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Prosecuting Alcohol-Fueled Sexual Assault (2007)

February 16, 2015 Comments off

Prosecuting Alcohol-Fueled Sexual Assault (PDF)
Source: National District Attorneys Association

Despite the prevalence of alcohol-facilitated sexual assault (AFSA), a n umber of barriers to successful prosecution exist. First, the use of alcohol in American society is quite common. Jurors may question whether the offender actually committed rape or just had consensual, albeit drunken, sex with the victim. Second, jurors may view a voluntarily intoxicated victim with skepticism or dislike, and may assume that she put herself in danger with her behavior. Research has demonstrated that individuals tend to view women who drink or get drunk as more sexual- ly available, and more likely to engage in sexual acts than women who abstain from alcohol. Third, AFSA cases are complicated by the physical manifestations of alcohol. “Alcohol decreases inhibitions, impairs percep- tion, and may cause amnesia and/or loss of consciousness, especially if used in conjunction with other drugs.” Victims may not be able to clear- ly perceive and/or remember the details of the assault.

This monograph discusses the prosecution of AFSA with a specific focus on AFSA when the victim is voluntarily intoxicated. It begins with a basic overview of toxicology. Next, it suggests a three-step process for prosecuting AFSA cases: (1) making the charging decision; (2) analyzing credibility and corroboration; and (3) trying the case. Finally, the monograph provides techniques for overcoming common defenses.

Drunk driving declines, while drug use behind the wheel rises

February 9, 2015 Comments off

Drunk driving declines, while drug use behind the wheel rises
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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.

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.

Government of Canada Reveals New Research on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use

February 6, 2015 Comments off

Government of Canada Reveals New Research on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use
Source: Health Canada

The Government of Canada published today the results of the 2013 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey (CTADS), which demonstrate progress made in sustaining all-time lows in smoking rates, while also highlighting the need for continued attention to issues such as marijuana use among youth and prescription drug abuse.

The CTADS is a national general population survey of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians aged 15 years and older, with a focus on 15-24 year olds. More than 14,500 Canadians were interviewed for the survey, conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of Health Canada.

The survey includes the first national data on e-cigarette use, which will add to the growing body of knowledge Health Canada is gathering to determine next steps in regulating this product. Last fall, Minister Ambrose asked the Standing Committee on Health to study the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarettes and to seek the advice of a variety of health stakeholders. The Standing Committee report is expected to be released in early 2015.

Understanding trends in tobacco, alcohol and drug use is vital to the effective development and implementation of strategies, policies and programs. The CTADS data will contribute to sources of evidence as the Government of Canada continues to create policies and programs that respond to the needs of Canadians and protect health and safety.

This is the first release of the CTADS, which merged two previous survey tools – the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) and the Canadian Drug and Alcohol Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS), streamlining federal efforts and representing the first time that tobacco, drug and alcohol data has been reported together.

Alcohol poisoning kills six people in the US each day

January 8, 2015 Comments off

Alcohol poisoning kills six people in the US each day
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

More than 2,200 people die from alcohol poisoning each year in the United States – an average of six deaths each day – according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Three in four alcohol poisoning deaths involve adults ages 35-64 years, and most deaths occur among men and non-Hispanic whites. American Indians/Alaska Natives have the most alcohol poisoning deaths per million people.

Alcohol poisoning deaths are caused by drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This can result in very high levels of alcohol in the body, which can shutdown critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature – resulting in death.

Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens (PDF)
Source: University of Michigan Monitoring the Future Survey

A national survey of students in U.S. middle schools and high schools shows some important improvements in levels of substance use.

Both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 are at their lowest points since the study began in 1975. Use of a number of illicit drugs also show declines this year.

These findings come from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, which tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Each year the national study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools throughout the United States.

See also: E-cigarettes surpass tobacco cigarettes among teens (PDF)

Prevalence of Alcohol Dependence Among US Adult Drinkers, 2009–2011

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Prevalence of Alcohol Dependence Among US Adult Drinkers, 2009–2011
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

Introduction
Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for 88,000 deaths annually and cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006. It is often assumed that most excessive drinkers are alcohol dependent. However, few studies have examined the prevalence of alcohol dependence among excessive drinkers. The objective of this study was to update prior estimates of the prevalence of alcohol dependence among US adult drinkers.

Methods
Data were analyzed from the 138,100 adults who responded to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009, 2010, or 2011. Drinking patterns (ie, past-year drinking, excessive drinking, and binge drinking) were assessed by sociodemographic characteristics and alcohol dependence (assessed through self-reported survey responses and defined as meeting ≥3 of 7 criteria for dependence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition).

Results
Excessive drinking, binge drinking, and alcohol dependence were most common among men and those aged 18 to 24. Binge drinking was most common among those with annual family incomes of $75,000 or more, whereas alcohol dependence was most common among those with annual family incomes of less than $25,000. The prevalence of alcohol dependence was 10.2% among excessive drinkers, 10.5% among binge drinkers, and 1.3% among non-binge drinkers. A positive relationship was found between alcohol dependence and binge drinking frequency.

Conclusion
Most excessive drinkers (90%) did not meet the criteria for alcohol dependence. A comprehensive approach to reducing excessive drinking that emphasizes evidence-based policy strategies and clinical preventive services could have an impact on reducing excessive drinking in addition to focusing on the implementation of addiction treatment services.

Combined impact of healthy lifestyle factors on colorectal cancer: a large European cohort study

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Combined impact of healthy lifestyle factors on colorectal cancer: a large European cohort study
Source: BMC Medicine

Background
Excess body weight, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and certain dietary factors are individually related to colorectal cancer (CRC) risk; however, little is known about their joint effects. The aim of this study was to develop a healthy lifestyle index (HLI) composed of five potentially modifiable lifestyle factors – healthy weight, physical activity, non-smoking, limited alcohol consumption and a healthy diet, and to explore the association of this index with CRC incidence using data collected within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.

Methods
In the EPIC cohort, a total of 347,237 men and women, 25- to 70-years old, provided dietary and lifestyle information at study baseline (1992 to 2000). Over a median follow-up time of 12 years, 3,759 incident CRC cases were identified. The association between a HLI and CRC risk was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression models and population attributable risks (PARs) have been calculated.

Results
After accounting for study centre, age, sex and education, compared with 0 or 1 healthy lifestyle factors, the hazard ratio (HR) for CRC was 0.87 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.44 to 0.77) for two factors, 0.79 (95% CI: 0.70 to 0.89) for three factors, 0.66 (95% CI: 0.58 to 0.75) for four factors and 0.63 (95% CI: 0.54 to 0.74) for five factors; P-trend <0.0001. The associations were present for both colon and rectal cancers, HRs, 0.61 (95% CI: 0.50 to 0.74; P for trend <0.0001) for colon cancer and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.53 to 0.88; P-trend <0.0001) for rectal cancer, respectively (P-difference by cancer sub-site = 0.10). Overall, 16% of the new CRC cases (22% in men and 11% in women) were attributable to not adhering to a combination of all five healthy lifestyle behaviours included in the index.

Conclusions
Combined lifestyle factors are associated with a lower incidence of CRC in European populations characterized by western lifestyles. Prevention strategies considering complex targeting of multiple lifestyle factors may provide practical means for improved CRC prevention.

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