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Contribution of Excessive Alcohol Consumption to Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States

June 30, 2014 Comments off

Contribution of Excessive Alcohol Consumption to Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

Introduction
Excessive alcohol consumption is a leading cause of premature mortality in the United States. The objectives of this study were to update national estimates of alcohol-attributable deaths (AAD) and years of potential life lost (YPLL) in the United States, calculate age-adjusted rates of AAD and YPLL in states, assess the contribution of AAD and YPLL to total deaths and YPLL among working-age adults, and estimate the number of deaths and YPLL among those younger than 21 years.

Methods
We used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Alcohol-Related Disease Impact application for 2006–2010 to estimate total AAD and YPLL across 54 conditions for the United States, by sex and age. AAD and YPLL rates and the proportion of total deaths that were attributable to excessive alcohol consumption among working-age adults (20-64 y) were calculated for the United States and for individual states.

Results
From 2006 through 2010, an annual average of 87,798 (27.9/100,000 population) AAD and 2.5 million (831.6/100,000) YPLL occurred in the United States. Age-adjusted state AAD rates ranged from 51.2/100,000 in New Mexico to 19.1/100,000 in New Jersey. Among working-age adults, 9.8% of all deaths in the United States during this period were attributable to excessive drinking, and 69% of all AAD involved working-age adults.

Conclusions
Excessive drinking accounted for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults in the United States. AAD rates vary across states, but excessive drinking remains a leading cause of premature mortality nationwide. Strategies recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force can help reduce excessive drinking and harms related to it.

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New From the GAO

June 25, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Information Security: Additional Oversight Needed to Improve Programs at Small Agencies. GAO-14-344, June 25.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-344
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664420.pdf

2. Aviation Safety: Additional Oversight Planning by FAA Could Enhance Safety Risk Management. GAO-14-516, June 25.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-516
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664401.pdf

3. Traffic Safety: Alcohol Ignition Interlocks Are Effective While Installed; Less Is Known about How to Increase Installation Rates. GAO-14-559, June 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-559
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664282.pdf

4. Diplomatic Security: Overseas Facilities May Face Greater Risks Due to Gaps in Security-Related Activities, Standards, and Policies. GAO-14-655, June 25.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-655
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664423.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/664325

Testimonies

1. Export-Import Bank: Status of GAO Recommendations on Risk Management, Exposure Forecasting, and Workload Issues, by Mathew J. Scirè, director, financial markets and community investment, before the House Committee on Financial Services. GAO-14-708T, June 25.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-708T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664379.pdf

2. Medicare Fraud: Further Actions Needed to Address Fraud, Waste, and Abuse, by Kathleen M. King, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-14-712T, June 25.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-712T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664382.pdf

Paternal Alcohol Exposure Reduces Alcohol Drinking and Increases Behavioral Sensitivity to Alcohol Selectively in Male Offspring

June 17, 2014 Comments off

Paternal Alcohol Exposure Reduces Alcohol Drinking and Increases Behavioral Sensitivity to Alcohol Selectively in Male Offspring
Source: PLoS ONE

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is heritable, but the genetic basis for this disease remains poorly understood. Although numerous gene variants have been associated with AUD, these variants account for only a small fraction of the total risk. The idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics, i.e. “epigenetic inheritance,” is re-emerging as a proven adjunct to traditional modes of genetic inheritance. We hypothesized that alcohol drinking and neurobiological sensitivity to alcohol are influenced by ancestral alcohol exposure. To test this hypothesis, we exposed male mice to chronic vapor ethanol or control conditions, mated them to ethanol-naïve females, and tested adult offspring for ethanol drinking, ethanol-induced behaviors, gene expression, and DNA methylation. We found that ethanol-sired male offspring had reduced ethanol preference and consumption, enhanced sensitivity to the anxiolytic and motor-enhancing effects of ethanol, and increased Bdnf expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) compared to control-sired male offspring. There were no differences among ethanol- and control-sired female offspring on these assays. Ethanol exposure also decreased DNA methylation at the BdnfÆpromoter of sire’s germ cells and hypomethylation was maintained in the VTA of both male and female ethanol-sired offspring. Our findings show that paternal alcohol exposure is a previously unrecognized regulator of alcohol drinking and behavioral sensitivity to alcohol in male, but not female, offspring. Paternal alcohol exposure also induces epigenetic alterations (DNA hypomethylation) and gene expression changes that persist in the VTA of offspring. These results provide new insight into the inheritance and development of alcohol drinking behaviors.

See: Dad’s alcohol consumption could influence sons’ drinking, Pitt study finds (EurekAlert!)

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2013

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2013 (PDF)
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
From press release:

Cigarette smoking rates among high school students have dropped to the lowest levels since the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) began in 1991, according to the 2013 results released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By achieving a teen smoking rate of 15.7 percent, the United States has met its national Healthy People 2020External Web Site Icon objective of reducing adolescent cigarette use to 16 percent or less.

Despite this progress, reducing overall tobacco use remains a significant challenge. For example, other national surveys show increases in hookah and e-cigarette use. In the YRBS, no change in smokeless tobacco use was observed among adolescents since 1999, and the decline in cigar use has slowed in recent years, with cigar use now at 23 percent among male high school seniors.

Acute Binge Drinking Increases Serum Endotoxin and Bacterial DNA Levels in Healthy Individuals

June 10, 2014 Comments off

Acute Binge Drinking Increases Serum Endotoxin and Bacterial DNA Levels in Healthy Individuals
Source: PLoS ONE

Binge drinking, the most common form of alcohol consumption, is associated with increased mortality and morbidity; yet, its biological consequences are poorly defined. Previous studies demonstrated that chronic alcohol use results in increased gut permeability and increased serum endotoxin levels that contribute to many of the biological effects of chronic alcohol, including alcoholic liver disease. In this study, we evaluated the effects of acute binge drinking in healthy adults on serum endotoxin levels. We found that acute alcohol binge resulted in a rapid increase in serum endotoxin and 16S rDNA, a marker of bacterial translocation from the gut. Compared to men, women had higher blood alcohol and circulating endotoxin levels. In addition, alcohol binge caused a prolonged increase in acute phase protein levels in the systemic circulation. The biological significance of the in vivo endotoxin elevation was underscored by increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, TNFα and IL-6, and chemokine, MCP-1, measured in total blood after in vitro lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Our findings indicate that even a single alcohol binge results in increased serum endotoxin levels likely due to translocation of gut bacterial products and disturbs innate immune responses that can contribute to the deleterious effects of binge drinking.

See: Single episode of binge drinking can adversely affect health, according to new study (Science Daily)

Categories: alcohol abuse, PLoS ONE

Global status report on alcohol and health 2014

May 16, 2014 Comments off

Global status report on alcohol and health 2014
Source: World Health Organization

The report provides a global overview of alcohol consumption in relation to public health (Chapter 1) as well as information on: the consumption of alcohol in populations (Chapter 2); the health consequences of alcohol consumption (Chapter 3); and policy responses at national level (Chapter 4). In addition the report contains country profiles for WHO Member States and appendices with statistical annexes, a description of the data sources and methods used as well as references.

Reducing Alcohol-Impaired Driving: Publicized Sobriety Checkpoint Programs

May 12, 2014 Comments off

Reducing Alcohol-Impaired Driving: Publicized Sobriety Checkpoint Programs
Source: Community Preventive Services Task Force (CDC)

Publicized sobriety checkpoint programs are a form of high visibility enforcement where law enforcement officers stop drivers systematically to assess their degree of alcohol impairment. Media efforts to publicize the enforcement activity are an integral part of these programs. The program goal is to reduce alcohol-impaired driving by increasing the public’s perceived risk of arrest while also arresting alcohol-impaired drivers identified at checkpoints.

There are two types of sobriety checkpoints:

  • Selective Breath Testing (SBT) – police must have reason to suspect that a stopped driver is intoxicated before a breath test can be requested. SBT is used in the United States.
  • Random Breath Testing (RBT) – all stopped drivers are given breath tests for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. RBT is used in Australia and several European countries.

It’s five o’clock somewhere: an examination of the association between happy hour drinking and negative consequences

April 28, 2014 Comments off

It’s five o’clock somewhere: an examination of the association between happy hour drinking and negative consequences
Source: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

Background
This study aims to understand which young adults’ drinking behaviors change in the presence of happy hour specials, the ways in which they change, and whether a link exists between happy hour drinking behavior and negative outcomes.

Methods
Using data collected from bar-going respondents (n = 1,423) within a print survey administered to a general college sample (n = 2,349), we identify significant differences in changes in happy hour behavior between demographic groups using chi2 tests and determine whether this behavior is related to six negative alcohol-related outcomes using logistical and ordinary least squares regression models with a variety of controls, including age of onset and frequency of use.

Results
Women, individuals under 21, non-athletes, members of Greek-affiliated organizations, more affluent students, unemployed, and students living on campus were more likely to change their drinking behavior in the presence of happy hour specials. In general, the most robust predictors of negative events are gender, alcohol use frequency, age of onset, and increasing drinking due to happy hours/bar specials. While it was linked to various negative and illegal behaviors, altered happy hour drinking was not associated with an increased likelihood of an alcohol-related arrest.

Conclusions
This study lends support to the idea that alcohol price specials should be regulated in an effort to reduce high consumption and alcohol-related negative consequences. Future research into the relationship between happy hour drinking and negative outcomes is necessary and should examine the impact of happy hour advertisements, different types of specials, and the timing of happy hours.

Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking Statutes

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking Statutes
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Enacted in 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act set the minimum drinking age at 21. To comply with federal law, states prohibit persons under 21 years of age from purchasing or publicly possessing alcoholic beverages.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 9.3 million persons aged 12 to 20 (24.3 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month and an estimated 11.2 percent of persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.

In an effort to combat underage drinking, state legislators have enacted laws that assign responsibility to adults who allow minors to drink alcohol at social gatherings. Thirty-one states allow social hosts to be civilly liable for injuries or damages caused by underage drinkers. Twenty-six states and the Virgin Islands have criminal penalties for adults who host or permit parties with underage drinking to occur in the adults’ homes or in premises under the adults’ control. These social host statutory provisions do not apply to licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars, and liquor stores, which are covered by dram shop laws.

Gender Differences in Primary Substance of Abuse across Age Groups

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Gender Differences in Primary Substance of Abuse across Age Groups
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

+ In 2011, about 609,000 of the 1.84 million admissions to substance abuse treatment were female (33.1 percent), and 1.23 million were male (66.9 percent)
+ Compared with their male counterparts, a larger proportion of female admissions aged 12 to 17 reported alcohol as their primary substance of abuse (21.7 vs. 10.5 percent)
+ Marijuana as the primary substance of abuse was less common among female than male admissions aged 12 to 17 (60.8 vs. 80.7 percent) and 18 to 24 (22.1 vs. 33.4 percent)
+ Within the 65 or older age group, the proportion of female admissions reporting primary abuse of prescription pain relievers (e.g., oxycodone) was nearly 3 times that of their male counterparts (7.2 vs. 2.8 percent)

Daytime sleepiness: associations with alcohol use and sleep duration in americans

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Daytime sleepiness: associations with alcohol use and sleep duration in americans
Source: Sleep Disorders

The aim of the current analysis was to investigate the relationship of daytime sleepiness with alcohol consumption and sleep duration using a population sample of adult Americans. Data was analyzed from adult respondents of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2008 (N = 2919) using self-reported variables for sleepiness, sleep duration, and alcohol consumption (quantity and frequency of alcohol use). A heavy drinking episode was defined as the consumption of ≥5 standard alcoholic beverages in a day. Logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic variables and insomnia covariates were used to evaluate the relationship between daytime sleepiness and an interaction of alcohol consumption variables with sleep duration. The results showed that daytime sleepiness was reported by 15.07% of the subjects. In univariate analyses adjusted for covariates, an increased probability of daytime sleepiness was predicted by decreased log drinks per day [OR = 0.74 (95% CI, 0.58–0.95)], a decreased log drinking frequency [0.90 (95% CI, 0.83–0.98)], and lower sleep duration [OR = 0.75 (95% CI, 0.67–0.84)]. An interaction between decreased sleep duration and an increased log heavy drinking frequency predicted increased daytime sleepiness (P = 0.004). Thus, the effect of sleep duration should be considered when evaluating the relationship between daytime sleepiness and heavy drinking.

Effect of Drinking on All-Cause Mortality in Women Compared with Men: A Meta-Analysis

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Effect of Drinking on All-Cause Mortality in Women Compared with Men: A Meta-Analysis
Source: Journal of Women’s Health

Background:
Alcoholic beverages are consumed by humans for a variety of dietary, recreational, and other reasons. It is uncertain whether the drinking effect on risk of all-cause mortality is different between women and men. We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of drinking on the risk of all-cause mortality in women compared with men.

Methods:
We selected cohort studies with measures of relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for all-cause mortality for drinkers versus nondrinkers by sex. Sex-specific RR and 95% CI were used to estimate the female-to-male ratio of RR (RRR) and 95% CI. Pooled estimates of RRR across studies were obtained by the fixed-effects model or the random-effects model (if heterogeneity was detected). Second-order fractional polynomials and random effects meta-regression models were used for modeling the dose-risk relationship.

Results:
Twenty-four studies were considered eligible. A total of 2,424,964 participants (male: 1,473,899; female: 951,065) were enrolled and 123,878 deaths (male: 76,362; female: 47,516) were observed. Compared with nondrinkers, the pooled female-to-male RRR for drinkers was 1.07 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.12). Subgroup analyses showed that the increased risk among female drinkers appeared to be consistent. J-shaped dose–response relationship was confirmed between alcohol and all-cause mortality in men and women, respectively. Moreover, the female-to-male RRR of all-cause mortality were 1.52 (95% CI: 1.01, 2.29), 1.95 (95% CI: 1.08, 3.49), and 2.36 (95% CI: 1.15, 4.88), respectively, for those who consumed 75, 90, and 100 g/day of alcohol.

Conclusions:
Females had an increased risk for all-cause mortality conferred by drinking compared with males, especially in heavy drinkers. The present study suggested that female drinkers, particularly heavy drinkers, should moderate or completely reduce their level of consumption to have a health benefit.

Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants’ Social Media Postings

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants’ Social Media Postings
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Job applicants and incumbents often use social media for personal communications allowing for direct observation of their social communications “unfiltered” for employer consumption. As such, these data offer a glimpse of employees in settings free from the impression management pressures present during evaluations conducted for applicant screening and research purposes. This study investigated whether job applicants’ (N=175) personality characteristics are reflected in the content of their social media postings. Participant self-reported social media content related to (a) photos and text-based references to alcohol and drug use and (b) criticisms of superiors and peers (so-called “badmouthing” behavior) were compared to traditional personality assessments. Results indicated that extraverted candidates were prone to postings related to alcohol and drugs. Those low in agreeableness were particularly likely to engage in online badmouthing behaviors. Evidence concerning the relationships between conscientiousness and the outcomes of interest was mixed.

Web-Based Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for University Students: A Randomized Trial

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Web-Based Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for University Students: A Randomized Trial
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

Importance
Unhealthy alcohol use is a leading contributor to the global burden of disease, particularly among young people. Systematic reviews suggest efficacy of web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention and call for effectiveness trials in settings where it could be sustainably delivered.

Objective
To evaluate a national web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention program.

Design, Setting, and Participants
A multisite, double-blind, parallel-group, individually randomized trial was conducted at 7 New Zealand universities. In April and May of 2010, invitations containing hyperlinks to the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C) screening test were e-mailed to 14 991 students aged 17 to 24 years.

Interventions
Participants who screened positive (AUDIT-C score ≥4) were randomized to undergo screening alone or to 10 minutes of assessment and feedback (including comparisons with medical guidelines and peer norms) on alcohol expenditure, peak blood alcohol concentration, alcohol dependence, and access to help and information.

Main Outcomes and Measures
A fully automated 5-month follow-up assessment was conducted that measured 6 primary outcomes: consumption per typical occasion, drinking frequency, volume of alcohol consumed, an academic problems score, and whether participants exceeded medical guidelines for acute harm (binge drinking) and chronic harm (heavy drinking). A Bonferroni-corrected significance threshold of .0083 was used to account for the 6 comparisons and a sensitivity analysis was used to assess possible attrition bias.

Results
Of 5135 students screened, 3422 scored 4 or greater and were randomized, and 83% were followed up. There was a significant effect on 1 of the 6 prespecified outcomes. Relative to control participants, those who received intervention consumed less alcohol per typical drinking occasion (median 4 drinks [interquartile range {IQR}, 2-8] vs 5 drinks [IQR 2-8]; rate ratio [RR], 0.93 [99.17% CI, 0.86-1.00]; P = .005) but not less often (RR, 0.95 [99.17% CI, 0.88-1.03]; P = .08) or less overall (RR, 0.95 [99.17% CI, 0.81-1.10]; P = .33). Academic problem scores were not lower (RR, 0.91 [99.17% CI, 0.76-1.08]; P = .14) and effects on the risks of binge drinking (odds ratio [OR], 0.84 [99.17% CI, 0.67-1.05]; P = .04) and heavy drinking (OR, 0.77 [99.17% CI, 0.56-1.05]; P = .03) were not significantly significant. In a sensitivity analysis accounting for attrition, the effect on alcohol per typical drinking occasion was no longer statistically significant.

Conclusions and Relevance
A national web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention program produced no significant reductions in the frequency or overall volume of drinking or academic problems. There remains a possibility of a small reduction in the amount of alcohol consumed per typical drinking occasion.

Alcohol-Attributable Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost — 11 States, 2006–2010

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Alcohol-Attributable Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost — 11 States, 2006–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Excessive alcohol consumption, the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States (1), resulted in approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) annually during 2006–2010 and cost an estimated $223.5 billion in 2006 (2). To estimate state-specific average annual rates of alcohol-attributable deaths (AAD) and YPLL caused by excessive alcohol use, 11 states analyzed 2006–2010 data (the most recent data available) using the CDC Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) application. The age-adjusted median AAD rate was 28.5 per 100,000 population (range = 50.9 per 100,000 in New Mexico to 22.4 per 100,000 in Utah). The median YPLL rate was 823 per 100,000 (range = 1,534 YPLL per 100,000 for New Mexico to 634 per 100,000 in Utah). The majority of AAD (median = 70%) and YPLL (median = 82%) were among working-age (20–64 years) adults. Routine monitoring of alcohol-attributable health outcomes, including deaths and YPLL, in states could support the planning and implementation of evidence-based prevention strategies recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force to reduce excessive drinking and related harms. Such strategies include increasing the price of alcohol, limiting alcohol outlet density, and holding alcohol retailers liable for harms related to the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors and intoxicated patrons (dram shop liability) (3).

Alcohol and mortality in Russia: prospective observational study of 151 000 adults

February 5, 2014 Comments off

Alcohol and mortality in Russia: prospective observational study of 151 000 adults
Source: The Lancet

Background
Russian adults have extraordinarily high rates of premature death. Retrospective enquiries to the families of about 50 000 deceased Russians had found excess vodka use among those dying from external causes (accident, suicide, violence) and eight particular disease groupings. We now seek prospective evidence of these associations.

Methods
In three Russian cities (Barnaul, Byisk, and Tomsk), we interviewed 200 000 adults during 1999—2008 (with 12 000 re-interviewed some years later) and followed them until 2010 for cause-specific mortality. In 151 000 with no previous disease and some follow-up at ages 35—74 years, Poisson regression (adjusted for age at risk, amount smoked, education, and city) was used to calculate the relative risks associating vodka consumption with mortality. We have combined these relative risks with age-specific death rates to get 20-year absolute risks.

Findings
Among 57 361 male smokers with no previous disease, the estimated 20-year risks of death at ages 35—54 years were 16% (95% CI 15—17) for those who reported consuming less than a bottle of vodka per week at baseline, 20% (18—22) for those consuming 1—2·9 bottles per week, and 35% (31—39) for those consuming three or more bottles per week; trend p<0·0001. The corresponding risks of death at ages 55—74 years were 50% (48—52) for those who reported consuming less than a bottle of vodka per week at baseline, 54% (51—57) for those consuming 1—2·9 bottles per week, and 64% (59—69) for those consuming three or more bottles per week; trend p<0·0001. In both age ranges most of the excess mortality in heavier drinkers was from external causes or the eight disease groupings strongly associated with alcohol in the retrospective enquiries. Self-reported drinking fluctuated; of the men who reported drinking three or more bottles of vodka per week who were reinterviewed a few years later, about half (185 of 321) then reported drinking less than one bottle per week. Such fluctuations must have substantially attenuated the apparent hazards of heavy drinking in this study, yet self-reported vodka use at baseline still strongly predicted risk. Among male non-smokers and among females, self-reported heavy drinking was uncommon, but seemed to involve similar absolute excess risks.

Interpretation
This large prospective study strongly reinforces other evidence that vodka is a major cause of the high risk of premature death in Russian adults.

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Does legislation to prevent alcohol sales to drunk individuals work? Measuring the propensity for night-time sales to drunks in a UK city

January 24, 2014 Comments off

Does legislation to prevent alcohol sales to drunk individuals work? Measuring the propensity for night-time sales to drunks in a UK city
Source: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

Background
By measuring alcohol retailers’ propensity to illegally sell alcohol to young people who appear highly intoxicated, we examine whether UK legislation is effective at preventing health harms resulting from drunk individuals continuing to access alcohol.

Methods
73 randomly selected pubs, bars and nightclubs in a city in North West England were subjected to an alcohol purchase test by pseudo-drunk actors. Observers recorded venue characteristics to identify poorly managed and problematic (PMP) bars.

Results
83.6% of purchase attempts resulted in a sale of alcohol to a pseudo-intoxicated actor. Alcohol sales increased with the number of PMP markers bars had, yet even in those with no markers, 66.7% of purchase attempts resulted in a sale. Bar servers often recognised signs of drunkenness in actors, but still served them. In 18% of alcohol sales, servers attempted to up-sell by suggesting actors purchase double rather than single vodkas.

Conclusions
UK law preventing sales of alcohol to drunks is routinely broken in nightlife environments, yet prosecutions are rare. Nightlife drunkenness places enormous burdens on health and health services. Preventing alcohol sales to drunks should be a public health priority, while policy failures on issues, such as alcohol pricing, are revisited.

Vital Signs: Communication Between Health Professionals and Their Patients About Alcohol Use — 44 States and the District of Columbia, 2011

January 22, 2014 Comments off

Vital Signs: Communication Between Health Professionals and Their Patients About Alcohol Use — 44 States and the District of Columbia, 2011
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Introduction:
Excessive alcohol use accounted for an estimated 88,000 deaths in the United States each year during 2006–2010, and $224 billion in economic costs in 2006. Since 2004, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended alcohol misuse screening and behavioral counseling (also known as alcohol screening and brief intervention [ASBI]) for adults to address excessive alcohol use; however, little is known about the prevalence of its implementation. ASBI will also be covered by many health insurance plans because of the Affordable Care Act.

Methods:
CDC analyzed Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from a question added to surveys in 44 states and the District of Columbia (DC) from August 1 to December 31, 2011, about patient-reported communication with a health professional about alcohol. Elements of ASBI are traditionally delivered via conversation. Weighted state-level prevalence estimates of this communication were generated for 166,753 U.S. adults aged ≥18 years by selected demographic characteristics and drinking behaviors.

Results:
The prevalence of ever discussing alcohol use with a health professional was 15.7% among U.S. adults overall, 17.4% among current drinkers, and 25.4% among binge drinkers. It was most prevalent among those aged 18–24 years (27.9%). However, only 13.4% of binge drinkers reported discussing alcohol use with a health professional in the past year, and only 34.9% of those who reported binge drinking ≥10 times in the past month had ever discussed alcohol with a health professional. State-level estimates of communication about alcohol ranged from 8.7% in Kansas to 25.5% in DC.

Conclusions:
Only one of six U.S. adults, including binge drinkers, reported ever discussing alcohol consumption with a health professional, despite public health efforts to increase ASBI implementation.

Implications for Public Health Practice:
Increased implementation of ASBI, including systems-level changes such as integration into electronic health records processes, might reduce excessive alcohol consumption and the harms related to it. Routine surveillance of ASBI by states and communities might support monitoring and increasing its implementation.

Status report on alcohol and health in 35 European countries 2013

October 15, 2013 Comments off

Status report on alcohol and health in 35 European countries 2013
Source: World Health Organization

People in the WHO European Region consume the most alcohol per head in the world. In the European Union (EU), alcohol accounts for about 120 000 premature deaths per year: 1 in 7 in men and 1 in 13 in women. Most countries in the Region have adopted policies, strategies and plans to reduce alcohol-related harm. In 2012, the WHO Regional Office for Europe collected information on alcohol consumption and related harm, and countries policy responses to contribute to the Global Information System for Alcohol and Health; this report presented a selection of the results for 35 countries – EU Member States and candidate countries, Norway and Switzerland – individually and in groups distinguished by their drinking patterns and traditions.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe is grateful to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland, for financial support in the production of this report. This report has received funding from the European Union (EU) in the frame of the EU’s Health Programme 2008-2013.

Drinking games as a venue for sexual competition

October 10, 2013 Comments off

Drinking games as a venue for sexual competition
Source: Evolutionary Psychology

Based on sexual selection theory, we hypothesized that sex differences in mating effort and social competitiveness—and subsequent sex differences in sexual and competitive motivations for participating in drinking games—are responsible for the well-documented sex differences in college students’ drinking game behaviors. Participants in a cross-sectional study were 351 women and 336 men aged 17 to 26. In a mediation model, we tested sex differences in mating effort, social competitiveness, sexual and competitive motivations for participating in drinking games, drinking game behaviors, and alcohol-related problems. Men participated in drinking games more frequently, consumed more alcohol while participating in drinking games, and experienced more problems associated with drinking. These sex differences appeared to be partially mediated by mating effort, social competitiveness, and sexual and competitive motivations for participating in drinking games. Drinking games are a major venue in which college students engage in heavy episodic drinking, which is a risk factor for college students’ behavioral and health problems. Thus, the functional perspective we used to analyze them here may help to inform public health and university interventions and enable better identification of at-risk students.

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