, and by more than three-quarters since the first Roadside Survey in 1973. But that same survey found a large increase in the number of drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs. In the 2014 survey, nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect safety.
“America made drunk driving a national issue and while there is no victory as long as a single American dies in an alcohol-related crash, a one-third reduction in alcohol use over just seven years shows how a focused effort and cooperation among the federal government, states and communities, law enforcement, safety advocates and industry can make an enormous difference,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “At the same time, the latest Roadside Survey raises significant questions about drug use and highway safety. The rising prevalence of marijuana and other drugs is a challenge to everyone who is dedicated to saving lives and reducing crashes.”
The National Roadside Survey, conducted five times over the last 40 years, is a completely voluntary, anonymous survey that gathers data in dozens of locations across the country from drivers who agree to participate. Drivers are alerted by multiple roadside signs that a voluntary survey site is ahead, and researchers gather data from those who volunteer. Drivers are notified that the survey is completely voluntary and that collected information is entirely anonymous. NHTSA has worked with research experts, law enforcement agencies and privacy advocates to refine procedures and address any potential concerns.
The latest edition of the survey shows that the prevalence of alcohol use by drivers continues to drop. About 8 percent of drivers during weekend nighttime hours were found to have alcohol in their system, and just over 1 percent were found with 0.08 percent or higher breath alcohol content – the legal limit in every state. This is down by about 30 percent from the previous survey in 2007 and down 80 percent from the first survey in 1973.
But even as drinking and driving continues to fall, use of illegal drugs or medicines that can affect road safety is climbing. The number of weekend nighttime drivers with evidence of drugs in their system climbed from 16.3 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2014. The number of drivers with marijuana in their system grew by nearly 50 percent.
A second survey, the largest of its kind ever conducted, assessed whether marijuana use by drivers is associated with greater risk of crashes. The survey found that marijuana users are more likely to be involved in accidents, but that the increased risk may be due in part because marijuana users are more likely to be in groups at higher risk of crashes. In particular, marijuana users are more likely to be young men – a group already at high risk.
This was the most precisely controlled study of its kind yet conducted, but it measured the risk associated with marijuana at the levels found among drivers in a large community. Other studies using driving simulators and test tracks have found that marijuana at sufficient dosage levels will affect driver risk.
“Drivers should never get behind the wheel impaired, and we know that marijuana impairs judgment, reaction times and awareness,” said Jeff Michael, NHTSA’s associate administrator for research and program development. “These findings highlight the importance of research to better understand how marijuana use affects drivers so states and communities can craft the best safety policies.”
The study, conducted in Virginia Beach, Va., gathered data over a 20-month period from more than 3,000 drivers who were involved in crashes, as well as a comparison group of 6,000 drivers who did not crash. The study found that drivers who had been drinking above the 0.08 percent legal limit had about 4 times the risk of crashing as sober drivers and those with blood alcohol levels at 0.15 percent or higher had 12 times the risk.
NHTSA plans a series of additional studies to further understand the risk of drugged driving, including the Washington State Roadside Survey, which will assess risk in a state where marijuana has recently been legalized, and a simulator study with the National Institute on Drug Abuse to assess how drivers under the influence of drugs behave behind the wheel.
“Researchers have developed a deep body of knowledge about the link between drinking, driving and risk. We know drunk driving kills,” Rosekind said. “The combined message of these two surveys is that our work to understand and combat drunk driving is paying off, but that we have much to learn about how illegal drugs and prescription medicines affect highway safety – and that developing that knowledge is urgent, because more and more drivers have these drugs in their systems.”
Alcohol redefined as 'weapon' in sexual assault cases by prosecutors, military officials
By Tom Roeder
The alcohol - rum, vodka, wine and hard cider - listed in the latest allegation of sexual assault between Air Force Academy cadets is being viewed in a new way by the military and civilian prosecutors.
Alcohol for years has been seen as a contributing factor in rapes, and it is thought to play a role in nearly half of the almost 6,000 sexual assaults reported across the Defense Department last year. But the role alcohol plays has been succinctly redefined.
"It's a weapon," said Katharina Booth, chief trial deputy and chief of the Boulder District Attorney's Office sexual assault unit.
Booth said the change comes from the realization that perpetrators are more likely to use alcohol to subdue their sexual assault victims than guns, threats and fists.
Alcohol's ties to sexual assault came into focus again in January with the arrest of Air Force Academy junior cadet Daniel Ryerson. He's charged in state court with sexually assaulting an inebriated female classmate after a night of party-hopping in Boulder on Nov. 1. Ryerson, 21, who police say is linked to the case by DNA evidence, is due in court this month.
In a December Pentagon report, the military calls alcohol a weapon in its latest sexual assault prevention guidance for commanders, echoing a statement made by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in May.
Hagel ordered a review of alcohol policies in a bid to quell sexual assaults.
Dartmouth Banning Hard Alcohol From Campus
Elite College Joins Other Schools in Responding to Party Culture
By DOUGLAS BELKIN
Updated Jan. 29, 2015
Dartmouth College is banning hard alcohol from its campus and putting its notoriously rowdy fraternities on notice that they need to reform or disband, in the latest move by an elite school to crack down on a party culture that has been closely tied to sexual assault.
Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon on Thursday delivered a speech to faculty and students in which he laid out his plan to deal with a rising tide of complaints that have tarnished the reputation of the New Hampshire school, which has 4,289 undergraduates and weighed on new applications at a time when most Ivy League schools are soaring in popularity.
“There are high stakes for Dartmouth,” Mr. Hanlon said in an interview Tuesday. “This is a small, intimate place—so when a student harms another student or themselves, it really tears this place apart.”
Casey Dennis, a senior and the student body president, said even though hard alcohol is a problem on campus, especially among freshmen in the dorms, he was a little concerned about how the ban would be implemented because “hard alcohol is usually kept in private places.”
Earlier this month, Brown University banned booze in fraternities and announced plans for a comprehensive review of its alcohol policy this spring as part of the school’s “intensified efforts to prevent and address sexual assault.”
The University of Virginia this month restricted hard alcohol at fraternity parties following a Rolling Stone article about a gang rape at a fraternity party. The article later was discredited.
And at the start of this academic year Swarthmore College banned hard alcohol from campus events, as well as drinking games and drinking paraphernalia in an effort to create “a comfortable and coercion-free atmosphere,” according to the school.
Nationally, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries and 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Study Links ADHD and Conduct Disorder With Increased Alcohol and Tobacco Use in Young Teens
Released: 15-Dec-2014 3:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Newswise — A new study links ADHD and conduct disorder in young adolescents with increased alcohol and tobacco use. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study is among the first to assess such an association in this age group.
Conduct disorder is a behavioral and emotional disorder marked by aggressive, destructive or deceitful behavior.
The study is published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
“Early onset of substance abuse is a significant public health concern,” says William Brinkman, MD, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the study’s lead author. “Adolescents who use substances before the mid-teen years are more likely to develop dependence on them than those who start later. This is why prevention is so important.”
Alcohol-control law may curb partner abuse
PISCATAWAY, NJ - Communities with fewer places to buy or drink alcohol also tend to have lower rates of intimate partner violence, new evidence suggests.
The research, published in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, suggests that laws limiting what is called "alcohol outlet density" could offer one way to address violence within intimate relationships.
States and communities throughout the United States have enacted various laws to reduce excessive use of alcohol, including limiting outlet density, limiting hours and days of sale, and managing the pricing and taxation of alcoholic beverages. At the same time, studies have shown that alcohol is often a risk factor in incidents of partner violence. Thus, policies aimed at reducing excessive alcohol use may also have a beneficial effect on partner violence.
Because there are a number of reasons why an alcohol policy may not have the desired effect or could have unintended consequences, evaluation is necessary, according to Dennis Reidy, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
So Reidy and his CDC colleagues dug into the scientific literature to look for studies on the relationship between alcohol policies and partner violence. The 16 studies they identified looked at the effects of alcohol outlet density, hours and days of sale, and pricing/taxation of alcoholic beverages.
On reviewing these studies, the investigators found that only one of those factors was consistently linked to rates of intimate partner violence: alcohol outlet density. (This is generally calculated as the number of on-premise establishments, such as bars and restaurants, and off-premise alcohol retailers, including liquor, grocery, and convenience stores, divided by square mile or number of people living in a given area.)
VODKA BRAND THAT ENCOURAGES GAMBLING GETS APPROVAL
11th December, 2014 by Becky Paskin
Jackpot Vodka, which is already on sale in Nevada and Arizona, features a redemption code on the cap that when registered online gives the purchaser at least US$25 in resort credit to spend at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
Brand founder Mark Florito claims Jackpot Vodka is the first spirit in the US to offer a gambling redemption code for a Las Vegas casino.
The brand’s Twitter page describes the brand as “our distilled spirit that will make you always a winner!!!”
New Prevalence Data on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
The November 2014 issue of Pediatrics features an article that has important implications for those who provide services related to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). A research team headed up by Philip A. May, Ph.D., has found rates of FASD among school children that are significantly higher than previous estimates.
The SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence has provided a summary of the findings from this study, which examined first graders in a typical Midwestern city. In 2009, Dr. May and his colleagues suggested that the overall prevalence of FASD in the general population was approximately 1 percent. If the new data are suggestive of changes in the overall FASD case rates, prevalence may be closer to 4 percent.
Click here to read the abstract.
Stopping the flow of alcohol on campus
By Editorial Board December 3
ON NOV. 22, the University of Virginia hosted its last home football game of the season or, as it has come to be known, “the fourth-year fifth.” It is a reference to the long-standing practice of seniors consuming a fifth of liquor by the game’s kickoff. The game was played on the same weekend that an explosive article about an alleged rape roiled the Charlottesville campus — a fitting coincidence that underscored the troubling nexus between alcohol abuse and sexual assault.
The scrutiny now focused on U-Va. and how it deals with sexual assaults should force it — as well as other universities — to give new attention to the equally pernicious problem of college drinking.
Signs of Alcohol Dependence
POSTED ON NOVEMBER 17, 2014 BY KATE ESPOSITO
An alcohol dependent person isn’t someone who simply likes drinking – a lot. It’s someone whose body and brain have adapted to believe alcohol is needed for survival, just like food and water. This can happen fairly quickly, but normally occurs gradually over time, exhibiting itself in a number of telltale signs of alcohol dependence.
One of the easiest ways to detect dependency is when a hangover is no longer just a sick, headachey feeling and a wish to lay on the couch all day. While the typical hangover is due to dehydration and lack of nutrients, this new one is full-on alcohol withdrawal. When alcohol dependents sober up after heavy drinking, they often feel anxious, stressed and shaky (the opposite of how they feel when they drink). Many sweat heavily even when it’s not hot in the room, sometimes excreting alcohol through their pores. Some try to avoid these feelings by drinking as soon as they wake up.
Having a beer in the shower before you go to work is a rather surefire sign of alcohol dependency, as is repeated episodes of drinking alone – whether at home or at the bar. Alcohol dependents tend to be drunk for longer periods than social drinkers. For example, they will stay after the party ends to finish the leftover alcohol or hit the liquor store after the bars close.
The Caffeine-Alcohol Effect
By Amy Nordrum
One in four people in their early 20s have done it—mixed the stimulating effects of an energy drink with the buzz-inducing properties of alcohol. While partiers swig and stay out late, health experts worry that alcoholic energy drinks cloud their judgment in two important ways: by making people think they are not as drunk as if they’d only had alcohol, and causing them to crave another round more strongly. These effects could explain why people who add caffeine to their cocktail are at greater risk of being in an accident or making a decision they will later regret (like getting in the car with a drunk driver) than those who stick to straight booze.
When the world’s first energy drink debuted in 1987, it didn’t take long for Red Bull to find its way behind the bar. Bartenders soon started mixing Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar with vodka, gin, Jagermeister, and hard cider. These caffeine-laced cocktails became so popular, major beverage companies created canned and bottled versions like Four Loko to sell in convenience stores.
But as the popularity of alcoholic energy drinks rose, so too did the frequency of emergency-room visits by those who drank them. The rate of visits involving energy drinks in general doubled from 10,000 in 2007 to 20,000 in 2011, and about 2,600 of the visits in 2011 had to do with alcoholic energy drinks. That uncomfortable spike prompted the FDA to ban premixed alcoholic energy drinks including Four Loko—which contained 156 mg of caffeine and 12 percent alcohol, or the equivalent of four beers and a cup of coffee—in 2010.
Today, these drinks still flow freely in bars and restaurants—like at TGI Fridays, where the “Diddy Up” cocktail comes with Ciroc vodka, ruby red grapefruit, Red Bull and fresh-squeezed lime. It was added to the menu in 2010 and “continues to be a favorite for many of our Fridays guests” according to a company spokesperson. Dave and Busters boasts the “Raging Berry Bull” made with vanilla vodka, lemonade, and strawberry ice cubes, plus a can of blueberry-flavored Red Bull. The Black Diamond, a bar in Spokane, Washington, features a drink called “Hell Yeah” made with huckleberry vodka, citrus vodka, cranberry, and Red Bull. Jon Legault, the Black Diamond’s general manager, says he added it recently because “a lot of good drinks involve energy drinks nowadays.”
Desperation, Alcohol and Gambling
By Dr. Mark Creech
Executive Director, Christian Action League of North Carolina
People that feel desperate, for whatever reason, can do the most dangerous things.
Back in the fall of 1993 the country of Armenia was desperate for sources of power. The nation was entering its third winter under a near total oil and gas blockade imposed by neighboring Azerbaijan as a weapon in the war between two former Soviet republics.
Just to survive, Armenians had been cutting down trees for fuel to heat their homes. More than a million trees had been cleared during the previous winter. In response, the government was ready to do the unthinkable: start up a rusting Soviet nuclear reactor that had been shut down during the 1980s because it was unsafe.
The Medzamor nuclear plant had been built during the 1970s. The outdated plant was without the necessary safeguards. It had no containment building to control the effects of any accidental radiation leak. Worst still, the plant was located in an earthquake zone only twenty-five miles from Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan. A nuclear accident would unquestionably expose hundreds of thousands of people to deadly radiation poisoning.
Feeling desperate often causes people to choose things they ultimately live to regret. Turning to sin in a moment of despondency is very much like pinning one’s hopes on a rusty, outdated, dangerous, nuclear power plant. 
Such thoughts crossed my mind recently when my eyes fell upon an article by Christopher Ingaham from the Washington Post. Ingaham noted that “the top 10 percent of American drinkers – 24 million adults over age 18 – consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week. That works out to a little more than four-and-a half 750 ml bottles of Jack Daniels, 18 bottles of wine, or three 24-can cases of beer. In one week.” He adds, if you prefer you can simply look at this as 10 drinks per day. 
Ingaham says his figures come from Duke University’s professor Philip J. Cook, in his book, “Paying the Tab.” Cook also notes in his book, says Ingaham, “the top 10 percent of drinkers account for well over half of the alcohol consumed in any given year.” 
These statistics on alcohol are similar to the data on gambling. Recently a report prepared for the Ontario Gambling Research Centre determined sixty percent of the revenue garnered from electronic gambling machines like slots and video poker are derived from problem gamblers. 
State-operated lotteries make a whopping eighty percent of their profits from only 10 percent of the people that play. Casinos are essentially no different and those like Caesar’s (formerly known as Harrah’s) make ninety percent of their gambling profits from the financial losses of people who are problem gamblers and heavily in debt. 
We’re living in an age of emptiness, loneliness, fear, and anxiety – all of which create forms of desperation. Sadly, instead of running to God, the One who can really address these matters of the soul, most run from him. And like Jonah in the Bible, the man who took flight from God as fast and hard as he could, the devil always makes certain there’s a ship ready and waiting to pick us up and take us far away – far away from God – far away from his blessed plan. Thus, also like Jonah, we find ourselves dwelling in the belly of the beast, slaves of alcohol, gambling, as well as other vices.
Christ can free the spirit from sin’s bondage. Jesus urged people, “Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Nevertheless, it is also incumbent upon a compassionate society to loathe and despise enterprises that knowingly and willingly prey upon human vulnerabilities for profit. In order for their ventures to succeed, the alcohol industry and the gambling business are dependent on addiction, taking away the freedom of others.
Its true people are free agents and set their own destinies. But it is equally true that loving one’s neighbor as oneself; caring for the “least of these,” means we don’t render any of our fellow citizens as expendable.
Desperate people can do dangerous things. Turning to any vice for solace or peace is indeed much like pinning one’s hopes on a rusty, outdated, nuclear power plant. But it is just as foolish for a society to think there’s something meritorious in cranking these things up.
 Larson, Craig Brian. Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996. Pg. 160
,  “Think You Drink a Lot? This Chart Will Tell You.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.
Sanford study reveals fetal alcohol spectrum disorders prevalence in U.S.
Dr. Gene Hoyme, Dr. Amy Elliott co-author study in Pediatrics journal
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Nearly 5 percent of U.S. children may be affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, according to a new study co-authored by Sanford Research’s Gene Hoyme, M.D., and Amy Elliott, Ph.D., and published by Pediatrics.
The study, “Prevalence and characteristics of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD),” explored the incidence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) among first-grade students, or 6 to 7 year olds, in a representative Midwestern U.S. community, which was Sioux Falls. According to Hoyme, students were enrolled from all the elementary schools in Sioux Falls, both public and parochial. The study is the first school-based ascertainment study to be completed as a measure of FASD prevalence in American children.
FASD are a group of conditions that can occur in the children of mothers who drank alcohol during pregnancy. Characteristics are both physical and cognitive and can include abnormal facial features, smaller-than-average physical growth, poor coordination, learning disabilities and vision and hearing problems.
The research team gathered data on two groups of children related to physical growth, development, dysmorphology, cognition and behavior. The first group was made up of small children who were in the 25th percentile or less in height, weight and head circumference; the second group, or the control group, was randomly selected. The mothers of children from both groups were interviewed for maternal risk related to alcohol consumption while pregnant.
PUBLIC RELEASE DATE: 28-Oct-2014
Contact: Emily Ortman
Society for Neuroscience
Animal study suggests heavy drinking in adolescence associated with lasting brain changes
High alcohol use during adolescence may compromise developing brain
WASHINGTON, DC — Heavy drinking during adolescence may lead to structural changes in the brain and memory deficits that persist into adulthood, according to an animal study published October 29 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The study found that, even as adults, rats given daily access to alcohol during adolescence had reduced levels of myelin — the fatty coating on nerve fibers that accelerates the transmission of electrical signals between neurons. These changes were observed in a brain region important in reasoning and decision-making. Animals that were the heaviest drinkers also performed worse on a memory test later in adulthood. The findings suggest that high doses of alcohol during adolescence may continue to affect the brain even after drinking stops. Further research is required to determine the applicability of these findings to humans.
According to the World Health Organization, a growing number of adolescents and young adults around the world engage in binge drinking, the consumption of four (five for men) or more drinks over approximately two hours. Previous research in humans has shown an association between heavy episodic (binge) drinking in adolescence, changes in myelin in several brain regions, and cognitive impairments in adulthood. However, it was unknown whether alcohol was behind these brain and behavioral differences or if predisposing factors could explain the findings.
In this study, Heather Richardson, PhD, her graduate student Wanette Vargas, BA, and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, compared myelin in the prefrontal cortex — an area of the brain that is vital to reasoning and decision-making — in young male rats given daily access to either sweetened alcohol or sweetened water for two weeks. Animals that drank alcohol as adolescents had reduced myelin levels in the prefrontal cortex compared with those that drank a similar amount of sweetened water. When the researchers examined the alcohol-exposed animals several months later, they found that the animals continued to display reduced myelin levels as adults.
"Our study provides novel data demonstrating that alcohol drinking early in adolescence causes lasting myelin deficits in the prefrontal cortex," Richardson said. "These findings suggest that alcohol may negatively affect brain development in humans and have long-term consequences on areas of the brain that are important for controlling impulses and making decisions."
The researchers also examined how adult animals that binged on alcohol as adolescents performed on a test to assess working memory, the ability to hold on to information for a short period. The more alcohol the rats consumed over the two-week period as adolescents, the worse they performed on the working memory task as adults.
"This study suggests that exposure to high doses of alcohol during adolescence could exert lingering, if not permanent, damage to selective brain fibers," said Edith Sullivan, PhD, who studies the effects of alcohol on brain function at Stanford University and was not involved with this study.
"This damage might underlie persistent compromise of cognitive functions involved in learning and render youth vulnerable for later development of alcohol use disorders."
This research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of nearly 40,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. Richardson can be reached at email@example.com. More information on alcohol and the teenage brain can be found on BrainFacts.org.
Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings
- An estimated 24.6 million individuals aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users in 2013, including 2.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17. In 2013, 60.1 million individuals aged 12 or older were past month binge drinkers, including 1.6 million adolescents.
- Of the estimated 22.7 million individuals aged 12 or older in 2013 who needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, 2.5 million received treatment at a specialty facility.
- In 2013, about 1 in 10 adolescents (10.7 percent) had a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year. Among adolescents with MDE, 38.1 percent received treatment or counseling for depression in the past year.
- In 2013, nearly 1 in 5 adults aged 18 or older (18.5 percent) had a mental illness (i.e., “any mental illness,” or AMI) in the past year; 4.2 percent had a serious mental illness (SMI); and 3.9 percent had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year.
- In 2013, 1.4 percent of adolescents had co-occurring MDE and substance use disorder (SUD); 3.2 percent of adults had co-occurring AMI and SUD; and 1.0 percent of adults had co-occurring SMI and SUD.
Anheuser-Busch facing pushback as it tries to buy Kentucky distributor
Oct 17, 2014, Ben Unglesbee
Reporter- St. Louis Business Journal
Anheuser-Busch's efforts to buy a distributorship in Kentucky are being met with resistance by
local and national groups that want to keep the brewer from gaining too much control over
beer sales in the state.
In August, Anheuser-Busch gave notice of its intent to apply for a distributor's license in the
city of Owensboro, Kentucky. In its application, A-B listed an address belonging to Budweiser
of Owensboro, a distribution company owned by Tennessee-based Hand Family Companies.
The company confirmed that it intended to sell its distributorship to A-B, according to the
Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. That request was approved by the Owensboro Alcoholic
Beverage Control administrator amid protests and has been appealed at the state level with a
hearing set for November.
France seeks to halt surge in binge drinking among youths
The Boston Globe
Friday, October 17, 2014
When the French school semester started in September, most college students had no lack of drinking opportunities. As is common in other countries, French freshmen are usually encouraged to drink heavily in initiation ceremonies. But soon the excessive drinking could face a sudden end.
According to a French bill, inciting binge drinking could be punishable with up to a year in jail or a hefty fine. "It will be made illegal to sell products that make alcohol appear pleasant," French health minister Marisol Touraine reportedly told RTL radio. Targeted products could be "telephone cases or T-shirts that show amusing scenes based on drunkenness."
Organizers of student parties would also be targeted, according to the minister.
Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati has a powerful new attraction to draw discerning customers: vino
The casino's prime eatery, Jack Binion's Steak, is one of a handful of local winners to nab Wine Spectator's coveted "Award of Excellence" designation. The recognition honors restaurants with unique selections that complement their menus.
"This shows our complex and wide offerings of wine and that we're very diligent about our program," said Ross Highley, general manager of Jack Binion's.
A local restaurant veteran, Highley has made several attempts to win the honor at other eateries, but it was only the casino that changed his luck. A total of 15 local restaurants won the magazine honor, and Horseshoe was the only casino to make the cut.
When transit agencies run short on cash, should they sell alcohol ads to get it?
By Emily Badger October 1, 2014
The public transit agency in Atlanta is running a pilot program this year to test one potential source of new revenue for the cash-strapped system: ads inside train stations and on buses and trains for alcohol.
The idea isn't a new one in the world of public transit, but it regularly raises more contentious questions than your average roadside vodka billboard. Is the youth exposure to alcohol ads — students in many cities ride transit to school — worth the extra funds for a city service? Should public agencies — and public assets — abstain from hawking some of the products that private property owners do? If a run of beer ads might bring in $200,000 for a system confronting service cuts, is that bargain worth it?
Alcohol's Effects On The Brain and Body
Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances on the planet. Someone dies from alcohol use every ten seconds, and one night of binge drinking can take a huge toll on your immune system. Dr. Samuel Ball of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia) reveals the myriad effects alcohol has on your brain and body.
Religious Youths Are Less Likely to Experiment with Drugs and Alcohol, Baylor Study Finds
Feeling connected to a ‘higher power’ may help overcome peer pressure
Alcohol Treatment Quarterly
Newswise — Young people who regularly attend religious services and describe themselves as religious are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol, according to a new study.
The study of 195 juvenile offenders was done by researchers at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, the University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. It appears in the journal Alcohol Treatment Quarterly.
Juvenile offenders in the study were referred by a court, mental health professional or physician to a two-month residential treatment program and were assessed by researchers at intake and discharge through interviews, medical chart reviews, drug screening and reports by youths, parents and clinicians.
Alcohol is still the deadliest drug in the United States, and it’s not even close
By Harold Pollack August 19
Which intoxicating substance is associated with the most lethal violence? Devotees of the Wire might presume that cocaine or maybe heroin would top the list, especially if you asked the worst causes of violence in poor, minority communities.
The correct answer, by far, is alcohol. It’s involved in more homicides than pretty much every other substance, combined. Alcohol’s relative importance has grown over the last fifteen years, as aging populations of cocaine users account for a declining proportion of violent crime. Here in Chicago, positive cocaine screens in the Cook County Jail are down by about half when compared with ten or twenty years ago. The same is true in many other cities.
Surveys of people incarcerated for violent crimes indicate that about 40% had been drinking at the time they committed these offenses. Among those who had been drinking, average blood-alcohol levels were estimated to exceed three times the legal limit. Drinking is especially common among perpetrators of specific crimes, including murder, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.
to read the rest of the Washington Post
Data leaves no room to argue for lowering drinking age
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)
Monday, August 11, 2014
An advocate for alcohol awareness and education says setting the minimum drinking age is one of the smartest things we've ever done for public health.
According to a July 2014 Gallup poll
published last week in USA Today's snapshot section, Americans still oppose lowering the federal drinking age. In fact, the poll found that 74% of Americans are not in favor of lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18.
Mark Creech, president of the American Council on Alcohol Problems and executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina
, says this data is consistent with previous findings by Gallup in 2001 and 2007.
"Despite a minority who oppose it, unlike many other public policies, this one has 30 years of scientific evidence proving its positive effects,” he tells OneNewsNow. “The current law reduces alcohol related traffic crashes. It reduces alcohol consumption among youth. It protects drinkers from the long-term negative outcomes they are susceptible to in adulthood, including alcohol and drug dependence."
Creech says the list of benefits goes on, which is one reason he finds it surprising that the poll also indicates support for lowering the drinking age is higher among those with higher levels of education.
"Lowering the legal drinking age would lead to a substantial increase in injuries, deaths and other negative consequences,” he says. “So I'm certain that we can say on this question that the jury is back, the verdict is in, and the minimum legal drinking age is one of the smartest things we've ever done for the public's health."
Creech does address the arguments that some people, including self-identified Christians, make in favor of lowering the drinking age. Examples are 'Europeans let their children drink at an early age,' and 'If you're old enough to go to war, then you ought to be able to drink.' Even so, Creech says results from a "mountain of social data" prove all of these assertions dead wrong.
"Actually, with our minimum drinking age laws set at 21, we have fewer alcohol related problems than most other countries that allow their children to begin drinking at an earlier age,” he adds. “No evidence exists to show that students will learn to drink more responsibly simply because they are able to drink earlier in life. In fact, what we see is that high-risk drinking consequences appear to be more severe for those who do."
Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Alters Development of Brain Function
August 5, 2014
Researchers from The Saban Research Institute suggest neural basis for symptoms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
In the first study of its kind, Prapti Gautam, PhD, and colleagues from The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles found that children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) showed weaker brain activation during specific cognitive tasks than their unaffected counterparts. These novel findings suggest a possible neural mechanism for the persistent attention problems seen in individuals with FASD. The results of this study were published in Cerebral Cortex on August 4.
"Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used to observe brain activity during mental tasks in children with FASD, but we are the first to utilize these techniques to look at brain activation over time," says Gautam. "We wanted to see if the differences in brain activation between children with FASD and their healthy peers were static, or if they changed as children got older."
Special Olympic athlete competing to be on cover of Runner’s World
By Drew Blair
Published: August 3, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS (WISHtv.com) – A gold medal winning Special Olympic athlete from Indiana has entered a competition to gain national recognition of a different kind.
Andrew Peterson, 21, has hopes of bringing awareness to the abilities of people with special needs by appearing on the cover of a national publication.
Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, the accomplished runner overcame mental and physical challenges to excel on his middle and high school cross country teams before joining Special Olympics Indiana.
In June, Peterson dominated the 1500M, 3000M and 5000M running events in the USA Games held in New Jersey to add to the more than 30 gold medals achieved in state competitions.
Laws including high-proof grain alcohol ban take effect Tuesday
June 30, 2014 | By Danae King, The Baltimore Sun
Maryland joins at least a dozen other states Tuesday in banning the sale of 190-proof grain alcohol, a measure that lawmakers hope will help to reduce sexual assaults and binge drinking among college students.
The bill is one of more than 200 that go into effect Tuesday; other bills expand the earned income tax credit for low-income residents and exempt more wealthy Marylanders from the estate tax, overhaul Baltimore City liquor board practices and establish incentives to encourage investment in research universities.
The grain alcohol ban, backed by a group of university presidents as a safety measure, comes amid a growing focus on rape and drinking to excess on campus. Del. Charles Barkley, a Montgomery County Democrat, said increased awareness of the risks associated with grain alcohol bolstered support for the bill he sponsored.
"Getting it off the market will maybe reduce problems at the college level," Barkley said, adding that students have used it to get "bombed out of their mind," putting themselves in danger.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) published an Alcohol Alert on Measuring the Burden of Alcohol.
“The harm alcohol poses to individuals and society stems not only from its ability to trigger alcohol abuse and alcoholism, but also from its short- and long-term health consequences, including intentional and unintentional injuries, chronic and acute illnesses, and even death.”
Please click on the link below to read this informative report about alcohol-related injuries and chronic disease, Alcohol’s economic burden, alcohol use and consequences on Children and Adolescents, College Students, Ethnic Groups, and Women. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa87/aa87.htm
Americans Still Oppose Lowering the Drinking Age
Reject lowering age to 18 by 74% to 25%
by Jeffrey M. Jones www.gallup.com
PRINCETON, NJ -- Thirty years after federal legislation established 21 as a uniform minimum age to drink alcohol in all states, Americans are widely opposed to lowering the legal drinking age to 18. Seventy-four percent say they would oppose such legislation, while 25% would favor it. The level of opposition is similar to what Gallup has measured in the past.
Children Who Experience Family Members’ Trauma at Twice the Risk for Substance Abuse as Adults
We know the effects of childhood traumas like abuse and neglect on later substance abuse. But what impact does second hand trauma have? A study published in the August issue of the journal Addiction shows that when a child under age 15 is exposed to a family member’s trauma (e.g. a parent or sibling being the victim of violent assault or a parent’s cancer diagnosis), that child has approximately twice the risk of struggling with drug and alcohol problems 6 years later.
Under new CA law, students under 21 can now taste alcohol in university classrooms.
With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown made it legal for some California college students under the age of 21 to taste alcohol in class.
While that sounds like many students’ dream come true, the law, AB 1989, applies only under very specific circumstances.
First, the students have to be enrolled in an accredited winemaking or beer-brewing course. Second, the taste can only be a taste, so students can’t actually swallow the drink.
Click here to read the rest of the article.
Minimum Legal Drinking Age Makes Johnny a Little Safer
By Dr. Mark Creech
is a great restaurant near my office that I visit for dinner at least five days
a week. The staff has become like family
to me. When they’re not so busy, the servers will stop to talk for a little
while, which is always nice. One young server, Johnny, seems to have taken an
interest in my work and often parks himself next to my stool at the grill. He’s
clean-cut, very well-mannered, and good at making conversation. He’s truly a
during a time when Johnny wasn’t serving, I noticed there was a celebration
going on in one of the back dining areas. Johnny soon came around the corner
from that gathering to say he was enjoying himself with his family and a few
friends in honor of his birthday. Johnny was now 21 years old. With rapturous
joy, he hailed his rite of passage into adulthood by proudly holding up a six
pack of brews he had been given as a present.
course, I didn’t say anything negative about the alcohol. I didn’t want to spoil
Johnny’s moment. I wish he wouldn’t drink. There certainly wouldn’t be anything
lost if he didn’t. Still, there is one matter regarding Johnny’s choice for
booze that was comforting – he had to wait until he was 21 to legally drink it.
Thursday (July 17th), marked the 30th anniversary of the National
Minimum Drinking Age Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. The law
(MLDA – Minimal Legal Drinking Age), which requires an individual must be at
least 21 years of age before purchasing and imbibing alcohol, unquestionably
has saved tens of thousands of lives.
the repeal of prohibition, states were given the responsibility for determining
the drinking age and most states established it at 21 years. Then came the
Vietnam era, when the national voting age was dropped to 18 years, and
consequentially the argument was erroneously made if someone was old enough to
vote and go to war, they ought to also be old enough to drink. So 29 states
dropped the MLDA to around 18 and the results were catastrophic. There were
dramatic increases in alcohol-related traffic fatalities among youth from 18-20.
shocking statistics resulted in many states reversing course and putting the
limit back up to 21. The value of such action, however, was diminished by the
fact that many young people were going across state lines to drink where the
limit was still lower. Thus, it was apparent that the nation needed a national
minimum legal drinking age. Congress adopted one and then incentivized the
states to adopt the same by threatening to take away some of their federal
highway funds, if they didn’t. By 1987 all 50 states had adopted the current
MLDA of 21.
law has had its critics. “The Amethyst Initiative,” in which a small number of
college and university chancellors and presidents signed on to, argued the law
drives drinking underground and therefore contributes to issues of binge
drinking by youth. Institutions of higher learning should be allowed to teach
students to drink responsibly, they contended.
have been echoes of these same arguments more recently. Dwight Health, an
Anthropology professor at Brown University, only a few days ago told ABC News
that the younger people are when they start to drink the better off they will
be. He cites places like France where children are encouraged to have wine
during family meals. Brown says such approaches to alcohol consumption help
eliminate the taboo of drinking, thereby making it less alluring. 
the law’s detractors get a lot of press. It’s sensational journalism. But the
jury is already in with 30 years of monitoring and research that clearly
demonstrates the 21 MLDA is remarkably successful. Moreover, Time Magazine
reported in 2008 that France is “grappling with wide-spread binge-drinking
among its youth. Worse still, fully half of 17-year-olds reported having been
drunk at least once during the previous month.”  So much for the argument
that developing a so-called culture of responsibility towards alcohol will actually
end the abuses of it by youth. In fact, prevalence rates for drunkenness among
young people in the United States are less compared to those of European ages.
actually works is a form of prohibition. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not
calling for a return to the kind of prohibition before 1933 in the United
States. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that all forms of restrictive
alcohol measures in state and federal law are an acknowledgement that alcohol
is not an ordinary commodity. It poses a significant risk to the public’s
health and prohibitive determinations are necessary. This is especially true for
those in their formative years.
Case Closed: Research Evidence on the
Positive Public Health Impact of the Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age in the
United States, Dr. William DeJong of the Boston University School of Public
Health, and Jason Blanchette, of the Boston University School of Medicine,
extensively present the peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrating the
achievements of the 21 minimum age drinking regulation. They contend:
“Recent research on the age 21 MLDA has
reinforced the position that the current law has served the nation well by
reducing alcohol-related traffic crashes and alcohol consumption among youths
while also protecting drinkers from long-term negative outcomes they might
experience in adulthood, including alcohol and other drug dependence, adverse
birth outcomes, and suicide and homicide. The evidence is clear that, absent
other policy changes and improved enforcement of the nation’s alcohol laws,
lowering the legal drinking age would lead to a substantial increase in
injuries, deaths, and other negative health-related consequences.” 
its opposition, the 21 MLDA still receives strong public support. A 2007 Gallup
Poll revealed that 77% of adults 18 and older would oppose lowering the current
MLDA, while only 22% would support it. 
the MLDA doesn’t end all drinking by youth, no more than traffic laws end all
speeding. The law is meant as a deterrent and never ends all law breaking. We
still have serious problems with young people and alcohol. But alcohol policy
like the MLDA does reduce the problems associated with alcohol and the nation’s
youth. And it does so because it makes alcohol less readily accessible – a
principle that is fundamental to all effective alcohol policies that preserve
may still choose to drink, but after 30 years of study it’s clear, at least
he’s a little safer because he had to legally wait until he was 21.
the Anniversary of the Drinking Age Act: Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered in
the U.S.?" WFTS. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2014.
Magazine, July 17, 2008, Quoted in Brumbelow, David R. Ancient Wine and the
Bible: The Case for Abstinence. Carrollton, GA: Free Church, 2011. Pg. 186.
 108, and
Journal Of Studies On Alcohol And Drugs / Supplement No. 17, 2014. Case
Closed: Research Evidence on the Positive Public Health Impact of the Age 21
Minimum Legal Drinking Age in the United States (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Teens Drawn to Heavily Advertised Alcohol Brands: Study
TUESDAY, July 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The brands of alcohol favored by underage drinkers are the same ones that are heavily advertised in magazines read by young people, a new study reveals.
The findings provide further evidence that alcohol ads can encourage young people to drink. They also show that the alcohol industry's voluntary advertising standards are inadequate, according to the authors of the study in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
"All of the ads in our study were in complete compliance with the industry's self-regulatory guidelines," lead researcher Craig Ross, of Virtual Media Resources in Natick, Mass., said in a journal news release.
New and Dangerous Alcohol Product: Palcohol
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
April 23, 2014
Yes, no, maybe so? News of the federal government's approval of alcohol in a powder form was more mixed up than a kamikaze cocktail as fans of Palcohol eagerly anticipated the product's release only to hear that the approval had been issued in error. Even so, some industry insiders have speculated that the reversal may have resulted from lawmaker reaction.
"Whatever kept this from being approved, we say, 'Thank the Lord!'" said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. "But let's not get caught up in celebration and fail to keep watch. Obviously this thing's not going away. And certainly, it is not something we want to see on shelves in North Carolina."
News that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau had given "label approval" to six versions of the product — a packet of powder that can be mixed with water to produce an instant glass of rum, vodka or four different cocktails — broke over Easter weekend. But by Monday afternoon, Lipsmark, which owns Palcahol had announced that there was a discrepancy regarding how much powder was in each bag and that "there was a mutual agreement" for the company to surrender the labels.
The Bureau's announcement that the approvals were issued "in error," contradicted the company's contention that "this doesn't mean that Palcohol isn't approved.
It just means that these labels aren't approved." "We will resubmit labels. We don't have an expected approval date as label approval can vary widely," the Palcohol web site states.
Even if approved, that doesn't mean the product will come to Tar Heel ABC stores.
"I have the utmost faith that our state leadership, both appointed and elected, will do the right thing if Palcohol tries to sell its product in North Carolina," said Dylan Ellerbee, executive director of the N.C. Alcohol Policy Alliance.
"Thankfully, the 21st Amendment set a legal framework that puts the control of alcohol sales in the hands of states, and North Carolina has long been a leader in that arena."
Ellerbee said access to alcohol is the biggest concern with underage drinking and that a powder that can be concealed and consumed in mass quantities quickly and easily presents a serious danger to our young people.
Dr. Creech agreed. "It's a little difficult to hide a six-pack of beer or a fifth of liquor. Bottles rattle and take up space, but a powder can be taken virtually anywhere without question," he said. "Think of movie theaters, sports stadiums, even restaurants that already sell alcohol because it will be cheaper to order a bottle of water than a mixed drink." No wonder the company urges future customers to "Take your Pal wherever you go!"
Touted as "small enough to fit into any pocket" and weighing about one ounce, when mixed with five ounces of liquid Palcohol has the same amount of alcohol as a mixed drink.
"What could be even worse than making alcohol so much more accessible to underage drinkers is that this powder will tempt some kids to try snorting it, sending toxins straight to the brain," said Dr. Creech. "There simply are no redeeming qualities to this product."
Like Ellerbee, he expects the state's Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC) to steer clear of Palcohol, when it does make it to the market. However, the fact that its makers plan to sell it via the Internet means parents need to beware. "This is an issue we will continue to follow, so stay tuned," said Dr. Creech.
Parents Influence Teens’ Drinking Decisions: Survey
The Partnership at DrugFree.Org
Parents do have an influence on teens’ decisions about drinking, according to a new survey by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Teens are much less likely to drink if their parents tell them underage drinking is completely unacceptable, the survey found.
Buying Liquor Could Get Way Easier
February 14, 2014
Pew's Stateline | by Elaine S. Povich
This piece comes to us courtesy of Stateline. Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.
In Shrewsbury, Pa., near the Maryland state line, a square cinderblock building sports huge painted images of beer and soda bottles painted on the side. The sign on the private business reads, “Beer and Soda.” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and some state legislators would like to add “Liquor” to that.
As it stands now, liquor is sold only in the approximately 600 stores run by the state.
The latest push to privatize liquor stores in Pennsylvania is among several proposals in state legislatures this year dealing with the sale of liquor, wine and beer. A similar attempt in Pennsylvania failed last year, as it has before, amid legislative squabbling. This time around, Corbett, a Republican, took a more subtle tack by only mentioning the issue in his State of the State speech, but declining to offer legislation and leaving it to lawmakers to put forth any bills.
Among the other liquor law changes being considered in states legislatures for 2014 are:
- Eliminating the mandatory “Sunday closing” law in Minnesota. Twelve states currently prohibit Sunday sales;
- A move to put grocery store sales of some liquor on the Oregon ballot in November;
- Allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores in Tennessee. Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C., now allow food stores to sell wine;
- Various proposals in Utah to expand or privatize liquor sales, which are among the most restrictive in the country;
- A proposal to eliminate excise taxes on beer, wine and liquor in Connecticut. Neighboring Rhode Island cut the tax on wine and spirits last year and advocates say Connecticut is losing business across the border.
Most of the direct taxes on beer, wine and liquor are likely to remain untouched by legislatures in 2014, because of a general reluctance to raise taxes as the economy improves and as states consider tax cuts or spending increases. A formidable liquor lobby also resists such taxes.
Tax Policy Center figures show states and localities took in a total of $6.2 billion from alcohol taxes in 2011, compared to $17.6 billion from tobacco.
This map gives a geographic snapshot of state beer excise tax rates.
But these other moves to tinker with liquor laws may well increase state tax revenues. For example, Washington state, which privatized liquor sales in June 2012, saw its alcohol tax revenues increase 9.7 percent as a result.
Alcohol tax collections for July 2011 to July 2012 were $242 million and increased to $265 million for July 2012 to July 2013, according to Kim Schmanke of the Washington State Department of Revenue. She attributed the rise to making it more convenient for consumers to buy liquor and the resulting increased sales.
“Our tax structure didn’t change. Our taxes are exactly the same (as before privatization),” she said.
“Private market forces influenced the pricing and that influenced consumer behavior.”
But while private store sales may lure more consumers, new state fees and distribution charges in Washington have pushed taxes and fees that consumers pay on spirits to $35.22 a gallon in 2013, from $26.70 a gallon in 2012, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan, anti-tax group. The foundation noted that in general, however, the average tax on a gallon of spirits in “control states” is $11.12, and in privatized states, $5.51 a gallon. Washington state’s sales tax on spirits is 20.5 percent of the selling price and $3.77 per liter.
This map gives a geographic snapshot of state spirits excise tax rates.
In Pennsylvania, Wendell Young, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, which opposes privatization, said the state shouldn’t expect a windfall in tax revenue if it turns over liquor sales to private businesses.
He said studies have shown it will take $1.4 billion to “unwind” the current state stores system and that the “best case scenario” would be that the state would pick up $800 million in new licensing and operation fees for the private stores. Young said the union estimates 3,500 jobs would be lost if the state liquor stores close, and the existing private businesses that would take over sales won’t replace that many jobs.
“They will re-allocate their current space and re-allocate the current workforce,” he said. “Our folks are going to be put out of work and very few of them will get hired in the retail stores.”
He argued that the current state store system is working well. “This benefits taxpayers whether they drink or not,” he said. “It’s a solution in search of a problem. There is no problem.”
Charles Zogby, Pennsylvania’s state budget secretary, said the state might get more revenue from private sales, but, unlike many states, Pennsylvania does not have a budget surplus this year, so the legislature might hesitate to move forward without a better guarantee that privatization would garner at least the same amount of funds.
The governor estimated the state loses $80 million a year to neighboring states, such as New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland, because of the inconvenience of buying at state stores in Pennsylvania, which forces consumers to go to more than one store to pick up beer, wine or hard liquor.
This map gives a geographic snapshot of state wine excise tax rates.
“We have to reform our antiquated system of state-owned liquor stores. Visitors often wonder about it – unless they're from Utah,” Corbett said in his State of the State speech, mentioning the only other state that has completely state-controlled alcohol purchases.
Utah has some of the most restrictive alcohol laws in the nation. The Mormon Church, whose members eschew alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, said recently it is opposed to making liquor more accessible because of what it sees as an invitation to more alcohol-related problems.
The church opposed proposals that would “weaken Utah’s alcohol laws and regulations” including privatization of sales, increases in alcohol license quotas, sales of “heavy beer,” (over 3.2 percent alcohol) outside the state-controlled system and eliminating the requirement that restaurants do 70 percent of their business in food and 30 percent in alcohol.
A MATTER OF CONVENIENCE
Tennessee lawmakers recently took one step toward convenience, at least according to a Vanderbilt University poll that showed 66 percent of those surveyed favored allowing sales of wine in grocery stores. It is sold in private liquor stores now, along with spirits. The state Senate last month approved giving voters a chance to decide the issue in a referendum this fall.
The House approved similar legislation, but the two versions must be reconciled before the bill can go to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who said he would sign it. The new law would take effect in 2016, to give liquor stores and grocery stores time to adjust.
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Republican, called the approval “a great step forward” in expanding consumer choice and spurring economic growth “with this common-sense, pro-market measure.”
In Minnesota, a Republican state lawmaker is pushing to allow all liquor sales on Sunday. State Rep. Jenifer Loon said the prohibition against Sunday sales is just that — a leftover from the Prohibition era that needs to be scrapped. Her bill would give localities the option of permitting Sunday sales or not.
“The law against Sunday sales has been in place since Prohibition ended,” Loon told Stateline. “It just doesn’t reflect how people do their shopping. Sunday is a very busy day in the retail world for every product except liquor.” Currently, only low-alcohol beer can be sold in Minnesota grocery stores on Sunday.
Some smaller stores have opposed the change, saying it would be difficult for them to open another day each week. “Some say ‘I don’t want to be open on Sunday.’ I say, ‘You don’t have to,’” Loon said. “I don’t think it’s the state’s role to determine that a particular type of store can’t be open on Sunday.”
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said he would sign the bill.
CAN A CHRISTIAN DRINK ALCOHOL?
By: Barry L. Cameron
Crossroads Christian Church
September 19, 2012
On Monday night, news broke that Olympic gold medalist snowboarder, Shaun White, had been charged with vandalism and public intoxication. On my Facebook wall, I posted the following comment: “This just in . . . and the gold medal for character enhancement, once again, goes to alcohol.”
For years, well-meaning, sincere Christians have debated the subject of drinking. Let me be clear by saying there isn't a single verse in the Bible that says a Christian cannot have a drink; although the Bible clearly warns about the destructive and addictive nature of alcohol (Proverbs 20:1; 21:17; 23:29-35; Ephesians 5:18) and is very clear that drunkenness is always wrong (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 4:3; Habakkuk 2:15; 1 Corinthians 5:11).
The Bible is also clear that mature Christians should avoid causing others to stumble by drinking (Romans 14:21), and that leaders ought to avoid drinking alcohol (Proverbs 31:4-7) and cannot be given to drunkenness (1 Timothy 3:3, 8 Titus 1:7.)
I have yet to hear from anyone who drinks how alcohol enhances anything or blesses anyone. Max Lucado said, “One thing for sure, I have never heard anyone say, ‘A beer makes me feel more Christlike . . . Fact of the matter is this: People don’t associate beer with Christian behavior.”1 I've yet to see how it improves someone’s testimony or makes anyone a more effective witness for Christ. Quite the contrary, like Shaun White mentioned above, or Richard Roberts, Oral Roberts’ son, who was arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma, driving under the influence, the result doesn't enhance your testimony. Rather, it takes away from what testimony you had.
Recently, a friend of mine, former mega-church Pastor, John Caldwell, wrote an article in Christian Standard magazine called To Drink or Not to Drink? Here’s the link to his article. John’s article explained why he has personally abstained from drinking alcohol and dealt with the bigger issue of the contemporary church becoming more and more like the world.
Not surprisingly, a number of people responded to John’s article and some called him to task for taking such a strong stand against drinking. In response to the responses, my good friend, Ken Idleman, former President of Ozark Christian College and now Pastor of Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville, IN, wrote these words, which are among the very best I've ever read on this issue. I asked Ken for his permission to share them here.
“Okay, I am conscience bound to weigh in on this one…. For a minute, forget about making a definitive case for or against ‘drinking’ from the Bible. Here’s the truth from logic and real life. No one starts out to be an alcoholic. Everyone begins with a defensive attitude saying, ‘I’m just a social drinker and there is nothing wrong with it!’ no one says, ‘It is my ambition that someday I want to lose my job, my health, my self-respect, my marriage and my family. Someday I want to be dependent on alcohol to get through my day.’ yet, this is the destination at which several millions of people have arrived. Why do you suppose that is? It is because alcohol is promoted and elevated as a normal/sophisticated activity in life…. It is also expensive, addictive and enslaving. People get hooked by America’s number one legal drug. And just like all illegal drugs, alcohol finds it way into the body, the bloodstream and the brain of the user/abuser.
I had two uncles whose lives were wrecked by alcohol. The exception you say? Hardly. It is not what they wanted when they dreamed of their futures when they were in their 20s. Praise God, they were wonderfully delivered in their 60s when the grace of God became real to them. And can you imagine it? They got their lives back by becoming total abstainers by the power of the Holy Spirit!
One of my most memorable conversations in the state penitentiary in Jefferson City, MO, was with a young man facing a 28-year prison sentence for the brutal sexual assault of his own 8-year old daughter. I will never forget the image. The tears literally ran off his chin and splashed on his shoes as he gushed, ‘I guess I did it. I don’t know. I was drunk at the time.’
Listen, some of those who are defensive in response to Dr. Caldwell’s thoughtful and courageous article will want to revise their text if, in a few years, they discover that they were able to handle their drinking just fine, but their son or daughter could not. Answer honestly. Could you live with the knowledge that your dangerous exercise of Christian liberty factored into your children’s ruin? Or, if your loved one is killed some day in a head on collision by a driver under the influence who crossed the center line, will you still be defensive of drinking?
A good friend during my growing up years was the only child of social drinking parents. When his folks were away, he would go to the rathskeller [German for tavern] in the basement where he developed a taste for alcohol. I won’t bore you with the details. He is 65 today. A broken life, broken health, broken marriages, a broken relationship with his only son, a broken relationship with his only grandchild, a broken career and a broken spirit that…. Tragically…. He tries daily to medicate with the alcohol that led him to this tragic destination.
Hey, thanks for indulging my rant. Like my friend John Caldwell, I confess to setting the bar high for Christian leadership [especially] when it comes to aesthetic holiness. Call me a ‘right-wing fundamentalist.’ Call me a ‘throw back to the days of the tent evangelists.’ Call me a ‘simpleton.’ Call me a ‘minimalist.’ but, if you do, go ahead and also call me a ‘watchman on the wall’ where the welfare of my family [children, in-laws, grandchildren] and my church family is concerned.”2
Personally, I've yet to have my first beer and have no desire to start now or to drink alcohol of any kind. At the same time, I don’t judge those who believe they have freedom in Christ to drink. But when asked, I always tell people I don’t believe it’s the best choice.
The bottom line is this: the question really isn't CAN A CHRISTIAN DRINK? Rather, it is: SHOULD A CHRISTIAN DRINK?
© 2012. Barry L. Cameron
1 David Faust, Voices From The Hill, (Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary, 2003) 252.
2 John Caldwell, “To Drink or Not to Drink,” Christian Standard 11 August 2012, 18 September 2012.
Free Will Baptists’ Cancellation of ‘Duck Dynasty’ Event Commendable
By Dr. Mark Creech
Kevin and Jason made their way down the steps after 1 a.m. Kevin led his friend into the corner room that the family called the study and opened his Dad’s liquor cabinet. “He’s going to know you got in here,” Jason warned. “No way,” said Kevin. “I only take what he won’t miss.” Then 12-year-old Kevin drew out a bottle of vodka, unscrewed the cap, placed the bottle to his lips and swallowed a mouthful of the clear liquid. He passed the bottle to Jason and the two of them drank a few more swallows before returning the bottle to the cabinet.
Kevin and Jason would share this late night adventure together every time Jason would come over to stay for the night. And it wasn’t long before Kevin was sneaking liquor from his father’s cabinet regularly, when he was at home alone too. By the time Kevin was just fourteen he was drinking every day. Kevin’s parents were gone a lot and somehow the booze seemed to make him feel a little better about his life – a bit warmer and more secure. Neither Kevin’s father, whom Kevin suspected was an alcoholic, nor his mother ever seemed to notice the alcohol disappearing with regularity, at least if they did nothing was ever said about it. 
Many young people simply experiment with alcohol and after finding their curiosity satisfied will later abstain. But today most do not, they continue drinking. In fact, alcohol has become such an accepted part of our culture that a Columbia University study noted that underage drinkers account for 11.4% of all the alcohol consumed in the U.S.  The average age of a teen boy who tries alcohol for the first time is 11, and for a girl its 13. According to statistics as recent as last year, 72% of students have consumed alcohol (more than a few sips) by the end of High School, and approximately 37% have done so by eighth grade.  More than 3 million teens in the U.S. between the ages of 14-17 are problem drinkers – something they will likely struggle with the rest of their lives. 
This week, Free Will Baptist Family Ministries, based in Greenville, Tennessee, cancelled a fundraising event featuring Duck Dynasty Star, Willie Robertson, over a recent decision by the Robertson family to create a line of their own wines. The fundraiser, which could have brought $70,000 to $85,000, was for a project to add another 10,000 square feet to the ministry’s school where at-risk youth receive an education and counseling.
Dereck Bell, the ministry’s director of development, said the cancellation wasn’t based in any ill will towards the Robertsons. The ministry’s concerns were related to the Robertson’s association with the sale of wine and the way that could send the wrong message to the adolescents they serve. Bell explained half of the adolescents in their program undergo treatment for alcohol and drug addiction issues. He said, “Our message must be consistent. The lives of these children may well hang in the balance.” 
The A&E reality show Duck Dynasty is not only a huge hit, but its contribution to the good of our nation can’t be understated. It resonates with teachings of the Bible, family values - love for everything Americana from football to meal time prayers. What is more, the Robertson’s commitment to spreading the Word, seeking to lead people to Christ, and helping various Christian groups and non-profits via their speaking engagements is exceptionally commendable. Every Bible believing evangelical in the country loves them – and rightly so.
But even more commendable are a group of Christians like the Free Will Baptists in Tennessee who will take a loss – who will not compromise their faith for any worldly gain – who will not compromise their biblical convictions even in the name of some worthy cause.
In Jeremiah chapter 35, God commended the Rechabites for their commitment to stay away from wine. Some will argue they were blessed only because of their obedience to the patriarch of their clan and not their abstinence. But would God bless obedience to a sinful or foolish precept? Would God have selected to highlight in His Holy Word His special approval to a particular rule that was simply observed from some superstitious motive or mere legalistic practice? Hardly! The point of the text is that God wanted to contrast the praiseworthy fidelity of the Rechabite’s holy and separated lifestyle with that of the Jews who had forgotten God and become careless, even reckless with their own in an age of indulgence. One can only wonder how God intends to bless Free Will Baptist Ministries for their sterling similar example.
Certainly there are many good Christians, who for various erroneous reasons choose to imbibe or traffic in the sale of alcohol, but to do so is an abuse of their Christian liberty. Judge Paul Pressler once wrote, “The upcoming generations need to know the havoc brought on our society and upon individuals by the use of alcohol. If we use it ourselves, we recommend its use to others. A Christian should not exercise his freedom to put himself and others at such risk.” 
Moreover, it should be remembered that alcohol is a recreational, mind-altering drug. To use it even moderately is to swing the door wide open for the moderate use of other recreational drugs like marijuana. Should Christians endorse the moderate use of other recreational drugs? Why is alcohol, which happens to be the nation’s number one drug problem, morally acceptable, but not other drugs that scientifically and socially speaking actually effect less harm? The solution is not difficult for the individual who has a love for the truth. Beer, wine, and liquor today like all mind-altering recreational substances can make a fool of one’s life, biting like a poisonous serpent (Proverbs 20:1). And just as discretion is the better part of valor, abstinence is the better part of wisdom.
It obviously was a youngster that prompted a certain poet to write:
An empty glass before the youth
Soon drew the waiter near:
“What will you take,” the waiter asked,
“Wine red, or white, or beer?”
We’ve rich supplies of foreign brew
And wine your thirst to slake
The youth with innocence replied,
“I’ll take what Dad takes.”
Swift as an arrow went the words
Into his father’s ear;
And soon a conflict deep and strong
Awoke terrific fear
Have I not seen the strongest fall?
The brightest led astray?
And shall I on my only son
Bestow a curse today?
Dad motioned to the waiter;
And gave his order clear;
I think I have a taste today,
For a sparkling glass of – iced tea! 
Yes, iced tea! That’s what it looks like Uncle Si is always drinking in that beloved cup of his. Let’s hope we don’t start seeing him filling it with wine, at least not for the sake of those young people like Kevin
 McDowell, Josh. Hostetler, Bob. Josh McDowell’s Handbook on Counselling Youth. Dallas, Tx.: Word Publishing, 1996, pg. 390
,  “11 Facts About Teens and Alcohol”. dosomething.org. http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-teens-and-alcohol
 “Statistics on Alcoholics”. Alcoholics Info. http://www.alcoholics-info.com/Statistics_on_Alcoholics.html
 Schapiro, Jeff. “Ministry Cancels Fundraiser Featuring ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Over Wine Deal”. The Christian Post, 12, November 2013 http://www.christianpost.com/news/ministry-cancels-fundraiser-featuring-duck-dynasty-star-over-wine-deal-108626/
 Brumbelow, David R. Ancient Wine and the Bible. Carollton, Ga. Free Church Press, 2011 pg. 135
 Ibid, pgs. 249-250
MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE REVOKES BAN ON ALCOHOL FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
By Dr. Mark Creech, Ex. Dir., Christian Action League, to American Family Radio
League of North Carolina, Inc.
October 3, 2013
The decision by Moody Bible Institute, a great
bastion of conservative evangelicalism, committed to the authority of
Scripture, to remove its ban on alcohol use by its staff is one of the saddest
of developments, negatively highlighting the pervasiveness of worldly influence
on the church I have witnessed for some time.
Other good Christian schools have also taken a
similar course in recent years by lifting their bans on alcohol, but it’s the
Some say that to impose such rules are a form of
legalism or Pharisaical in nature. They say there is no definitive word in the
Bible against alcohol use. But I would suggest the case against alcohol use in
the Scriptures is no less as strong or as absolute as the case against slavery or
gambling or the use of certain drugs like marijuana. Nowhere does the Bible
actually say regarding any of these matters, “Thou shalt not.” But the
principles of Scripture, I would suggest, clearly steer people to reject them.
Legalism is trying to earn one’s salvation through merit. Legalism is not
trying to live a godly life with biblical convictions. Neither is it legalism for
a Christian institution of higher learning to require its faculty and staff to
maintain a certain example for the sake of its students – several of which may
be weak and more vulnerable to abuse or addiction issues.
There is no question that some students will stumble
because of this decision by Moody. The Scriptures say, ”It is better not to eat
meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or
sister to fall.” (Rom. 14:21).
It boggles my mind and breaks my heart that an
institution of such great stature has dropped its guard in this way. I have
always deeply respected and loved Moody, and I still do, but by lowering their
standard they have also unintentionally undermined the numerous Christian advocacy
groups who have worked diligently over the years in addressing matters
pertaining to alcohol and the need to protect the public’s health.
Sometimes I wonder if God in His sovereignty is
allowing a diminishing of our religious liberties because we have dropped our
standards and will no longer make sacrifices, fight or speak out to protect
people from those activities that can hold so many of them in bondage.
Someone who had a profound impact on my own ministry
was Dr. George Sweeting, one-time president of Moody, who rightly argued at the
“One cannot drink without giving endorsement to a
baneful custom and a conscienceless enterprise. It is unthinkable that a
Christian should contribute to an industry that deals in death, misery, and the
ruin of countless lives…Social drinking is at best “détente” with a god that
holds millions in bondage.”
I cannot speak for all Christians, obviously, but I
do speak for many across the country when I implore Moody to reconsider this