Print    E-Mail   Widgets      Share External link. Please review our Disclaimer 

More Research and Resources

Experimentation and Pleasure-Seeking Traits Linked With Alcohol-Related Problems

Individuals with a trait for experimenting and those with a natural preference for pleasurable activities were at a greater risk for alcohol-related problems, reports “Sweet-Liking Is Associated With Transformation of Heavy Drinking Into Alcohol-Related Problems in Young Adults With High Novelty Seeking.” Specifically, the frequency and amount of alcohol consumed correlated with the high-novelty-seeking phenotype and the sweet-liking phenotype. The term “novelty-seeking phenotype” refers to “a trait that promotes experimentation,” and the term “sweet-liking phenotype” refers to a pleasure-seeking trait. Researchers Alexey Kampov-Polevoy et al. analyzed data from a sample of 163 young adults (18 to 26 years old) to assess the extent to which a high-novelty-seeking phenotype and the sweet-liking phenotype contributed to alcohol-related problems in young adults. The journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research featured this study’s findings in its July 2014 issue. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this research. 

Back To Top


August 28 Webinar: Responsible Beverage Service From Theory to Practice

Join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on August 28, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EDT, for a free webinar titled Responsible Beverage Service Training From Theory to Practice. Michael Sparks, M.A., alcohol policy specialist and President of SparksInitiatives; Ari Russell, Executive Director of GUIDE, Inc.; and Katherine Durbin, Division Chief of Licensure, Regulation and Education for the Montgomery County (MD) Department of Liquor Control will:

  • Discuss responsible beverage service (RBS) training as well as the theory and research base behind it;
  • Discuss opportunities and challenges experienced in real-life implementation of RBS training; and
  • Examine the benefits to underage drinking prevention when RBS is implemented as part of a comprehensive environmental prevention approach.

Downloadable speakers’ slides will be provided. A question-and-answer session will be included. For more information about this webinar, the speakers, and webinar registration, visit https://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/TownHallMeetings/whatsnew/webinar_rbs.aspx.

Please contact us at info@stopalcoholabuse.net if you have any questions about the webinar.

Back To Top


Robust Alcohol Policy Reduces Binge Drinking

Individuals residing in states with robust alcohol policy environments were less likely to engage in binge drinking, frequent binging, or high-intensity binge drinking, according to “The Alcohol Policy Environment and Policy Subgroups as Predictors of Binge Drinking Measures Among US Adults.” Specifically, the study reports that a 10-percentage-point increase in the strength of a state’s alcohol policy correlated with an 8-percent reduction in individuals engaging in all types of binge drinking in the previous month. The study, authored by a panel of alcohol policy experts, was published in the August 2014 issue of American Journal of Public Health. “This study shows that alcohol policies matter—and matter a lot—for reducing a person’s risk of binge drinking, which is a leading cause of premature death and disability in the U.S.,” said Ziming Xuan, Sc.D., S.M., M.A., the lead author. The National Institutes of Health funded this study.  

Back To Top


NIAAA Release Alcohol Alert, Number 87

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recently released Alcohol Alert, Number 87. This Alcohol Alert examines the local, national, and global impacts of alcohol on society, and it also addresses alcohol’s influence on different subpopulations, such as underage youths and college students. The topics covered in this alert include:

  • Alcohol consumption;
  • Alcohol-related mortality, globally;
  • Alcohol-related injuries;
  • Alcohol-related chronic diseases;
  • Alcohol’s economic burden; and
  • Alcohol use and consequences on subpopulations.

To read the full alert or previous alerts, visit http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/journals-and-reports/alcohol-alert.

Back To Top


College Students Prefer Face-to-Face Alcohol Prevention Interventions

College students are interested in alcohol consumption interventions via mobile applications (apps), such as apps that feature blood alcohol concentration, alcohol and health facts, and alcoholic drink tracking capabilities, according to “Integrating mHealth Mobile Applications to Reduce High Risk Drinking Among Underage Students.” Despite the promise of apps’ value as an intervention tool, students currently still prefer face-to-face interventions. Authors Donna M. Kazemi, Allyson R. Cochran, John F. Kelly, Judith B. Cornelius, and Catherine Belk analyzed college students’ views toward using mobile technology as interventions to curb the rates of risky underage drinking. The Health Education Journal featured the study’s findings in its May 2014 issue. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funded this research.

Back To Top


SAMHSA’s Bullying Prevention App Is Available

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) now has a free bullying prevention mobile application (app) titled KnowBullyingfor Android™ and iPhone® devices. The app promotes bullying prevention conversations between parents and their children. KnowBullying contains:

  • Bullying prevention conversation starters for parents and their children;
  • Bullying prevention tips;
  • Warning signs to detect bullying;
  • Reminders about when best to talk to children about bullying;
  • Useful social media tactics and advice about bullying prevention; and
  • Methods to prevent bullying in the classroom.

To download the app, visit the Apple Store for iPhone devices and Google Play for Android devices. The app is supported by a SAMHSA and StopBullying.gov federal partnership.  

Back To Top


High-Performing Schools Reduce Underage Drinking

Among low-income minority adolescents, exposure to high-performing public charter schools reduced the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors such as alcohol consumption, gang involvement, and consumption of alcohol or other drugs before sex, according to “Successful Schools and Risky Behaviors Among Low-Income Adolescents.” Researchers Mitchell D. Wong, M.D., Ph.D., et al. examined the extent to which exposure to high-performing schools lowered the prevalence of risky behaviors among low-income minority adolescents. The study’s findings appear in the August 2014 issue of Pediatrics. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences funded this project. 

Back To Top


Suicide Prevention Toolkit Available at the SAMHSA Store

The toolkit Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools is now available at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) online store. This toolkit helps school administrators create and implement suicide prevention strategies and promote behavioral health. The toolkit will assist schools with:

  • Assessing their capability to prevent suicide within the student population and respond to potential suicides;
  • Grasping effective strategies to help students at risk for suicide;
  • Understanding how to respond to suicide; and
  • Incorporating suicide prevention into other activities that promote the school’s mission.

To order more than 10 copies, e-mail order.pubs.@samhsa.hhs.gov or call 877-SAMHSA-7.

Back To Top


Substance Use Disorders Declining Among Young Adult Males

Since 2002, substance use disorders (SUDs) have steadily declined among young adult males, according to America’s Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014. The report, produced by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (the Forum), notes that the prevalence of SUDs among males ages 18 to 24 decreased from 28 percent in 2002 to 23 percent in 2012. The prevalence of SUDs among females in the same age group was 16 percent in 2002 and 2012. Among all young adults in 2012, the prevalence of past-year SUDs was higher for White non-Hispanics (21 percent) than for Hispanics (17 percent) and Black non-Hispanics (16 percent). The Forum coordinates the collection and reporting of federal data on children and families. This year’s report focuses on the health status of youth as they transition to adulthood.

Back To Top


August 18, 2014: Provide Feedback on SAMHSA’s Latest Strategic Initiatives

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) invites the public to provide comments on its latest strategic plan, titled Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015–2018. SAMHSA’s latest strategic plan builds on achievements from the previous 4 years. It also addresses the need for SAMHSA to develop a behavioral health system that promotes individual and family wellness and its connection to physical and mental well-being. SAMHSA encourages the public to provide feedback on the following Strategic Initiatives:

1.       Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness;
2.       Health Care and Health Systems Integration;
3.       Trauma and Justice;
4.       Recovery Supports;
5.       Health Information Technology; and
6.       Workforce Development.

The deadline to provide comments is August 18, 2014. Provide feedback online at http://store.samhsa.gov/leadingchange/feedback.

Back To Top


August 11: “Supporting Families With LGBTQ12-S Youth” Webisode

On August 11, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. EDT, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will launch a new webisode titled “Supporting Families With LGBTQ12-S Youth.” This webisode examines ways that communities, providers, and individuals can help support families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and/or two-spirit (LGBTQ12-S) youth. The webisode features:

·         Gary Blau, Ph.D., Child, Adolescent and Family Branch, SAMHSA (Moderator);

·         Diego Sanchez, Director of Policy, PFLAG National;

·         Sylvia Fisher, Office of Research and Evaluation, Health Resources and Services Administration; and

·         Jordan Geddes, Youth Outreach Specialist, Maryland Coalition of Families.

The live event will be available at http://bit.ly/1rKoF8Z; questions can be submitted via Twitter (hashtag #KSOC-TV), the KSOC-TV web portal, or telephone (1-800-527-1401).

SAMHSA’s webisode series provides viewers with the opportunity, over the next several months, to hear expert panels address questions about cutting-edge issues in the field of behavioral health; pose questions to the panel by Twitter, e-mail, or telephone; see related late-breaking news; learn about best practices in the field; and hear youth, young adults, and families tell their stories. 

  

 

Back To Top


Substance Use During Adolescence Linked With Long-Term Health Risks

Youth who started using substances, such as alcohol and other drugs, during childhood or adolescence were more likely to require treatment later in life, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s The TEDS Report. The report, Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18 to 30, notes that “In 2011, the majority of substance abuse treatment admissions aged 18 to 30 with known age of initiation information (74.0 percent) began substance use at the age of 17 or younger; 10.2 percent initiated use at the age of 11 or younger.” This issue of The TEDS Report compares demographic data and other characteristics of substance abuse and misuse treatment admissions across five age-of-initiation groups.

Back To Top


Alcohol and Drug Combinations Affect ED Visit Outcomes

The combination of alcohol and other drugs was more likely to result in greater harm than the consumption of alcohol alone in emergency department (ED) visits dealing with underage drinking, according to a new report from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). According to The DAWN Report, “nearly 188,000 alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visits in 2011 involved patients aged 12 to 20.” The DAWN Report suggests that parents and adult caregivers play a significant role in preventing underage drinking. The Dawn Report monitors drug-related ED visits and drug-related deaths.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s underage drinking prevention campaign “Talk. They Hear You.” encourages parents and caregivers to start talking to their children early about the dangers associated with consuming alcohol. To find additional resources about talking to youth about underage drinking, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/underagedrinking/subpagea.aspx.

Back To Top


Past Binging Affects Feeling of Intoxication

Among a sample of Mexican American and Native American young adults in California, a history of frequent binge drinking in adolescence correlated with decreases in self-reported levels of intoxication in young adulthood, according to “Associations Between a History of Binge Drinking During Adolescence and Self-Reported Responses to Alcohol in Young Adult Native and Mexican Americans.” Researchers used the expectation version of the Subjective High Assessment Scale (SHAS-E) to measure participants’ responses. SHAS-E measures how individuals might feel after consuming a standard dose of alcohol on the basis of their prior drinking experience of 12 intoxication items. Cindy L. Ehlers, Gina M. Stouffer, and David A. Gilder sought to determine the extent to which a history of binge drinking during adolescence correlated with current self-reported levels of individual responses to alcohol among a population of Native Americans and Mexican Americans. The study appeared online in the June 24, 2014, issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The National Institutes of Health funded this study.

Back To Top


False ID Laws Reduce Underage Drinking

False ID laws significantly reduced the amount of alcohol consumed by underage drinkers, according to “Can Technology Help To Reduce Underage Drinking? Evidence From the False ID Laws With Scanner Provision.” The study reports that, as a result of false ID laws, underage drinkers consumed 0.22 fewer drinks per day. The term “false ID laws” refers to laws that provide incentives to alcohol outlets to ensure that they are not selling alcohol to youth with false identification cards. Researcher Baris K. Yörük analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to examine the influence of the false ID laws on underage drinking. The study’s findings were reported online in the July 2014 issue of Journal of Health Economics. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this research.

Back To Top


Youths Targeted More in Magazine Alcohol Advertising

Sixty-eight percent and 72 percent of the top 25 alcohol brands popular among male underage drinkers and female underage drinkers, respectively, were more likely to devote a higher percentage of their national magazine advertising money to magazines with a greater concentration of readers 18–20 years old, according to “Youth Alcohol Brand Consumption and Exposure to Brand Advertising in Magazines.” The study notes that these 25 popular brands “were more likely to have underage readers ages 18–20 in the group most heavily exposed to their advertising compared with the other 308 alcohol brands advertising in magazines.” Researchers Craig S. Ross, Ph.D., M.B.A., et al. analyzed data from the 2011 U.S. national magazine readership to examine the degree to which youth and adults are exposed to magazine advertising for the alcohol brands favored among underage drinkers. The study appears online in the July 2014 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided financial support for this research.

Back To Top


July 31 Webinar: Developing Your Tribal Action Plan

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) invites tribal leaders; health care providers; and substance abuse, mental health, and social services professionals and community champions for change to register for a free webinar titled Developing Your Tribal Plan. This webinar, hosted by SAMHSA’s Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse, will be held on July 31, 2014, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. EDT. Presenters Rod K. Robinson, M.A., M.A.C., LAT, LAC; Michael Koscinski, M.S., M.S.W.; and Marcy Ronyak, Ph.D., LICSW, CDP will discuss the following:

  • The Tribal Action Planning Process;
  • Values and proven outcomes of the Tribal Action Planning Process; and
  • Overall interagency efforts authorized under the Tribal Law and Order Act.

 Tribal Action Plans support tribes in coordinating resources and programs to achieve their goals for preventing and treating substance use disorders in their communities.

Register online at https://copper.adobeconnect.com/_a1025219898/r9lb87f2nwm.

Back To Top


Environmental Context Linked With Youth Alcohol Consumption

Exposure to deviant peers, poor family functioning, and associations with drinking peers in adolescence were varying risk factors for adult alcohol use, according to Childhood and Adolescent Predictors of Heavy Episodic Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder at Ages 21 and 33: A Domain-Specific Cumulative Risk Model.” At age 21 (transition to adulthood), family alcohol and peer alcohol environments experienced during adolescence were the strongest predictors of alcohol-related problems; by age 33 (beyond the normative peak age), poor family functioning during adolescence was the stronger predictor of alcohol problems. The study recommends interventions that address alcohol-specific risk factors and mechanisms to improve children’s peer and family environments. Authors Jungeun Olivia Lee, et al., analyzed data from the Seattle Social Development Project to assess the extent to which general or alcohol-specific influences in the family, peer, and school contexts predicted alcohol-related problems at ages 21 and 33. The study appears online in the July 2014 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol and the National Institute on Drug Abuse partially funded this project. 

Back To Top


College Freshmen Who Date More Tend To Drink More

Romantic Relationship Status and Alcohol Use and Problems Across the First Year of College” reports that first-year college students who dated several people consumed more alcohol and experienced more alcohol-related problems when compared with singles or those in exclusive relationships at followup assessment. Additionally, the transition from being in an exclusive relationship to being single correlated with more alcohol-related problems among first-year college students. Researchers Jessica E. Salvatore, Kenneth S. Kendler, and Danielle M. Dick analyzed data from a longitudinal study of college students to assess relationships among relationship status, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems during the first year of college. The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs featured the study’s findings in its July 2014 issue. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this study.

Back To Top


Sports Participation Linked With Alcohol Initiation Among Youth

According to “Participation in Team Sports and Alcohol and Marijuana Use Initiation Trajectories,” “Participation in sport appears to be a protective factor against marijuana initiation, but it might increase early initiation of alcohol use in youth.” The study findings suggest that the competitive nature of athletes may contribute to them consuming more alcohol, although athletes may shy away from marijuana use due to the possibility of drug testing. Authors Nadra Erin Lisha, William D. Crano, and Kevin L. Delucchi analyzed data from 8,179 youth from the National Survey of Parents and Youth to examine the influence of sports participation on alcohol and marijuana use. The Journal of Drug Issues featured this study in its January 2014, issue. The National Institute on Drug Abuse supported this study. 

Back To Top


Singles More Likely To Drink Before Sex

Sexually active drinkers who were single were three times more likely to consume alcohol frequently before sex when compared with individuals in a romantic relationship and six times more likely to consume alcohol before sex when compared with those without an alcohol use disorder (AUD). These were the conclusions reported in “Regularly Drinking Alcohol Before Sex in the United States: Effects of Relationship Status and Alcohol Use Disorders.” The study, which included legal-age and underage drinkers, recommends interventions that emphasize the dangers associated with consuming alcohol before having sex. Ronald G. Thompson, Jr., Nicholas R. Eaton, Mei-Chen Hu, Bridget F. Grant, and Deborah S. Hasin analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions to examine the frequency of consuming alcohol before having sex among individuals who were single, who were partnered, and who had an AUD. The findings were reported in the June 4, 2014, issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The National Institutes of Health partially funded this research. 

Back To Top


Bar Density Linked With Underage Drinking

A study of 50 cities in California reveals that adolescent alcohol use and heavy drinking were higher in communities with greater levels of adult drinking and bar density over a 3-year period, according to “Effects of the Local Alcohol Environment on Adolescents’ Drinking Behaviors and Beliefs.” The study suggests that bar density serves as an indicator for alcohol availability and speaks to community norms about the acceptability of alcohol use. However, robust alcohol control policy and enforcement correlated with lower rates of alcohol use among adolescents. Authors Mallie J. Paschall, Sharon Lipperman-Kreda, and Joel W. Grube analyzed data from 1,478 adolescents and 8,553 adults to examine the relationship between the local alcohol environment and underage drinking. The term “local alcohol environment” refers to alcohol control policies, enforcement, adult drinking, and bar density. The study’s findings were reported in the March 2014, issue of Addiction. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this study. 

Back To Top


Alcohol Outlets on School Routes Increase Students’ Drug Exposure

Youth who walked past alcohol outlets on their way to school were more likely to be offered alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD), reports “Risk for Exposure to Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs on the Route to and From School: The Role of Alcohol Outlets.” Additionally, the youth were more likely to see people selling and using drugs. Researchers from the University of California–Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health investigated the relationship between the existence of alcohol outlets on youth’s school routes and the subsequent exposure to ATOD. The study appeared online in the February 14, 2014, issue of Prevention Science. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this study. 

Back To Top


White House Releases 2014 National Drug Control Strategy

In releasing the 2014 National Drug Control Strategy, President Barack Obama stated that “Illicit drug use and its consequences challenge our shared dream of building for our children a country that is healthier, safer, and more prosperous.” The 2014 Strategy recommends the following:

  •         A national prevention system that is grounded at the community level;
  •          Prevention efforts that encompass the range of settings in which young people grow up; and
  •          A method of developing and spreading information about youth drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.

The Strategy is designed to continue ongoing progress in reducing underage drinking. One of its specific objectives is to “Decrease the lifetime prevalence of 8th graders who have used drugs, alcohol, or tobacco by 15 percent.”

For more information on prevention resources, visit https://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/resources/default.aspx.

Back To Top


Underage Drinking Prevention Grant Available for Tribal Communities

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) announced in “OJJDP FY 2014 Tribal Healing to Wellness Court Responses to Underage Drinking Initiativea funding opportunity targeted at underage drinking prevention and reduction in selected tribal communities. Eligible applicants are federally recognized tribal governments that are operating juvenile, juvenile and family, and family tribal drug courts, which are regarded as vehicles to combat underage drinking in tribal communities. The deadline to submit an application is August 1, 2014. For more information about this funding opportunity, view the grant’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Back To Top


American Indians Who Attended College or Are New Parents Drink Less Alcohol

In a survey of American Indians, respondents reported consuming less alcohol after becoming parents in the past year, according to “Adult Social Roles and Alcohol Use Among American Indians.” However, respondents with full-time jobs and single respondents were more likely to binge drink. The study also reports that respondents who attended college were less likely to drink than those who did not attend college. Authors Kaylin M. Greene, Tamela McNulty Eitle, and David Eitle analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine the extent to which adult roles contributed to alcohol consumption among American Indians. The study appeared online in the May 7, 2014, issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institutes of Health funded this research. 

Back To Top


Excessive Alcohol Consumption Linked With Nearly 90,000 Adult Deaths Annually

“From 2006 through 2010, excessive alcohol consumption accounted for nearly 1 in 10 deaths and over 1 in 10 years of potential life lost (YPLL) among working-age (20–60 years old) adults in the United States,” reports “Contribution of Excessive Alcohol Consumption to Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States.” The study reports that, from 2006 to 2010, an average of 87,798 deaths occurred annually because of alcohol use. The study also linked 2,560,290 YPLL to alcohol consumption. Researchers Mandy Stahre, Jim Roeber, Dafna Kanny, Robert D. Brewer, and Xingyou Zhang sought to assess, in part, the contribution of alcohol-attributable deaths and YPLL to the total deaths and YPLL among working-age adults as well as the number of deaths and YPLL among individuals under age 21. The study appears online in the June 26, 2014, issue of Preventing Chronic Disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded this study.  

Back To Top


July 15 Webinar: Early Adverse Experiences, Brain Development, & Risk

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is inviting individuals to register for a free webinar on Early Adverse Experiences and Brain Development: Implications For Prevention, Intervention, & Reducing Long Term Risk. This webinar, hosted by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, will be held on July 15, 2014, from 2:00–3:30 p.m. EDT. Presenter Johanna Bick, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School, will:

  • Discuss how prevention and early intervention efforts can support healthier, more normative neurodevelopmental trajectories in at-risk-individuals; and
  • Emphasize the implications for reducing the risk for long-term behavioral health difficulties (i.e., affective disorders and substance abuse problems).

Register online at https://nasmhpd.memberclicks.net/index.php?option=com_mc&view=mc&mcid=form_168474.

Back To Top


Alcohol Use Higher Among Sexual Minority Youth

Young people of minority sexual orientation (e.g., bisexual, gay, or lesbian) reported more lifetime drinking and earlier alcohol use initiation than their heterosexual peers, according to “Exploring Alcohol-Use Behaviors Among Heterosexual and Sexual Minority Adolescents: Intersections With Sex, Age, and Race/Ethnicity.” The study also reports that sexual minority youth (SMY) reported more frequent drinking and heavy episodic drinking during the past 30 days than heterosexual youths. Alcohol-use disparities were largest for bisexual youth, younger SMY, and sexual-minority girls. Authors Amelia E. Talley, Tonda L. Hughes, Frances Aranda, Michelle Birkett, and Michael P. Marshal analyzed data from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Surveys to assess the prevalence of alcohol use among SMY by gender, age, and race/ethnicity. The American Journal of Public Health featured this study in its February 2014, issue. The National Institutes of Health funded this project.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services publication Building Bridges: LGBT Populations: A Dialogue on Advancing Opportunities for Recovery from Addictions and Mental Health Problemsprovides additional insights about issues affecting substance abuse among sexual minority individuals.

Back To Top


Living in a Highly Disadvantaged Neighborhood Influences Early Alcohol Use

Living in a highly disadvantaged neighborhood appears to have a cascading influence on risk factors for early alcohol use. According to “Early Adolescent Alcohol Use in Context: How Neighborhoods, Parents, and Peers Impact Youth,” youth living in disadvantaged neighborhoods were more likely to exhibit delinquent behaviors, leading to an increase in rulebreaking. Rulebreaking, in turn, predicted alcohol use among adolescents. Additionally, adolescent association with delinquent peers and alcohol use contributed to lower parental involvement rather than being a consequence of poor parenting. Researchers Elisa M. Trucco, Craig R. Colder, William F. Wieczorek, Liliana J. Lengua, and Larry W. Hawk, Jr., assessed the role of neighborhood, family, and peer contexts on early adolescent alcohol use. The study’s findings appeared online in the May 2014, issue of Development and Psychopathology. The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this study.

Back To Top


More Widespread and Effective Compliance Checks Needed

Approximately one-third (30 percent) of local law enforcement agencies and two-thirds (49 to 66 percent) of state agencies reported conducting compliance checks between 2010 and 2011, as reported in Current Use of Underage Alcohol Compliance Checks by Enforcement Agencies in the United States.” This finding suggests that substantial progress has not been made over the past decade to increase the number of agencies nationally conducting checks. In addition, the only 4 to 6 percent of agencies conducting checks reported the use of all optimal practices, which are to check all establishments in a jurisdiction, conduct checks at least 3 to 4 times/year, conduct follow-up checks within 3 months, and penalize the licensee as well as the server/clerk for infractions. Compliance checks refer to law enforcement agents’ supervision of underage youth who try to buy alcohol. Authors Darin J. Erickson et al. expanded previous studies to assess the prevalence of compliance checks in different communities and enforcement agencies. The study appears online in the June 2014, issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this research.

Back To Top


Youth More LikelyTo Drink When Families Lose Socioeconomic Status

Adolescents in families who experienced a downward trend in income and socioeconomic status were more likely to have consumed alcohol within the past year than adolescents in families with low, but stable, income during their childhood, according to “Family Income Trajectory During Childhood Is Associated With Adolescent Cigarette Smoking and Alcohol Use.” Children from families with upwardly mobile trajectories were less likely to smoke than those who were disadvantaged. Researchers Insiya B. Poonawalla, Darla E. Kendzor, Margaret Tresch Owen and Margaret O. Caughy analyzed data from the 15-year longitudinal Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development to evaluate the effect of childhood family income trajectory on adolescent substance use. The study’s findings appeared online in the May 27, 2014, issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded this project. 

Back To Top


Legal-Age College Students Commonly Provide Alcohol to Underage Students

In a survey of current or recent college students between ages 21 and 26, most had provided alcohol to minors at least once, according to “Providing Alcohol to Underage Youth: The View From Young Adulthood.” Providers of alcohol to minors perceived consuming alcohol as part of the college culture, and were more concerned about potential legal consequences to themselves than health consequences to minors. Additionally, providers were likely to have higher levels of alcohol involvement during and after their college years. The findings suggest that young adults might be an important target for preventing access to alcohol by minors on campus. Researchers Amelia M. Arria, Ph.D., et al. analyzed data from the College Life Study to examine the popularity and predictors of provision of alcohol to minors, especially among college students who had recently turned age 21. The study appears online in the June 2014, issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this project. 

Back To Top


U.S.-Born Hispanics Drink at Younger Age Than Do Foreign-Born Hispanics

Hispanics born in the United States initiate alcohol use at a younger age than foreign-born Hispanics, according to “Age at First Drink, Drinking, Binge Drinking, and DSM-5 Alcohol Use Disorder Among Hispanic National Groups in the United States.” Additionally, a younger age of alcohol use initiation was linked with binge drinking, number of drinks per week, and alcohol use disorders. However, no single national group exhibited more or less association between age at first use and the studied alcohol-related consequences. Authors Raul Caetano, Britain Mills, Patrice Vaeth, and Jennifer Reingle of the University of Texas School of Public Health analyzed data from two surveys for this study: the Hispanic Americans Baseline Alcohol Survey and a household probability sample of Mexican Americans living on U.S. counties that border Mexico. The study’s findings appear online in the May 2014, issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project. 

Back To Top


CDC Releases Latest Survey of Youth Risk Behaviors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YBRS) — United States, 2013. Results from the 2013 data indicate that many high school students nationwide are engaging in health-risk behaviors associated with the four leading causes of death among 10- to 24-year-olds, which are motor vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide. Among some of the findings related to underage drinking are that nearly one fifth (18.6 percent) of high school students had drunk more than a few sips of alcohol before age 13. More than one fifth (22.4 percent) of sexually active teens had drunk alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse. During the month preceding the YBRS survey, 10 percent of high students who drive had consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, and more than one fifth (21.9 percent) had ridden at least once with someone who had been drinking. 

Back To Top


Alcohol Problems May Be a Path Between Childhood Abuse and Risky Sex

Victims of child abuse and those with higher levels of alcohol problems were more likely to engage in various types of sexual risk behaviors (SRB), according to “Pathway From Child Sexual and Physical Abuse to Risky Sex Among Emerging Adults: The Role of Trauma-Related Intrusions and Alcohol Problems.” Additionally, the study highlights the role of trauma in predicting alcohol-related problems. The study’s findings suggest that risk reduction interventions should emphasize an integrated focus on traumatic intrusions, alcohol problems, and SRB for people with child abuse histories. Authors Kate Walsh (Columbia University), Natasha Latzman (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and Robert Latzman (Georgia State University) analyzed data from 1,169 racially diverse college students to investigate the relationships among child physical or sexual abuse, trauma, and alcohol problems. The study appeared online in the April 2014, issue of Journal of Adolescent Health. The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this project. 

Back To Top


Youth Prefer Distilled Spirits When Binge Drinking

Distilled spirits, such as vodka, are the beverage of choice among youth who binge drink, reports “Beverage- and Brand-Specific Binge Alcohol Consumption Among Underage Youth in the U.S.” The study reports that “spirits accounted for 43.8 percent of binge episodes, whereas beer accounted for less than 31.4 percent of binge episodes.” Additionally, the study notes that binge drinking remains as the most common pattern of youth drinking in the United States and accounts for two-thirds of alcohol consumed by youth. Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health and the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health investigated alcoholic beverage preference among a sample of adolescents. The findings appear online in the June 2014, issue of Journal of Substance Abuse.

Back To Top


Ability To Differentiate Between Emotions Affects Alcohol-Related Problems

College students who have difficulty in telling negative emotions apart may be more susceptible to impulsive behaviors and alcohol-related problems, according to “Emotion Differentiation and Alcohol-Related Problems: The Mediating Role of Urgency.” Authors Noah N. Emery, Jeffrey S. Simons, C. Joseph Clarke, and Raluca M. Gaher conjecture that, in contrast, the ability to assess different levels of negative emotions may foster adaptive coping and a better understanding of feelings, making them less threatening. The study also found that the ability to differentiate between positive emotions produced a significant direct effect on alcohol-related problems, possibly due to a higher sensitivity to positive reinforcement. Findings on the extent to which emotion differentiation contributed to alcohol-related problems are based on an analysis of data from 102 undergraduate college students with moderate to heavy alcohol use. The study appeared online in the May 27, 2014, issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this research. 

Back To Top


Adolescent Drinking and Smoking Affects Long-Term Academics

Drinking and smoking during adolescence, especially at ages 12 and 14, predicted poor educational outcomes in young adulthood, according to “Drinking, Smoking, and Educational Achievement: Cross-Lagged Associations From Adolescence to Adulthood.” Conversely, at age 17, higher educational achievement predicted greater frequency of drinking in young adulthood. Researchers Antti Latvala et al. analyzed data from 4,761 participants to examine the extent to which alcohol consumption and smoking behavior influenced educational achievement from adolescence to young adulthood. Educational outcomes were measured by teacher-reported grade point averages for 12- and 14-year-olds and self-reports of student status and completion for 17-year-olds and older. The findings appeared online in the April 1, 2014, issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this research. 

Back To Top


Alcohol-Related Words or Images Increased Aggression

Study participants who were exposed to alcohol-related words or images were more likely to retaliate aggressively compared with those who were not exposed to alcohol constructs when provoked, according to “Are You Insulting Me? Exposure to Alcohol Primes Increases Aggression Following Ambiguous Provocation.” The study is the first to illustrate that exposure to alcohol-related constructs increases physical aggression, even in the absence of alcohol consumption. Authors William C. Pedersen, Eduardo A. Vasquez, Bruce D. Bartholow, Marianne Grosvenor, and Ana Truong analyzed data from 182 undergraduate students to support previous studies that suggested exposure to alcohol-related content leads participants to perceive others’ vague behaviors as hostile. The study appeared in the May 22, 2014, issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this research.

Back To Top


Study Findings Support Screening of Veterans for Co-Occurring Disorders

A pretreatment study of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with and without alcohol dependence (AD), found that those with co-occurring disorders had significantly higher incidence of psychopathology and reported more drinking-related symptoms. This finding underscores the importance of screening for comorbidity in clinical treatment settings. “Characteristics and Drinking Patterns of Veterans With Alcohol Dependence With and Without Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” appeared in the February 2014 issue of Addictive Behaviors. The Department of Veterans Affairs VISN (Veterans Integrated Service Network) Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; and the Department of Defense funded this research.

Back To Top


“Talk. They Hear You.” Avatar Guides Parents in Talking About Alcohol

“Talk. They Hear You.”, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national underage drinking prevention media campaign, offers Start the Talk as a way for parents to improve their skills in talking with their children about the dangers of alcohol use. Start the Talk is similar to a video game:  Using avatars, parents practice bringing up the topic of alcohol, learn the questions to ask, and get ideas for keeping the conversation going.

Back To Top


Among College Males, Driving More Likely After Marijuana Than Alcohol Use

The prevalence of underage male college students who drove after using marijuana was two times more than the number of underage male college students who drove after consuming alcohol, according to “Marijuana-Using Drivers, Alcohol-Using Drivers, and Their Passengers: Prevalence and Risk Factors Among Underage College Students.” This finding is consistent with previous studies indicating that driving after marijuana use is perceived as safer than after alcohol use and is done more frequently. Additionally, driving after drinking increased the risk of driving after marijuana use. Jennifer M. Whitehill, Ph.D., Frederick P. Rivara, M.D., M.P.H., and Megan A. Moreno, M.D., M.S.Ed., M.P.H., analyzed data from 315 first-year college students to measure the prevalence of substance-impaired driving among college students. The study appears online in the May 12, 2014, issue of JAMA Pediatrics. The National Institutes of Health funded this project. 

Back To Top


Single Binge Drinking Episode Can Disrupt Immune System Health

One binge drinking episode can negatively affect the health status of healthy individuals, reports “Acute Binge Drinking Increases Serum Endotoxin and Bacterial DNA Levels in Healthy Individuals.” Scientists report that binge drinking can lead to toxic bacterial release from the gut and can contribute to toxins in the bloodstream. Authors Shashi Bala and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School examined binge drinking’s effects on various body organs and immune system responses in healthy adults. The study’s conclusions appear online in the May 14, 2014, issue of PLOS ONE. The National Institutes of Health funded this research. According to Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “Rates of binge alcohol use in 2012 were 0.9 percent among 12 or 13 year olds, 5.4 percent among 14 or 15 year olds, 15.0 percent among 16 or 17 year olds, and 30.5 percent among persons aged 18 to 20.”

Back To Top


SAMHSA Launches Webisode Series, June 3, 2:00 p.m. EDT

On June 3, at 2:00 p.m. EDT, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will launch a new webisode series with “Supporting Young Veterans and Young Parents.” This webisode addresses the unique behavioral health needs of young veterans and young parents ages 18 to 25, and features Capt. Wanda Finch of Real Warriors and Aidan Bohlander of ZERO TO THREE. The live event will be available at http://bit.ly/RP7Ex0; questions can be submitted via Twitter (hashtag #KSOC-TV), the KSOC-TV Web portal, or telephone (1–800–527–1401). 

SAMHSA’s webisode series will provide viewers with an opportunity over the next several months to hear expert panels address questions about cutting-edge issues in the field of behavioral health; pose questions to the panel by Twitter, e-mail, or telephone; see related late-breaking news; learn about best practices in the field; and hear youth, young adults, and families tell their stories. 

Back To Top


Response to Alcohol Predicts Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms

Young adult heavy social drinkers, including underage drinkers, who were highly sensitive to the stimulating and rewarding effects of alcohol reported more alcohol use disorder symptoms over time compared to those who reported fewer positive effects of alcohol, according to “Alcohol Challenge Responses Predict Future Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms: A 6-Year Prospective Study.” The study’s findings are inconsistent with previous research that suggests that tolerance to alcohol leads to alcoholism. The University of Chicago’s researchers analyzed data from 190 non-alcohol-dependent social drinkers to examine the extent to which an individual’s response to alcohol predicted future drinking problems. The study recommended that prevention and intervention efforts should focus on natural brain reward pathways and processes. The findings appeared online in the May 15, 2014, issue of Biological Psychiatry. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism partially funded this project.

Back To Top


Using Social Media for Your Town Hall Meeting Webinar Now Online

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration webinar Using Social Media for Your Town Hall Meetings is now available for on-demand viewing. This webinar describes social media terminology, types, and benefits as well as ways that organizations can use social media to promote, capture, share, and evaluate their Town Hall Meetings to prevent underage drinking. A question-and-answer summary and PDFs of slides from the webinar also are available.

Back To Top


Resource for Preventing, Identifying Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

A recent resource about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s online store. A Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP): Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), or TIP 58, assists providers and administrators with providing FASD-informed services. The TIP reviews alcohol screening tools and interventions designed to prevent FASD among pregnant women and women of childbearing age and also offers techniques to identify individuals with FASD and suggests customized treatment plans. FASD refers to a group of disorders caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. TIP 58 reports that “the prevalence of the full spectrum of FASD in the general population is estimated at 9.1 per 1,000 live births, though a review of in-school screening and diagnosis studies suggest that the national rate could potentially be closer to 50 per 1,000.” According to data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center, FASD in babies born to mothers ages 15–20 costs the United States $1.3 billion a year.

Back To Top


May 19 Webinar: Social Host Policies From Theory to Practice

Join Michael Sparks, M.A., Alcohol Policy Specialist and President of SparksInitiatives; Jim Kooler, Dr.P.H., Administrator of the California Friday Night Live Partnership; and Carol Mullen, Coordinator of the Carroll County (Maryland) Coalition Against Underage Drinking and Maryland’s Strategic Prevention Framework grant for the webinar Social Host Policies From Theory to Practice. Panelists will discuss ways that organizations might develop, promote passage of, and encourage public compliance with social host legislation. The effectiveness of social host state laws and local ordinances also will be described, as well as challenges to their passage and enforcement. A question-and-answer session will be included. For more information about the speakers and to register, visit www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhallmeetings/whatsnew/webinar_socialhosting.aspx.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is conducting this free webinar as part of National Prevention Week, which is from May 18 to 24, 2014.  The observance is distinguished by its daily health themes.  The health theme for May 19, 2014, is prevention of underage drinking.

Back To Top


Underage Drinking Linked With Popularity Among White Adolescents

Alcohol consumption increased the popularity of white adolescents among their peers, reports “Alcohol Consumption and Social Network Ties Among Adolescents: Evidence From Add Health.” Additionally, white male adolescents appeared most at risk of using alcohol to gain popularity. Alcohol consumption did not correlate to increased popularity among Hispanic and African-American adolescents. Researchers suggest that effective underage drinking prevention interventions should focus on understanding what factors motivate adolescents to drink. Authors Mir M. Ali et al. analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescents Health to assess the extent to which underage drinking increased popularity among adolescents. The findings appear online in the May 2014 issue of Addictive Behaviors. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funded this project.

Back To Top


May 22: UDETC Webinar on Leveraging Data Sources for Prevention

The Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center (UDETC) will host a webinar on May 22, 2014, from 3:00–4:00 p.m., titled The Digital Age: Leveraging Data Sources to Address Underage Drinking. Sandeep Kasat, senior scientist at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, and Pamela Sagness, Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws state coordinator, North Dakota, will:

  • Discuss how to use social networking platforms to collect data and how to use the data to create strategies to reduce youth access to alcohol;
  • Discuss relevant data that can help participants identify trends and develop effective environmental strategies for underage drinking prevention; and
  • Explore examples of what states and organizations are doing to educate the public about recent data and trends in underage drinking prevention.

Register online at www.udetc.org/audioconfregistration.asp. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funds UDETC. 

Back To Top


Racial Discrimination Linked With Alcohol-Related Problems

Discrimination predicted alcohol-related problems but not the level of alcohol consumption among a sample of male and female African-American students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), according to “A Mediational Model of Racial Discrimination and Alcohol-Related Problems Among African American College Students.” Additionally, the study suggests that discrimination may tamper with African-American students’ capacity for emotional and behavioral self-control, which may lead to more alcohol-related problems. Researchers from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Howard University analyzed data from 741 undergraduate HBCU students to study the relationship among lifetime discrimination, alcohol use, and drinking problems. The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs featured this study in its March 2014 issue. The National Institutes of Health funded this research. 

Back To Top


New Spanish Materials for National Prevention Week

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) introduces new Spanish-language web pages for National Prevention Week (NPW) 2014. NPW, which is from May 18 to 24, is “dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues.” The material is geared to encourage more Hispanic participation in NPW. The new Spanish-language web pages include promotional materials, directions for participating in SAMHSA’s “Yo elijo” (“I choose”) Project, web badges, and a 15-second NPW overview video in Spanish. NPW’s 2014 theme is Our Lives. Our Health. Our Future, which emphasizes the significant role that each of us plays in sustaining a healthy life and ensuring a productive future. Themes for each day of NPW follow:

  • Sunday, May 18: Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco Use;
  • Monday, May 19: Prevention of Underage Drinking;
  • Tuesday, May 20: Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse and Marijuana Use;
  • Wednesday, May 21: Prevention of Alcohol Abuse;
  • Thursday, May 22: Prevention of Suicide; and
  • Friday, May 23: Promotion of Mental Health.

To learn more about NPW, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/semana-de-prevencion (Spanish) and http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week (English), or contact David Wilson at (240) 276-2588 or david.wilson@samhsa.hhs.gov.

Back To Top


Binge Drinking Linked With Risks for Diabetes

Binge drinking during adolescence increased the risk of diabetes in young adulthood among a sample of 2,850 adolescents, according to “Alcohol Consumption During Adolescence and Risk of Diabetes in Young Adulthood.” Adolescents who consumed an average of five or more drinks per setting had a greater risk of diabetes compared to those who abstained from alcohol. Authors Wenbin Liang and Tanya Chikritzhs examined the relationship between alcohol consumption during adolescence and the risk of diabetes in young adulthood. The findings appeared online in the March 17, 2014, issue of BioMed Research International. The National Institutes of Health partially funded this study.

Back To Top


Webinar on Sustaining OJJDP Tribal Youth Programs

On May 21, 2014, at 2 p.m. ET, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center will present “Using the Legacy Wheel Online Tool to Plan for Sustainability.” This 90-minute webinar will provide OJJDP’s tribal grantees with strategies on how to sustain their tribal youth programs once federal funding ends. Presenters will highlight the Legacy Wheel online model for sustainability, share a grantee example of applying the model, and explain how to implement the tool as a resource in planning how to sustain tribal youth programs over the long term. OJJDP awards youth program grants to federally recognized tribes to develop and implement culturally sensitive programs related to the prevention of delinquent behavior and behavioral health problems, including alcohol and substance abuse.  

Back To Top


NASN Radio Interview Connects School Nurses With Prevention Tools

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) has posted a radio interview with Frances Harding, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and Elizabeth Light, RN, M.S.N., NCSN, of the Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown, Delaware, to discuss underage drinking among students. Titled the Hidden Underage Drinking Problem: What School Nurses Can Do, this 12-minute interview explores the extent of the problem, effects of alcohol use on academic and social growth, and tools available to school nurses in addressing student alcohol use. Donna Mazyck, RN, M.S., NCSN, Executive Director of NASN, conducted the interview. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 73,697 registered nurses work as school nurses, which gives some indication of the impact that school nurses can have on school-based prevention efforts.

Back To Top


A Sad Song for Teens: Alcohol Brands in Pop Music

Drinking and binge drinking were more common among young people who liked or owned popular songs mentioning alcohol brand names, according to a new study reported in “Receptivity to and Recall of Alcohol Brand Appearances in U.S. Popular Music and Alcohol-Related Behaviors.” These mentions may serve as an alternate form of advertisement even if they are not sanctioned by alcohol industry businesses, notes Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh and corresponding author for the study. In their analysis of data obtained from 2,541 subjects, ages 15 to 23, Dr. Primack and his associates found an average exposure of 2.5 hours of music per day, with three to four brand mentions each hour, and they acknowledge that some teens may have greater or lesser exposure to such messages. The project was supported by the National Cancer Institute, and findings were published online on April 9, 2014, in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Back To Top


Resilience Can Help Children in Military Families Avoid Underage Drinking

Children in military families may have experiences that increase their risks for underage drinking; other substance abuse; and mental health problems, such as separation from parents due to deployment, the frequent moves that military life often involves, and the return of parents with physical or mental wounds. “Working Effectively With Military Families: 10 Key Concepts All Providers Should Know,” points out that most military families find resilience through a strong sense of purpose and deep loyalty to their loved ones, the military, and country and that they may be helped to sustain their resilience. The new factsheet was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration–supported National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and offers website addresses for resources relating to each of these 10 concepts. The Adolescence and Substance Abuse page of resources at NCTSN’s website has factsheets and other materials for and about this population.

Back To Top


April Is Alcohol Awareness Month: Host a Town Hall Meeting

An April 7, 2014, news release from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism promoting April as Alcohol Awareness Month “encourages the public to dedicate this month to understanding how excessive drinking can affect health, to evaluating their own drinking habits, and to discovering the latest developments in treatments for alcohol use disorders.” The release notes also that about 7 percent of adolescents, ages 12 to 17, consumed five or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past month. Reducing and preventing underage drinking is the focus of Town Hall Meetings sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, with events in many communities taking place in conjunction with the annual April observance. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) introduced Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987 as a yearly national observance held each April, and NCADD offers a 2014 Organizer’s Guide for participating communities.

Back To Top


SAMHSA Administrator, Surgeon General To Launch 2014 Town Hall Meetings

On Friday, April 11, 2014, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will join Acting Surgeon General Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H., and Amelia M. Arria, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland School of Public Health and The Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, in an official launch of SAMHSA’s 2014 round of underage drinking prevention Town Hall Meetings. The event is being hosted by the university at its College Park, Maryland, campus for an invited audience of national, state, and local officials; faculty, staff, and students; and members of community-based prevention coalitions. Initiated in 2006, more than 8,000 Town Hall Meetings will have been held across the United States and in its territories by the end of 2014. These events:

  • Educate community members about underage drinking consequences;
  • Empower communities to use evidence-based approaches, including environmental prevention, to reduce underage drinking, and
  • Mobilize communities around underage drinking prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

Back To Top


April 24 Webinar: Social Media in Underage Drinking Prevention

The basics of using social media as part of a community-based organization’s underage drinking prevention strategic plan will be reviewed in a free webinar on April 24, 2014, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT. Examples of the use of social media to help prevent underage drinking and to support environmental strategies will be presented in Incorporating Social Media into Your Strategic Plan, to be hosted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center. Preregistration is available online; to register by phone, call 1‐877‐335‐1287 toll free and follow the prompts. On March 12, 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration presented a webinar on a related topic, Using Social Media for Your Town Hall Meetings; an archived version is expected to become available during April.

Back To Top


New Coast Guard Regulations Address Underage Drinking

“I have concluded that there is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption by Coast Guardsmen under 21 years of age and readiness and proficiency of the force,” said U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp, in a March 14, 2014, announcement of new, standardized rules on the drinking age, alcohol consumption, and consequences for alcohol-related incidents. Setting 21 as the minimum legal drinking age for all active-duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard is included among a new slate of regulations introduced to increase accountability in the service and to reduce problems related to drinking and illegal drug use. ADM Papp has also led efforts to prevent sexual assault in the Coast Guard. On February 26, 2014, ADM Papp delivered a State of the Coast Guard address, stating, “We must succeed in preventing sexual assaults. And if we are truly going to succeed, we can no longer ignore the insidious link between the abuse of alcohol and sexual assault.”

Back To Top


Energy Drinks + Alcohol Increasing Emergency Department Visits

As concern mounts over the increasing popularity of energy drinks among adolescents and young adults, as well as their using such products in combination with alcohol, a new report finds that emergency department visits by persons ages 12 and older involving energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011 (from 10,068 to 20,783). On March 13, 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released “1 in 10 Energy Drink-Related Emergency Department Visits Results in Hospitalization.” Citing data from SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network, the new report says that 8,652 of these 20,783 hospital visits in 2011 involved energy drinks in combination with alcohol or other drugs, with 8 percent serious enough to require hospital admission. In the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Addiction Medicine, “Energy Drinks, Soft Drinks, and Substance Use Among United States Secondary School Students reported a study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, finding that energy drink consumption among 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students was “strongly and positively associated with past 30-day alcohol, cigarette, and illicit drug use.”

Back To Top


Role of Alcohol in Injury Deaths Significantly Underreported

Death certificates greatly underreported the role of alcohol in traffic deaths between 1999 and 2009 among all age groups, when compared with data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is one of the findings reported in “State Variation in Underreporting of Alcohol Involvement on Death Certificates: Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatalities as an Example.” The authors noted wide variation among states, but found that, across all states, more than 3 percent of death certificates listed alcohol as a contributing cause, while FARS figures indicated that 21.1 percent of those decedents had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. An author of the study, Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D., Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), believes that similar underreporting occurs with other types of accidental deaths, such as falls, drug poisoning/overdoses, and drowning, for which there are no mandatory blood alcohol testing or other reporting systems. The study was funded by an NIAAA contract. The findings appeared in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Back To Top


Underage Drinkers Differ From Adults in Alcohol Brand Preferences

Some alcohol brands are more popular among underage drinkers than with adults, suggesting that teens do not just mimic adult drinkers, but are influenced by other factors. The first study to compare brand-specific consumption of alcohol between underage youth and adults is described in “Differences in Alcohol Brand Consumption Between Underage Youth and Adults-United States—2012,” which was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Those who assume that underage drinking is little more than teens trying a beer or two may be surprised by the list of the 15 most popular alcohol brands favored by drinkers ages 13 to 20: Smirnoff malt beverages, Jack Daniel’s whiskeys, Mike’s malt beverages, Absolut vodkas, Heineken, Bacardi malt beverages, Grey Goose vodkas, Malibu rums, Keystone Light, Patron tequilas, Corona Extra Light, Jack Daniel’s cocktails, Burnett’s vodkas, Bud Ice, and Natural Ice beer. “Future research is urgently needed to understand to what extent other factors such as price, taste and marketing play a role in young people’s choices of these particular brands,” said study co-author David Jernigan, Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The article describing study findings appeared online on January 31, 2014, in the journal Substance Abuse.

Back To Top


Riding With an Intoxicated Driver Predicts Teen DWI

A new study of thousands of students in grades 10–12 finds that (1) many of them had ridden with an intoxicated driver in the past year and (2) those who had done so were “especially more likely” to drive while intoxicated (DWI) themselves in their senior year of high school. In their sample, researchers found that (1) 23 to 38 percent said they had ridden with a driver who was intoxicated within the past year and (2) 12 to 14 percent said they had driven while intoxicated from drugs or alcohol at least once within the past month. Results are reported in “Association Between Riding With an Impaired Driver and Driving While Impaired.” One of the authors, Bruce Simons-Morton, Ed.D., M.P.H., a senior investigator with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, commented, “It shouldn't be a surprise that you’re more likely to drink and drive if you've been around others who drink and drive and you ride with them.… But it's just wildly associated with the risk of driving while intoxicated.” The institute was joined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and others in support of the study. The article was published online on March 17, 2014, in the journal Pediatrics.

Back To Top


Alcohol, Marijuana, Cigarettes Before Age 16 = Higher Disorder Rates

About one fourth of young adults ages 24 to 32 who had used alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes before age 16 met the DSM-IV [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition] criteria for a substance use disorder, compared with only about 16 percent of young adults with such disorders who had used these same substances after age 16. These are among the findings reported in “Early Adolescent Patterns of Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Marijuana Polysubstance Use and Young Adult Substance Use Outcomes in a Nationally Representative Sample,” in the March 2014 issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism used data from Waves I (1994–1995) and IV (2008) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to estimate the prevalence of various patterns of early adolescent use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, individually and in combination. The researchers concluded that prevention programs should aim to encourage youth to delay use of all three problematic substances—alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana—since early combined use increased the likelihood of subsequent alcohol and other substance use disorders.

Back To Top


29.8 Percent of Male Probationers 18 to 49 Had Alcohol Use Disorder

More than one quarter (29.8 percent) of male probationers ages 18 to 49 in 2012 had an alcohol use disorder, according to The NSDUH Report: Trends in Substance Use Disorders among Males Aged 18 to 49 on Probation or Parole, a March 6, 2014, report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report is based on data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Alcohol is a major factor in crimes leading to incarceration among adolescents as well as adults. For example, the Bureau of Justice Statistics cites 2002 figures indicating that 37.6 percent of prisoners convicted of violent crimes reported using alcohol at the time of the offense. The new SAMHSA NSDUH report cautions that failure to address alcohol and other substance abuse problems during incarceration may lead to rearrest and reincarceration.

Back To Top


Young Sailors Are Target of New Navy Alcohol Campaign

Sailors involved in alcohol-related incidents face serious consequences, including:

  • Loss of rank, rate, or pay;
  • Separation from the U.S. Navy; and
  • Civilian consequences, such as fines and jail time.

This caution is included in Tips For Sailors, a component of the Navy’s new Keep What You’ve Earnedcampaign targeting sailors ages 17 to 24. Campaign materials include posters, separate factsheets for five target audiences (e.g., for sailors, commanders, and local communities), an implementation guide, a social media calendar, and video public serve announcements. The campaign seeks to encourage responsible drinking among sailors by celebrating the achievements in their Navy careers and aims to:

  • Inform sailors on what drinking responsibly means;
  • Educate sailors about the consequences of poor decisions regarding alcohol;
  • Promote and encourage alternatives to drinking;
  • Enable leadership to assist with sailor education; and
  • Create partnerships with Navy and civilian programs focused on the well-being of sailors.

Community-based organizations participating in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2014 underage drinking prevention Town Hall Meetings are encouraged to partner with military programs and facilities in areas they serve.

Back To Top


Early Onset Substance Abuse = Suicide Risk for Soldiers

Almost 85 percent of U.S. Army personnel who self-identified as having had a mental health disorder reported that the problem began prior to their joining the Army. For some of the disorders—including substance use disorder—an early age of onset occurred more among soldiers than among civilians. This discovery is among findings reported in one of three articles about risks for suicide and death in The Army Study To Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS), funded by the U.S. Army and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Army STARRS is the largest study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among U.S. military personnel. NIMH lists increased alcohol use as a risk factor for suicide, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has reported high levels of excessive drinking among military personnel. For example, according to NIAAA, 32.8 percent of U.S. Army personnel are heavy drinkers. The Army STARRS articles were published on March 3, 2014, in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Back To Top


Adolescent Alcohol Risks: Nurture vs. Nature

A recent study of more than 600 adoptive and biological sibling pairs concludes that environmental factors outweigh genetics as an influence on adolescent alcohol use. These findings are summarized in a brief News From the Field article in the February 2014 issue of NIAAA Spectrum, published online by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Analysis conducted by NIAAA grantees working on the Sibling Interaction and Behavior Study at the University of Minnesota focused on two major risk factors for adolescent drinking: (1) having friends who drink and otherwise get into trouble and (2) having positive expectations about drinking, such as hoping to feel more outgoing. Results showed that, overall, environmental factors had a greater effect than genetics on the associations among adolescents’ choice of peers, their expectations about alcohol, and their alcohol use. Details were reported in “Peer Deviance, Alcohol Expectancies, and Adolescent Alcohol Use: Explaining Shared and Nonshared Environmental Effects Using an Adoptive Sibling Pair Design,” published in the July 2013 issue of the journal Behavior Genetics.

Back To Top


Family Support Helps LGBT Youth Avoid Alcohol, Harmful Behaviors

On February 18, 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the release of A Practitioner’s Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children. The purpose of the guide is to encourage practitioners to be proactive in meeting parents, families, and caregivers “where they are” to build an alliance to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children and advance their health and well-being. The SAMHSA resource guide can help health care and social service practitioners provide greater insight to families on how they can support their children who are coming out or identifying themselves as LGBT. Included are positive steps that can be taken to support children and ways of avoiding or modifying behaviors that may be perceived as negative or harmful by LGBT youth. According to research cited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020, LGBT populations have the highest rates of tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use. Two other recent SAMHSA publications address underage drinking and other behavioral health concerns among LGBTs: LGBT Populations: A Dialogue on Advancing Opportunities for Recovery from Addictions and Mental Health Problems, published in December 2013, and Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations Information & Resource Kit (March 2012).

Back To Top


College Drinking Unchanged Over 30 Years

Aaron White, Ph.D., Program Director ofCollege and Underage Drinking Prevention Research, andRalph Hingson, Sc.D., Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, both at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), have written the article “The Burden of Alcohol Use: Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Related Consequences Among College Students.” Their work is a comprehensive review of recent findings, primarily relating to alcohol use and its consequences among college students ages 18 and older. In summary, they write, “Surprisingly, drinking levels have remained relatively stable on and around college campuses over the last 30 years, with roughly two out of five male and female students engaging in excessive, or binge, drinking. Excessive drinking results in a wide range of consequences, including injuries, assaults, car crashes, memory blackouts, lower grades, sexual assaults, overdoses and death. Further, secondhand effects from excessive drinking place non–binge-drinking students at higher risk of injury, sexual assaults, and having their studying disrupted.” The article is included in Volume 35, Number 2 of NIAAA’s journal, Alcohol Research: Current Reviews.

Back To Top


Evidence Supports Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age

The minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) of 21 is effective in lowering alcohol-related traffic crashes and alcohol use among youth concludes “Case Closed: Research Evidence on the Positive Public Health Impact of the Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age in the United States.” The article addresses recommendations to lower the legal drinking age promoted by The Amethyst Initiative. Boston University researchers William DeJong, Ph.D., and Jason Blanchette, M.P.H., analyzed peer-reviewed journal articles written about the age 21 MLDA’s effectiveness and its impact on the nation’s public health. They found that the age 21 MLDA protected against alcohol and other drug use dependence, negative birth outcomes, and deaths due to suicides and homicides later in life, in addition to reducing alcohol-impaired crashes involving young drivers. Said DeJong, “Some people assume that students are so hell-bent on drinking, nothing can stop them. But it really is the case that enforcement works.” On the basis of their review, DeJong and Blanchette urge college and university leaders to accept that the age 21 MLDA saves lives and is unlikely to be overturned. The findings appear online in the 2014 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Back To Top


February 26 Webinar on Suicide Prevention in Vulnerable Populations

On February 26, 2014, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s National Center for Youth in Custody will present the webinarReducing the Risk of Suicide with Vulnerable Populations. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10–18 and the leading cause of death for youth in confinement. Risk factors for suicidal thinking and behavior—including psychiatric disorders, underage drinking and other substance abuse disorders, physical abuse, neglect, and trauma—are much more common for youth in the juvenile justice system. A May 13, 2010, report, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Drug Abuse Warning Network, found that alcohol was involved in 11.4 percent of emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts among youth ages 12 to 17 during 2008. The February 26 webinar will identify risks for suicide among youth in custody and effective prevention and intervention strategies for responding to suicidal behaviors. Registration is free.

Back To Top


Webinar Series Looks at Behavioral Health Among Girls

On February 25, 2014, Growing Up Girl: Adolescent Development and the Unique Issues Facing Girls will take place from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. ET, as the first in a six-part Girls Matter! webinar series examining girls’ behavioral health issues. The gap between the rates of adolescent girls and boys who drink alcohol appears to be closing. The Girls Matter! webinars are being presented by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA has announced the following 2014 dates and titles for the sessions in the webinar series:

February 25Growing Up Girl: Adolescent Development and the Unique Issues Facing Girls;
March 13Girl in the Mirror: Behavioral Health Challenges of Adolescent Girls;
April 22Girls and Substance Use: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities;
May 20Digital Girls: Confession, Connection, and Disconnection;
June 10Sanctuary and Supports for Girls in Crisis; and
July 24The Power of Youth Development and Recovery Supports.

The 2013 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking notes that drinking rates of female youth are converging with those of male youth and finds that younger girls (e.g., eighth graders) now exhibit rates of drinking, binge drinking, and getting drunk similar to rates for adolescent males (Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975–2011: Volume I, Secondary School Students). Registration for the February 25, 2014, SAMHSA webinar is free.

Back To Top


Guides to Evidence-Based Underage Drinking Prevention Programs

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has relaunched its Model Programs Guide (MPG), an online resource of more than 180 evidence-based prevention, intervention, and re-entry programs for juvenile justice practitioners, policymakers, and communities. Many programs appearing in the Substance Abuse Programs list target underage drinking specifically; others are designed to prevent a broad range of behavioral problems often associated with the use of alcohol among children and adolescents. The OJJDP resource has information on program implementation, literature reviews, and resource links. Some of the programs in the OJJDP’s MPG may be found in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, as well.

Back To Top


2013 Alcohol Prevention Policies, Practices Status Reports Available

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted 2013 Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These reports present the status of public health policies and practices designed to prevent or reduce important public health problems, including excessive alcohol use and other topics related to the well-being of underage drinkers. Similar information is publicly available in other locations, but is widely dispersed and can be hard for decisionmakers to find and understand. The PSRs pull together this information in a simple, easy-to-use format. Policies and practices reported in the PSRs were selected because they were:

  • Supported by systematic review(s) of scientific evidence of effectiveness (e.g., The Guide to Community Preventive Services);
  • Explicitly cited in a national strategy or national action plan (e.g., Healthy People 2020); or
  • Recommended by a recognized expert body, panel, organization, study, or report with an evidence-based focus (e.g., Institute of Medicine).

Back To Top


Protective Behavioral Strategies Reduce Future Alcohol Use, Consequences

An increased use of manner of drinking (MOD) strategies decreased the likelihood of future alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences among college students, according to A Cross-Lagged Panel Model Examining Protective Behavioral Strategies: Are Types of Strategies Differentially Related to Alcohol Use and Consequences? MOD is one type of protective behavioral strategies (PBS), which are methods that can be used to lower the risk of alcohol-related consequences. MOD changes the way that a person drinks. However, not all of the three types of PBS were effective at lowering alcohol risk among college students. Although the use of serious harm reduction strategies predicted fewer alcohol-related consequences, stopping/limiting drinking strategies did not predict future reported drinking or alcohol-related consequences. Researchers―Lucy E. Napper and colleagues at Loyola Marymount University―analyzed data from 338 college students to examine the extent to which increased use of PBS correlated to decreases in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences. The findings appear online in the February 2014 issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project.

Back To Top


Poor Sleep Quality Linked With Alcohol Use Among College Students

Poor mental health predicted inadequate sleep quality, and inadequate sleep quality predicted alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences among college students. These were the conclusions reported in Mental Health, Sleep Quality, Drinking Motives, and Alcohol-Related Consequences: A Path-Analytic Model by Shannon R. Kenney, Ph.D., and colleagues at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California. Consistent with previous research, this study found no direct relationship between mental health and alcohol use among college students. However, poor mental health predicted factors (poor sleep quality and motivations to drink) that contributed to alcohol consumption among college students. The study examined the relationship among poor mental health, sleep problems, drinking motivations, and risky drinking among college students. The authors endorsed protective behavioral strategies, which are methods that can lower the risk of alcohol-related consequences, as an effective intervention to combat alcohol use among college students. The findings appeared in the November 2013 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this research.

Back To Top


Mentoring Can Reduce Underage Drinking, Increase Youth Skills

Less use of alcohol and drugs is one of several benefits ascribed to mentoring in The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring. The new report, prepared by the nonprofit organization MENTOR, notes other benefits of mentoring, such as better school attendance, improved social skills and interactions with peers, more trusting relations and better communications with parents, and an increased chance of continuing on to higher education. The report was announced by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in a recent OJJDP E-News, its news service e-mails. OJJDP provides an online listing of mentoring resources. Many community-based organizations participating in the 2014 underage drinking prevention Town Hall Meetings taking place nationwide with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offer mentoring programs. For example, several chapters of the California Friday Night Live Partnership, which trains and mentors young people to support underage drinking prevention efforts, have agreed to host youth-led Town Hall Meetings in their communities.

Back To Top


February 26 Webinar: Healthy People 2020 Behavioral Health Progress

Frances M. Harding, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will be a panelist in a February 26, 2014, webinar to review the progress made in achieving the mental health and substance abuse objectives of Healthy People 2020. Underage drinking prevention is addressed in the substance abuse objectives for Healthy People 2020, a multiagency federal government project that set 10-year national health objectives for the United States and benchmarks for gauging progress in reaching them over time. Other panelists participating in Substance Use and Mental Disorders: Early Detection, Prevention, and Treatment – A Healthy People 2020 Progress Review Webinar are:

  • Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Rebecca Hines, M.H.S., Chief, Health Promotion Statistics Branch, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • Philip Wang, M.D, Dr.P.H., Deputy Director, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health;
  • Jack Stein, Ph.D., Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health; and
  • Connie Smith, Prevention Branch Manager, Substance Abuse Prevention Program
    Division of Behavioral Health, Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health.

Registrationfor the February 26 webinar is free. 

Back To Top


New Behavioral Health Barometer of National, State Trends

Between 2008 and 2013, nearly two thirds (60.3 percent) of youth between the ages of 12 and 17 perceived no great risk from having five or more drinks once or twice a week. This finding is one of several related to underage drinking in Behavioral Health Barometer: United States, 2013 (Barometer), a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The document provides data on various behavioral health topics, including rates of serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and underage drinking and the percentages of persons seeking treatment for these disorders. The Barometer reports these data at the national level and for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia; its point-in-time and trend data reflect the status of and progress in improving key behavioral health indicators. “The Barometer is a dynamic new tool providing important insight into the ‘real world’ implications of behavioral health issues in communities across our nation,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., in a January 31, 2014, news release.

Back To Top


White House Report Links Alcohol, Rape, and Sexual Assault

Alcohol’s frequent role in such sex crimes is included in the January 2014 report Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action from the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Office of the Vice President. The report summarizes recent data about rape and sexual assault in the United States, risks of being victims of these crimes, the cost of this violence (both to survivors and to our communities), and the limited response of the criminal justice system. Progress in combatting rape and sexual assault is discussed, and recommended additional actions are included. Data cited in the 2013 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking find that approximately half of all reported and unreported sexual assaults among college students involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim, or both. Annually, an estimated 97,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

Back To Top


Pregaming More Common Among First-Year College Students

“About three out of four freshman and sophomore drinkers reported pregaming, and about one third of drinking days included pregaming,” reports Predictors and Consequences of Pregaming Using Day and Week-Level Measurements. Sometimes referred to as predrinking, or preloading, pregaming is the practice of consuming alcohol prior to a sporting event or social activity. Students pregamed more during the first week of the school year and on Fridays. The study also reports that among women, first-year students, and ethnic/racial minority students, pregaming was more likely to occur on drinking days. Researchers at Brown University—Nancy P. Barnett, Ph.D.; Lindsay M. Orchowski, Ph.D.; and Christopher W. Kahler, Ph.D.—and a researcher from State University of New York, Buffalo—Jennifer P. Read, Ph.D.—examined the practice of pregaming among college students during an academic year using a large scale longitudinal design. The authors recommend interventions that focus on first-semester freshmen, the group with the highest rates of pregaming incidences. The findings are discussed in the December 2013 issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. The research was supported in part by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Back To Top


Study Adds Support for Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age

The current age 21 minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) in the United States has reduced alcohol consumption and related consequences. In contrast, lowering the MLDA may lead to increased rates of drinking and alcohol-related consequences: For example, after New Zealand lowered its MLDA from age 20 to age 18, drinking and alcohol-related consequences increased. These are among the conclusions of a study reported in A Comparison of the Responsible Drinking Dimensions Among Underage and Legal Drinkers: Examining Differences in Beliefs, Motives, Self-Efficacy, Barriers and Intentions. Adam E. Barry, Ph.D., and his associates set out to determine whether underage and legal drinkers, in a random sample, differed with regard to their alcohol-related behaviors, responsible drinking behaviors, and responsible drinking beliefs. They found that, compared to legal drinkers, underage drinkers reported (a) significantly less confidence to perform responsible drinking behaviors during their next drinking episode, (b) significantly more perceived barriers to responsible drinking, and (c) significantly lower behavioral intentions to perform responsible drinking behaviors the next time they consumed alcohol. The National Institutes of Health provided partial support for the study. The findings are discussed in the online Open Access article published on January 22, 2014, in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.

Back To Top


Drinker Self-Estimation Linked With Alcohol-Related Consequences

College students whose self-assessments of their alcohol use patterns were inaccurate reported experiencing more alcohol-related consequences compared to those who correctly estimated their type of drinking. These are some of the conclusions of a study reported in How Estimation of Drinking Influences Alcohol-Related Consequences Across the First Year of College by Brittney A. Hultgren, M.S., and colleagues at The Pennsylvania State University’s Prevention Research Center . Drinker type refers to how drinkers are characterized—light, social, nonproblem, or heavy drinker. The study suggests that those who underestimated their drinker type engaged in more risky drinking behavior, but were not aware of the associated consequences. Additionally, students who used protective drinking behavior methods were more likely to underestimate their drinker type. The Pennsylvania State University researchers analyzed data from 1,895 students to examine the extent to which estimation of drinker type is associated with the risk of experiencing alcohol-related consequences. The findings appear in the January 2014 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supported this research.

Back To Top


Recession Linked With Increased Drinking Among Americans

The recession in 2008–2009 was associated with heavy drinking among women and men, which included underage drinkers, according to Economic Loss and Alcohol Consumption and Problems During the 2008 to 2009 U.S. Recession. For the 18- to 29-year age group, consequences of the recession, such as job loss or trouble paying rent, were linked with negative drinking consequences. The report also notes that the recession was linked with monthly drunkenness, negative drinking consequences, and alcohol dependence among middle-age Americans. Researchers Nina Mulia et al. analyzed data from the 2009–2010 U.S. National Alcohol Survey to examine the relationship between the 2008–2009 recession and alcohol-related outcomes, such as volume of consumption, drinking to drunkenness, negative drinking consequences, and alcohol dependence. The findings were reported in the November 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. This study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Back To Top


Updated Website for 2014 Underage Drinking Prevention Town Hall Meetings

The updated 2014 Town Hall Meetings website employs responsive design, which allows visitors to access content on any device that has a browser—a convenience for people on the go. During 2014, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is supporting a fifth round of Town Hall Meetings on underage drinking prevention and anticipating that more than 2,000 community-based organizations, including tribal organizations and college campuses, will participate. Thanks to the website’s responsive design, Town Hall Meeting planners and participants can interact with the website from their mobile devices as easily as from their desktop computers. The 2014 Meeting Locator Map uses Google Maps to pinpoint a user’s location and then display the locations of the nearest registered events.  An interactive map of state resources connects to state profiles, videos, and other information. Participating organizations can conveniently submit information and upload their Town Hall Meeting promotional materials and copies of their media coverage. SAMHSA’s 2014 theme for Town Hall Meetings is Our Town. Our Health. Our Future.

Back To Top


New Study Finds No Safe Combination of Drinking and Driving

“There appears to be no safe combination of drinking and driving—even minimally ‘buzzed’ drivers pose increased risk to themselves and to others” is one of the conclusions of new research reported in Official Blame for Drivers With Very Low Blood Alcohol Content: There Is No Safe Combination of Drinking and Driving. The study’s authors urge U.S. legislators to reduce the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit, perhaps to 0.05, which is a measure they believe would be likely to reduce injuries and save lives. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System, David Phillips and his colleagues at the University of California, San Diego found that drivers with a BAC of 0.01, well under the current legal limit of 0.08, were 46 percent more likely to be officially and solely blamed for a crash than were the sober drivers with whom they collided. The findings appeared online in the January 7, 2014, issue of Injury Prevention. In 2012, alcohol-impaired driving contributed to 31 percent of the 33,561 deaths from car crashes, reports 2012 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, a November 2013 Traffic Safety Facts Research Note issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Back To Top


Virtual Threats—Real-World Underage Drinkers

A December 2013 report issued by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, Real Crimes in Virtual Worlds, addresses threatening behaviors exhibited by youth in online video games, virtual worlds, and social networks that pose real-world threats to children and teens. These online behaviors include bullying, threats, harassment, stalking, and abuse. The report identifies strategies for detecting and preventing online threats and provides resources. “Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide,” according to the government’s StopBullying.gov web portal on bullying prevention. Such outcomes may be shared by both the victims of bullying and the bullies themselves: “Kids who bully are more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults,” StopBullying.gov states.

Back To Top


NIDA Releases New Guide to Adolescent Alcohol, Drug Treatment

Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide was released on January 23, 2014, in conjunction with the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) National Drug Facts Week, January 27 to February 2, 2014. The new NIDA guide offers help for parents, health care providers, and substance abuse treatment specialists who treat teens with substance abuse problems. A National Institutes of Health news release about the new publication notes that “Teens abuse different substances, experience different consequences, and are less likely to seek treatment on their own because they may not want or think they need help.” The introduction to the new publication notes that almost 70 percent of high school students have tried alcohol, 50 percent have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40 percent have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20 percent have used prescription drugs for a nonmedical purpose; these figures are based on results from NIDA’s 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey.

Back To Top


Low-Cost Interventions Can Reduce College Underage Drinking

Colleges should consider assessing alcohol risk among all new freshmen and providing multifaceted interventions for those who report drinking, say authors of a new systematic review of more than 40 studies documenting 62 interventions. According to the study’s lead author, Brown University psychiatry and human behavior professor Lori Scott-Sheldon, Ph.D., “… small effect sizes mean that any given person may change just a little as a result of an intervention, but when we expand the effects to the whole freshman class we would expect prevention programs like those we reviewed to have a public health impact.” Dr. Scott-Sheldon and her team conclude that the broad efficacy of interventions, combined with the relative low cost and ease of delivering them, mean that colleges have worthwhile resources at their disposal to make a greater impact on freshman drinking. Their review findings are reported in Efficacy of Alcohol Interventions for First-Year College Students: A Meta-Analytic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials, published online on January 20, 2014, in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The project was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Back To Top


Parent’s No Alcohol Rule Can Make Teen Parties Fun and Safe

Parental responsibility is the key to a fun and safe party, according to A Parent’s Guide to Teen Parties, highlighted in a January 14, 2014, MedlinePlus e-mail. The guide presents facts about alcohol, criminal and civil liabilities of adults in underage drinking cases, and key points for planning an alcohol-free social gathering for adolescents. One key point is for parents to set party rules, as well as their expectations, and then discuss them with their teen before the party. Rules should include the following:

  • No tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs are allowed;
  • No one can leave the party and then return;
  • Lights are left on at all times; and
  • Certain rooms of the house are off-limits.

A Parent’s Guide to Teen Parties was issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2010 and updated in 2013. MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. More tips to help parents and other caregivers prevent underage drinking are available from “Talk. They Hear You.”, a campaign sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Back To Top


Surgeon General’s Call to Action Linked With Underage Drinking Declines

Strategies recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General to reduce underage drinking have shown promise when put into practice, according to New Research Findings Since the 2007 Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking: A Review. Reductions in underage drinking rates and traffic-related deaths have continued since the 2007 release of The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking.The new study notes that we now know more about the effects of early-onset alcohol use, parents providing alcohol to children, and effects of alcohol on the brain. Additionally, environmental strategies, such as use/lose laws, social host liability, internal possession laws, graduated driver licensing, and night-driving restrictions, have lowered traffic deaths among teens. Researchers Ralph Hingson, Sc.D., and Aaron White, Ph.D., analyzed trends in underage drinking, related traffic fatalities, consequences, social norms, and interventions designed to combat underage drinking since publication of the Surgeon General’s report. The findings appear online in the January 2014 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project.

Back To Top


2013 Report to Congress on Underage Drinking, With State Reports

Youth ages 12 to 17 reported significant declines in both past-30-day alcohol consumption and binge drinking between 2004 and 2011. However, in 2011, 36.6 percent of 20-year-olds reported binge drinking, and the rates of male and female underage drinking are converging. These are among the key findings in the new 2013 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in December. Included are reports on the prevalence and nature of underage drinking; national efforts and best practices to address the problem, including enforcement activities; and prevention programs. Additional features of the online report are a dropdown menu of policy summaries and a map providing access to state-specific reports.

Back To Top


January 29 Webinar: Alcohol Abuse and Suicide

The Intersection of Suicide Research and Public Health Practice: Alcohol Abuse and Suicide, the first webinar in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention’s 2014 webinar series, will take place on Wednesday, January 29, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET. A 30-minute online discussion forum will be held immediately after the webinar. The webinar and discussion forum, designed for researchers and state or local practitioners in injury or suicide prevention, will include information on:

  • Acute use of alcohol (AUA) immediately before suicidal behavior;
  • More chronic alcohol use disorder (AUD) and suicidal behavior;
  • A brief summary of what is known about AUA and AUD and suicidal behavior; and
  • A discussion of research that is needed to inform intervention efforts.

Free registration is now open. A May 13, 2010, report, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Drug Abuse Warning Network, named suicide as the third leading cause of death among adolescents, ages 12 to 17. This report also found that alcohol was involved in 11.4 percent of emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts in this age group during 2008.

Back To Top


College Study: Aggressive Personalities Linked With Alcohol Problems

College students who have traits for aggressive personalities and an inability to cope with stressors were more likely to engage in problematic drinking, reports Trait Aggression and Problematic Alcohol Use Among College Students: The Moderating Effect of Distress Tolerance. The study suggests that having negative emotions alone did not contribute to problematic drinking but rather that the inability to cope with negative emotions contributes to problematic drinking. Authors Bina Ali et al. suggest that students may use alcohol to cope with their negative emotions. The study analyzed data from 646 college students to examine the extent to which trait aggression, which is the inclination toward violence/aggression, and distress tolerance, which is the ability to withstand stressors, contributed to problematic drinking among college students. The study’s findings appeared online in the December 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The National Institutes of Health funded this project.

Back To Top


New Distance Learning Course: Underage Drinking Source Investigations

Source investigations (a law enforcement procedure that identifies how and from whom minors obtain alcoholic beverages) are the subject of a new 2-hour distance learning training offered by the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center, a service supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Participants will:

  • Learn the scope and problem of underage drinking;
  • Realize the scope and problem of over-service of alcohol to adults who are of age;
  • Know why it’s important to conduct source investigations;
  • Understand the necessary and logical steps involved in conducting source investigations; and
  • Recognize the outcomes of a good source investigation.

Source investigations support efforts to hold adults who violate underage drinking laws accountable and help law enforcement and community organizations select and implement strategies to further reduce youth access to alcohol. OJJDP is a member of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking and hosted an archived May 14, 2013, webinar about the role of the justice system in underage drinking prevention.

Back To Top


38 Million 18 and Over Drink Too Much, But Don’t Tell Doctors

 Thirty-eight million Americans, ages 18 and over, including numerous underage drinkers, drink too much, but few of them discuss alcohol with their doctors or other health care professionals. Most do not have alcoholism, but their drinking practices put them and others at risk for harm. According to Vital Signs: Communication Between Health Professionals and Their Patients About Alcohol Use—44 States and the District of Columbia, 2011, released on January 7, 2014, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 15.7 percent of those ages 18 and older have ever talked with a health care professional about their drinking. More young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 (27.9 percent) have discussed alcohol use with a health care professional, but only 15.9 percent of them have done so in the past year. The study’s findings were announced by Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of CDC, during a press briefing. Dr. Frieden pointed out that alcohol screening is quick, simple, and effective and that just 15 minutes of counseling (or even less in some cases) can lead to significant reductions in problem drinking. He said that under the Affordable Care Act, most Americans are now eligible for alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBIRT) without a copayment; he urged both consumers and health care professionals to make wider use of SBIRT. For health care professionals working with youth between the ages of 9 and 18, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has developed Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide. This free, empirically based screen consists of just two questions, which health care professionals can easily incorporate into practice across the care spectrum.

Back To Top


Alcohol Plays Strong Role in Girls’ Delinquent Behavior

“Many girls involved in other delinquent behaviors also used alcohol and/or drugs” is one conclusion of a December 2013 report, Developmental Sequences of Girls’ Delinquent Behavior. This report was issued by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as the latest in its Girls Study Group: Understanding and Responding to Girls’ Delinquency series of bulletins. Underage drinking was by far the most prevalent among 11 types of delinquent behavior reported in one of the report’s two data sources, the Denver Youth Survey, a longitudinal study of problem and prosocial behavior in youth ages 7 to 17. The multisite Fast Track Project, the other data source, examined antisocial behavior of children in grades 4–11 and ranked alcohol use among the top three most prevalent delinquent behaviors among girls. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health finds 24 percent of girls between the ages of 12 and 20 reporting current alcohol use, with 14 percent engaging in binge drinking and 3.4 percent classified as heavy drinkers.

Back To Top


Binge Drinking Linked With College Dating Violence

Binge drinking increased the likelihood of college male students committing all three types of intimate partner violence (physical, psychological, and sexual), according to the article Acute Alcohol Use Temporally Increases the Odds of Male Perpetrated Dating Violence: A 90-Day Diary Analysis. Consistent with previous studies, heavy drinking days and the number of drinks consumed increased the odds of physical and sexual violence against intimate partners. Ryan C. Shorey and colleagues analyzed data from college male students who consumed alcohol within the last month and were currently dating. The authors investigated the correlation among alcohol use, marijuana use, and college men’s likelihood to commit dating violence. The findings appear in the January 2014 issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this research.

Back To Top


Most Underage Drinkers Get Alcohol From Friends, Family

“What many do not realize is that most teens who drink get the alcohol from older friends and family, or by taking it from a home without permission,” according to Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection. “So, reducing easy teen access to alcohol from social sources is critical.” Rich’s statement was included in a December 5, 2013, FTC press release announcing that FTC’s underage drinking prevention website, www.WeDon’tServeTeens, had been updated in time for the 2013 holiday season. The website provides information, in English and Spanish, on teen drinking and on what to say to friends and neighbors about serving alcohol to teens, links to state laws, and tips on enlisting the support of others to fight underage alcohol use. It features free downloadable materials, including posters and transit art, radio public service announcements, and web banners and buttons. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, prepared for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,

Back To Top


January 23, 2014, Webinar—Underage Drinking Laws

Underage Drinking Laws: How are we doing and where are we going? is the title of a 1-hour webinar to be hosted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center (UDETC) on Thursday, January 23, 2014, beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. Presenters will provide an overview of national efforts to address underage drinking using the alcohol regulation system(s). They will also share effective strategies and discuss how law enforcement agencies are adapting and expanding efforts to reach the broadest possible audience while building upon past enforcement practices. A Register Now button at the bottom of the UDETC announcement of the webinar opens a form for free registration.

Back To Top


Underage Drinking Snowballs During December

On an average December day, nearly 11,500 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years old start drinking alcohol, according to a new holiday-themed infographic posted in the Resources pages of the StopAlcoholAbuse.gov web portal maintained on behalf of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking. The statistic was included in a July 2012 report issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), based on an analysis of data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, that found that initiation of alcohol use among those younger than 18 occurred at the highest levels in December, June, and July.

Back To Top


Low Self-Esteem, Self-Regulation Linked With Early Alcohol Initiation

Low scores on self-esteem and self-regulation indicators and greater exposure to favorable alcohol use socialization increased the likelihood of middle school students sipping alcohol, according to “Attributes That Differentiate Children Who Sip Alcohol From Abstinent Peers.” Additionally, higher scores on self-esteem indicators reduced the likelihood of their sipping alcohol by 50 percent. Christine Jackson and colleagues analyzed data from 1,050 mothers and their third-grade children to examine the extent to which children’s competencies regarding self-esteem and self-regulation influenced sipping behavior. The study’s results appeared in the November 2013 issue of Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project.

Back To Top


Bipolar Teens at Risk for Underage Drinking, Drug Abuse

Approximately one in three teens with bipolar disorder developed substance abuse for the first time, during 4 years of followup among 167 youth, ages 12–17 years, in the Course and Outcome of Bipolar Youth (COBY) study. Repeated experimentation with alcohol by the youth at the start of the study was the strongest predictor of later substance abuse, according to a group of researchers led by Benjamin Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto and the University of Pittsburgh. The team found that 32 percent of adolescents in the COBY study sample developed abuse of or dependence on alcohol or drugs, on average 2.7 years from the start of the study. Other factors present at the start of the study also predicted later alcohol or drug problems: oppositional defiant disorder, panic disorder, family history of substance abuse, low family cohesiveness, and absence of antidepressant treatment. Over half (54.7 percent) of teens with three or more risk factors developed substance abuse, compared to only 14.1 percent of teens with zero to two risk factors. The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and is reported in Predictors of First-Onset Substance Use Disorders During the Prospective Course of Bipolar Spectrum Disorders in Adolescents.

Back To Top


Energy Drinks Contribute to Bingeing Among College Students

College students who consumed energy drinks were more likely to binge drink and experience more alcohol-related consequences, reports “Energy Drinks and Alcohol:  Links to Alcohol Behaviors and Consequences Across 56 Days.” Additionally, students consumed alcohol on 31.6 percent of the days when they used energy drinks. Those who consumed energy drinks also spent more hours drinking and had higher estimated blood alcohol content. Authors Megan E. Patrick, Ph.D., and Jennifer L. Maggs, Ph.D., analyzed survey data from 508 college students to study the short-term alcohol-related consequences coupled with energy drink use. The findings appear online in the December 2013 issue of Journal of Adolescent Health. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Back To Top


National Survey Reports Historic Declines in Underage Drinking

“Alcohol use and binge drinking are continuing their long term declines in 2013, reaching their lowest points in the history of the study.… The 30-day prevalence of alcohol use declines in all three grades in 2013, dropping 0.8, 1.9 and 2.3 percentage points in grades 8, 10 and 12. The 12th-grade decline is statistically significant as is the decline for the three grades combined,” states a University of Michigan press release announcing results of the 2013 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, conducted on behalf of the National Institute on Drug Abuse since 1975. The new MTF survey results were reported during a December 18, 2013, teleconference and are based on responses from 45,449 students from 395 participating public and private schools. Other key alcohol findings show continuing prevention gains. For example, the 2-week prevalence rates for binge drinking are now at 5.1 percent for grade 8, 13.7 percent for grade 10, and 22.1 percent for grade 12—down from peak levels by about six tenths, four tenths, and three tenths, respectively. On a cautionary note, the 2013 MTF does show that the perceived risk of binge drinking has actually fallen slightly in all three grades in 2013, even as disapproval of this behavior continues a gradual increase in the upper grades and the perceived availability of alcohol continues to decline.

Back To Top


State Alcohol Policies Prevent Binge Alcohol Use

An evaluation of 29 alcohol policies reveal that policies that scored high on a newly developed Alcohol Policy Scale (APS) protected against binge drinking in the United States, according to A New Scale of the U.S. Alcohol Policy Environment and Its Relationship to Binge Drinking. The APS measures the effectiveness of state-level alcohol policies, and the study correlated APS scores to state-level adult binge drinking prevalence in different states. Researchers Timothy S. Naimi, M.D., M.P.H., et al. analyzed binge drinking prevalence data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys to examine the extent to which APS scores predicted binge drinking prevalence. Much of adult bingeing may be rooted in underage drinking: According to the Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “adults aged 21 or older who had first used alcohol at age 14 or younger were more than 7 times as likely to be classified with alcohol dependence or abuse than adults who had their first drink at age 21 or older.” The findings appear online in the January 2014 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The National Institutes of Health funded this project.

Back To Top


Communities That Care Effective in Preventing Alcohol Initiation

The Communities That Care (CTC) prevention system is effective in preventing alcohol and tobacco use, delinquency, and violence from 5th through 12th grades, reports Youth Problem Behaviors 8 Years After Implementing the Communities That Care Prevention System: A Community-Randomized Trial. However, the CTC system was not effective in preventing current alcohol and tobacco use, delinquent behavior, or violence in the 12th grade. The CTC system is grounded in proven prevention science that promotes healthy youth development. Researchers J. David Hawkins, Ph.D., et al. analyzed data from a panel of 4,407 5th graders surveyed through the 12th grade. The study’s findings appear online in the December 9, 2013, issue of JAMA Pediatrics. The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this project.

Back To Top


Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Increased in 2012

In 2012, alcohol-impaired driving contributed to 31 percent of the 33,561 deaths from car crashes, reports 2012 Motor Vehicle Crashes:  Overview, a November 2013 Traffic Safety Facts Research Note issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased by 4.6 percent. NHTSA reported in Traffic Safety Facts: Alcohol Impaired Driving that, in 2011, 20 percent of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher were between the ages of 16 and 20. On the No Alcohol page at Parents Central, NHTSA says, “Underage drinking is a serious health problem for teens. What's more, climbing behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol increases the chances your teen will crash.”

Back To Top


December 19 Webinar—Talking to Kids About Alcohol, Drug Risks

Learn more about intervention research and intervention strategies featured in the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Family Checkup:  Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse at a free upcoming webinar. This online resource, which helps parents develop research-based skills to keep their children alcohol and drug free, will be discussed during the webinar on Thursday, December 19, 2013, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. (ET). Tom Dishion, Ph.D., of Arizona State University, will provide an interactive overview of his intervention research and intervention strategies significant to youth development. To register, click here. Once registered, you will receive an e-mail confirming your registration with the information you will need to join the webinar. The webinar is being cohosted by NIDA and the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy.

Back To Top


New Activity Guide To Stop Underage Alcohol/Drug-Impaired Driving

Noting that alcohol use continues to be widespread among teens, with more than half (54 percent) of 12th graders reporting having been drunk at least once, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has released a new Teen Drugged Driving: Parent, Coalition and Community Group Activity Guide for this December’s National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. In his fourth annual proclamation about the observance, President Barack Obama stated, “During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we dedicate ourselves to saving lives and eliminating drunk, drugged, and distracted driving.” Also referred to by ONDCP as the Drugged Driving Toolkit, the 16-page activity guide has comprehensive information about the effects of alcohol and both illicit and prescription drugs on adolescent drivers. Sample promotional materials and step-by-step instructions for conducting a Drugged Driving Prevention Night event and a Drugged Driving Prevention Poster Contest are included. Recent research about alcohol- and drug-impaired driving is summarized on ONDCP’s Drug Driving page.

Back To Top


New Infographics Web Page Highlights Underage Drinking Data

“Students who binge drink (5+ drinks/occasion) are 3 times more likely than those who don’t to get mostly Ds and Fs on their report cards.” This is one of the facts from the federal data sources highlighted in a new Underage Drinking Can Detour Academic Success infographic developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The SAMHSA infographic is available on a new Infographics page added to the StopAlcoholAbuse.gov web portal for information and resources, established by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD). Infographics illustrating underage drinking data that were created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute on Drug Abuse also are featured; additions from ICCPUD member agencies will be added as they become available.

Back To Top


Avatars Prepare Parents To Talk With Children About Alcohol

A new 15-minute interactive tool for parents has been added to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2013 “Talk. They Hear You.” Campaign to prevent underage drinking. The Mom, The Son, The Neighbor, and Your Coach are four avatars appearing in segments of the Start the Talk: A Parent Learning Tool, which provides users with options for how each of the brief scenarios develops. The interactive tool allows parents to practice having discussions about alcohol with their children, respond to typical questions that kids bring up when grownups talk to them about alcohol, and learn ways for keeping the dialogue going. “Talk. They Hear You.” was launched on May 13, 2013, and one of the original materials for parents stated: “If you talk to your kids directly and honestly, they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol use. When parents know about underage alcohol use, they can protect their children from many of the high-risk behaviors associated with it.” The SAMHSA Campaign also offers a Partner Toolkit of resources to facilitate local support and participation.

Back To Top


Drinking Leads to Less Condom Use Among Female College Students

First-year college women who consumed alcohol prior to engaging in sexual intercourse were less likely to use condoms, according to a recent study. Additionally, the study, Do Alcohol and Marijuana Use Decrease the Probability of Condom Use for College Women?, noted that women who smoked marijuana were also less likely to use condoms. Authors Jennifer Walsh, Ph.D., et al., analyzed data from 1,856 sexual intercourse events reported by 297 first-year female college students to examine the effect of alcohol and marijuana use on condom use. The findings were reported online in the October 28, 2013, issue of Journal of Sex Research. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “Among full-time college students in 2012, 60.3 percent were current drinkers, 40.1 percent were binge drinkers, and 14.4 percent were heavy drinkers.”

Back To Top


Compliance Checks Cut Alcohol Sales to Minors by 60 Percent

Compliance checks reduced the likelihood of stores selling alcohol to minors by 60 percent, reports the new study Do Alcohol Compliance Checks Decrease Underage Sales at Neighboring Establishments? The study also noted that compliance checks had a protective effect on neighboring establishments: These establishments reduced their sales to minors by more than 30 percent. Additionally, the positive effects of compliance checks include lessening the odds of stores selling alcohol to minors in both higher and lower alcohol establishment density areas. Darin J. Erickson, Ph.D., and colleagues investigated the effects of law enforcement compliance checks on the sale of alcohol to minors in neighboring establishments. The findings were reported in the November 2013 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project. Alcohol compliance checks are a type of evidence-based environmental prevention that has been shown to prevent underage and excessive drinking.

Back To Top


Tool To Help Parents Introduce Teens to Safe and Sober Driving

“In 2011, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for 14–18 year olds in the U.S. That year, 2,015 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes. Almost half (45%) of those teen drivers died in the crash.” These facts are given on one of the pages in Parents Central, a website created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help parents introduce their teens to safe and sober driving. On the No Alcohol page at Parents Central, NHTSA says, “Underage drinking is a serious health problem for teens. What's more, climbing behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol increases the chances your teen will crash.” NHTSA urges Parents Central users to tell teens that underage drinking is illegal and can ruin lives, to never provide alcohol to teens, and to make the consequences of underage drinking clear to young people. Benefits of graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, are explained in another area of Parents Central where a graphic illustrates this quote from a NHTSA evaluation of GDL: “Strong GDL programs can reduce the likelihood of a traffic crash for young drivers.” For 2011, NHTSA found that 20 percent of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher were between the ages of 16 and 20.

Back To Top


Competitiveness Linked With Increased Drinking Among Male College Athletes

The desire to win and be better than others contributed to increased alcohol consumption among male college athletes, according to a new study titled Sport-Related Achievement Motivation and Alcohol Outcomes: An Athlete-Specific Risk Factor Among Intercollegiate Athletes. The correlation between competiveness and alcohol was stronger during the off-season for male athletes. The study notes that an athlete’s competitive spirit shifted from participation in sports to activities such as drinking games during the off-season. Additionally, male athletes, as opposed to females, were more likely to view alcohol consumption as a competitive activity. Hence, competiveness was not a risk factor for female college students’ drinking; rather, it served as a protective factor. Authors Cameron C. Weaver et al. studied the sports-related achievement motivation and alcohol-related outcomes. The findings appear online in the December 2013 issue of Addictive Behaviors. The project was partially-funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Back To Top


Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages Popular Among Teens

Caffeinated alcoholic beverage (CAB) use is widespread among underage drinkers ages 13 to 18, as reported in The Use of Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages Among Underage Drinkers: Results of a National Study. Among adolescent drinkers ages 13 to 15, 48.4 percent reported use of CABs, and 45.3 percent of those ages 16 to 18 used CABs in the past month; prevalence increased to 58.4 percent among 19- and 20-year-olds. As a result of CAB use, adolescent drinkers were more likely to consume larger quantities of alcohol, have more drinking days, and engage in binge drinking. Boston University and Johns Hopkins University researchers studied the prevalence of CAB use among precollegiate adolescent drinkers. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project. The findings were published in the October 8, 2013, issue of Addictive Behaviors. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “In 2012, about 9.3 million persons aged 12 to 20 (24.3 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month.”

Back To Top


Body Image Linked With Binge Drinking Among Boys

A recent study found that boys who were extremely concerned with their physiques and used muscle-enhancing supplements to improve their physiques were more likely than their peers to use drugs and engage in frequent binge drinking. Additionally, boys who were preoccupied with their physiques but did not use supplements were also at an increased risk for binge drinking and drug use. Researchers Allison E. Field, Sc.D., et al. analyzed data from 5,000 teenage boys to assess the extent to which concerns about physique and male eating disorder symptoms contributed to risky behaviors, which included binge drinking and drug use. The findings were reported in Prospective Associations of Concerns About Physique and the Development of Obesity, Binge Drinking, and Drug Use Among Adolescent Boys and Young Adult Men, which appeared online in the November 4, 2013, issue of JAMA Pediatrics. The National Institutes of Health funded this research.

Back To Top


Online Intervention Helps Parents Talk to Collegians About Alcohol

A pilot study showed that brief web-based normative feedback intervention is effective in encouraging parents to talk to their college-aged children about alcohol. Normative feedback, based on social norming theory, is a method to prevent alcohol misuse. Additionally, web-based normative feedback seemed to be effective in changing parents’ views about student drinking and other parents’ attitudes about alcohol consumption. Researchers Joseph W. LaBrie, Lucy E. Napper, and Justin F. Hummer analyzed data from 144 parents of college students to assess the impact of web-based social norms intervention on parents’ willingness to talk to their college-aged children about alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provided financial support for this project. The study, Normative feedback for parents of college students: Piloting a parent based intervention to correct misperceptions of students' alcohol use and other parents' approval of drinking, appeared online in the September 11, 2013, issue of Addictive Behaviors.

Back To Top


Higher State Cigarette Taxes Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Male smokers, including underage drinkers, who lived in states that increased statewide cigarette taxes consumed less alcohol and were less likely to binge drink, according to Increased cigarette tax is associated with reductions in alcohol consumption in a longitudinal U.S. sample. The study notes an 11 percent decrease in drinks per occasion and a 22 percent decrease in binge drinking frequency per year among male smokers. Statewide cigarette taxes also effectively reduced the amount of alcohol consumed among persons 50 and older. Researchers Kelly C. Young-Wolff et al. analyzed surveys conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), including the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, to examine the linkage between cigarette taxes and alcohol consumption. NIAAA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this project. The findings appeared in the August 9, 2013, issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Back To Top


Mom’s Attitude Influences Latino College Student Drinking

Latino college students who have mothers with an accepting attitude toward alcohol use and who were exposed to favorable peer norms about alcohol consumption were more likely to drink and experience alcohol-related consequences. These findings were reported in Maternal and Peer Influences on Drinking Among Latino College Students. Researchers Lindsey Varvil-Weld et al. analyzed responses from 362 Latino college freshmen to examine the maternal impact on alcohol consumption and whether maternal influence curbed the effects of peers. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “Among full-time college students in 2012, 60.3 percent were current drinkers, 40.1 percent were binge drinkers, and 14.4 percent were heavy drinkers.” The National Center for Education Statistics says that the percentage of Hispanic students enrolled in degree-granting institutions rose from 3 percent in 1976 to 13 percent in 2010. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded the new research. The findings appeared online in the October 9, 2013, issue of Addictive Behaviors.

Back To Top


Verbal Development Linked With Teen Problem Drinking

In twins, earlier verbal development was linked with problem drinking during adolescence, as reported in Childhood Verbal Development and Drinking Behaviors from Adolescence to Young Adulthood: A Discordant Twin-Pair Analysis. The twin who developed faster verbally and whose parents believed to be advanced in language during elementary school was more likely to report problem drinking during adolescence. Additionally, the twin who learned to read first was more likely to consume more alcohol in young adulthood. Researchers Antti Latvala et al. analyzed data from two longitudinal population-based samples of families with twins to assess the extent to which childhood verbal development correlated with drinking behaviors in adolescence. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project. The study’s results appeared online in the September 13, 2013, issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Back To Top


New Training To Prevent Teen Dating Abuse, Underage Drinking

Underage drinking puts teens at risk for dating abuse. Also, adolescents who are subjected to dating violence are more likely to engage in underage drinking than their peers who had not been involved in such incidents. Nearly 10 percent of U.S. adolescents are estimated to experience teen dating abuse annually. A new training toolkit, Preventing, Assessing, and Intervening in Teenage Dating Abuse—A Training for Specialized Instructional Support Personnel, has been developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students by the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. The toolkit reviews characteristics of healthy and unhealthy dating, strategies for identifying and intervening in dating abuse, and guidance on norms and policies for schools. The training takes about 4.5 hours, and the toolkit includes a trainer’s guide, PowerPoint presentation, handouts, and a trainer feedback form.

Back To Top


Eleven Percent of Teens Meet Alcohol/Drug Disorder Criteria

“About 11 percent of 13- to 18-year-olds have met the criteria for a lifetime alcohol or illicit drug use disorder,” including 4 percent of these teens between the ages of 13 and 14, according to Behavioral Health, United States, 2012. The publication is the latest in a series issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) every other year since 1980. The full report includes 3 analytic chapters and 172 tables. Table 32, for example, indicates that during 2001–2004, 4.6 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 had alcohol use disorders, while 9.2 percent of these teens had both an alcohol use disorder and a mental disorder. Based on 40 data sources, the new SAMHSA report offers comprehensive national-level statistical information on trends in private and public sector behavioral health services, costs, and clients. State-level data are included, along with information for special populations such as children, military personnel, nursing home residents, and incarcerated individuals.

Back To Top


Fake IDs Linked With Student Alcohol Use Disorders

Students with fake identification (ID) cards, often using them to obtain alcohol, drank more over time and increased their risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD), as reported in False Identification Use Among College Students Increases the Risk for Alcohol Use Disorder: Results of a Longitudinal Study. Additionally, these students were more likely to increase the frequency and amount of alcohol consumed over time. Authors Amelia M. Arria et al. noted that 66.1 percent of the study’s participants used a fake ID at least once to get alcohol during college. The authors examined the association between the use of fake IDs to obtain alcohol and AUD. The results of the study appeared online in the October 17, 2013, issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this project. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that, in 2012, among full-time college students ages 18 to 22, 60.3 percent were current drinkers, 40.1 percent were binge drinkers, and 14.4 percent were heavy drinkers.

Back To Top


Alcohol References on Facebook Increase Among College Freshmen

The display of alcohol contents/references on Facebook increased significantly during the first year of college among incoming freshmen, according to Emergence and predictors of alcohol reference displays on Facebook during the first year of college. The study further reports that the freshmen who referred to alcohol on Facebook before enrolling in college were more likely to report drinking initiation prior to college. Researchers Megan A. Moreno et al. examined the display of alcohol content on Facebook during the first year of college at two major universities. The study appears in the January 2014 issue of Computers in Human Behavior. The National Institutes of Health funded this project.

Back To Top


Motivational Interviewing Reduces Drinking Among College Freshmen

A recent study reports that, consistent with previous research, motivational interviewing is effective in reducing alcohol consumption, blackout rates, and frequency of drug use among college freshmen. Results included reductions in the number of drinks per week, hours spent drinking, and drinking days. Additionally, the frequency of drug use decreased from 27.1 percent at baseline to 23.4 percent at 6 months, and blackout rates decreased greatly at 6 months for 72 percent of study participants who had reported blackouts at baseline. Authors Donna M. Kazemi, Ph.D., RN, et al. report their findings in Effects of Motivational Interviewing Intervention on Blackouts Among College Freshmen, in the September 2013 issue of Journal of Nursing Scholarship. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded this project. According to SAMHSA’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 40.1 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 who were enrolled full time in college were binge drinkers, and 14.4 percent were heavy drinkers.

Back To Top


New Collaboration Continuum Links Substance Abuse–Suicide Prevention

To help suicide prevention programs build and strengthen connections with their substance abuse prevention and treatment counterparts, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), a service supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has developed the Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Collaboration Continuum. The continuum offers practical tools and resources to help partners be effective and strategic in their work together. SPRC says that suicide is the third leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 24, and it lists underage drinking and other substance abuse as major risk factors for suicide.

Back To Top


Binge Drinking Risk/Protective Factors Literature Review Available

A literature review of risk and protective factors associated with binge drinking among U.S. and international samples of adolescents and young adults (including college students) has been released. The document, Risk and Protective Factors Associated with Binge Drinking in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Review of Literature (2007–2012), is intended to help communities determine what risk and protective factors they need to target in order to reduce and prevent binge drinking among these age groups. The new literature review was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies. SAMHSA will also release a companion Strategies/Interventions for Reducing Binge Drinking: A Review of Literature 2007–2012, which will match risk and protective factors with appropriate interventions. According to SAMHSA’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, between 2002 and 2012, past-month binge drinking among underage youth declined from 19.3 to 15.3 percent, and heavy drinking declined from 6.2 to 4.3 percent. Among young adults, ages 18 to 25, the 2012 binge drinking rate was 39.5 percent.

Back To Top


Highway Death 13 Times Likelier for Alcohol-Impaired Drivers

Alcohol-impaired drivers were 13 times more likely to be involved in a fatal highway crash than drivers who had not been drinking, according to an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers and NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The likelihood of such an outcome for drivers who tested positive for alcohol and one or more drugs was found to be 23 times greater than for drivers testing negative for alcohol and drugs. Elevated blood alcohol levels were found in 57.0 percent of the cases and 8.8 percent of the controls examined by Guohua Li, M.D., Dr.P.H., and associates at Columbia University. NHTSA supported the study and has noted previously that, mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. The new NHTSA data analysis is reported in Drug use and fatal motor vehicle crashes: A case-control study, published in the November 2013 issue of the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

Back To Top


Parent Socialization and Children’s Alcohol Use

Parental Socialization and Children's Susceptibility to Alcohol Use Initiation  concludes that children’s predisposition to alcohol initiation is partly due to how parents socialize or educate their children about alcohol. Mother–child communication and family guidelines about alcohol consumption were linked with lower child vulnerability to alcohol use. Additionally, mothers’ disapproval of child alcohol use was the greatest correlate of children’s proneness to alcohol use. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied the extent to which parents’ beliefs, attitudes, and practices about alcohol influence children’s susceptibility to initiate alcohol use. The team used data from 1,050 pairs of mothers/mother surrogates and their third-grade children. The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, appeared online in the September 2013 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. “Talk. They Hear You. , a new national media campaign of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, provides parents of children ages 9 to 15 with the knowledge, tools, and skills to talk with their children early about the consequences of alcohol use.

Back To Top


Effective Events Management Can Prevent Underage Alcohol Sales

Techniques for Managing Special Events is a new 2-hour online distance learning course available from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center (UDETC). According to UDETC, effective planning, proper management, policy application, and enforcement at special events can reduce youth access to alcohol. Similarly, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration encouraged community-based organizations that conducted underage drinking prevention Town Hall Meetings during 2012 to promote policies that would restrict sales of alcohol at public events as an effective form of environmental prevention.

Back To Top


Friends Who Drink Influence Early Teen Alcohol Use

A Model to Determine the Likely Age of an Adolescent’s First Drink of Alcohol, a study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, points to friends who drink as the most significant risk factor in a teen’s decision about taking that first drink, ahead of other risks such as family history and social behavior. Samuel Kuperman, M.D., discussed a study he and his colleagues conducted that came to this conclusion in the September 30, 2013, edition of HHS HealthBeat and observed that early drinking is associated with negative consequences, such as illegal activity. “Children oftentimes do things they wouldn’t do if they weren’t drunk. So, driving, getting into sexual activity, using other drugs, are all risks that might happen when somebody’s drunk versus not drinking,” Kuperman told HHS HealthBeat’s Nicholas Garlow. Dr. Kuperman urged parents to talk with their children about the consequences of underage drinking. The study appeared online in the January 6, 2013, issue of Pediatrics. HHS HealthBeat is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Back To Top


Alcohol Abuse Develops in Nearly One Third of Bipolar Teens

Thirty-two percent of adolescents with bipolar disorders developed abuse or dependence of alcohol or drugs on average 2.7 years from the start of a study designed to measure the frequency and possible predictors of first-onset substance abuse in teens, ages 12 to 17, who met criteria for a bipolar diagnosis. Researchers, supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, interviewed the study’s subjects an average of seven times in 4 years. The team, led by Benjamin I. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., identified factors present at the start of the study that also predicted later substance abuse: oppositional defiant disorder, panic disorder, family history of substance abuse, low family cohesiveness, and absence of antidepressant treatment. Predictors of First-Onset Substance Use Disorders During the Prospective Course of Bipolar Spectrum Disorders in Adolescents appears in the October 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Back To Top


College More Likely To Inherit Than Create Underage Drinking

Although the environment of colleges and universities may “nurture” underage drinking among college freshmen, they are more likely to inherit the problem rather than create it. So says the program director for College and Underage Drinking Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Aaron White., Ph.D. As noted in NIAAA’s College Drinking factsheet, revised July 2013, “Many students come to college with established drinking habits, and the college environment can exacerbate the problem.” White discussed the challenge in an October 5, 2013, article in the Carroll County Times (Maryland). He was also a featured presenter in NIAAA’s March 7, 2013, underage drinking prevention webinar, now available in an archived format as part of a series presented by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking.

Back To Top


Underage Students Who Endorse Alcohol Laws Report Fewer Problems

A new study among underage students at two universities has found that those who endorsed a personal responsibility to obey minimum legal drinking laws were less likely to drink, drank less, engaged in less high-risk behavior (e.g., heavy/binge drinking), and experienced fewer harms (e.g., physical injury) than those who did not endorse these laws. Students in the study samples who were members of ethnic/racial minority groups were more likely to endorse the laws than their White counterparts. With support from the National Institutes of Health, Valerie F. Reyna, Ph.D., at Cornell University, and her colleagues set out to investigate whether, as some college and university presidents have argued, these laws promote disrespect for laws in general, and do not prevent drinking or related negative consequences. Reyna, et al. conclude that an internalized social norm adhering to drinking laws offers benefits to students and society. Endorsement of a Personal Responsibility to Adhere to the Minimum Drinking Age Law Predicts Consumption, Risky Behaviors, and Alcohol-Related Harms appeared in the August 2013 issue of the journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.

Back To Top


Young Adult Drivers “Forget” Sober Knowledge After Drinking

Results of a new study provide further evidence that sober persons’ knowledge about drinking and driving cannot be depended upon to translate into responsible judgment after drinking. While sober, young adult drivers, ages 18 to 25, reported their perceptions of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol. On a different occasion, the same subjects drank a moderate amount of alcohol (0.72 grams/kilogram for men, 0.65 grams/kilogram for women) and indicated their willingness to drive when they were at different breath alcohol concentration points. When drinking, they were inclined to believe that it was safer to drive than they thought was true when they were sober. Those who gave this response were also more willing to drive after drinking, and researchers saw some evidence that they may have already done so. Observed Denis M. McCarthy, Ph.D., corresponding author for the study, “… it seems that people have gotten the message drinking and driving is dangerous, and most people, when they are sober, honestly think it is too dangerous to do. However, those same individuals may not apply this judgment when it counts the most—when they are currently intoxicated and need to decide whether it is safe for them to drive in that moment.” Perceived Danger While Intoxicated Uniquely Contributes to Driving After Drinking appeared online as an early view article in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research on September 13, 2013. A grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supported the study.

Back To Top


Parental Drinking, Drinking Stories Increase Teen Alcohol Risk

Adolescents with mothers who drank and disclosed personal experiences with alcohol use had a greater chance of initiating alcohol use. This finding is reported in Alcohol-Specific Parenting as a Mechanism of Parental Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder Risk on Adolescent Alcohol Use Onset. The study also found that adolescents perceived their parents’ drinking stories as normalizing alcohol use rather than serving to warn teens about potential negative consequences of drinking. Researchers Elizabeth D. Handley, Ph.D., and Laurie Chassin, Ph.D., examined the influence of parental disclosure about personal drinking experience on adolescent drinking initiation. The findings appear online in the September 2013 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project.

Back To Top


Scariest Halloween Activity: Drinking and Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 52 percent of all national fatalities on Halloween night from 2007 to 2011 involved a drunk driver. For Halloween night in 2011, NHTSA data show that 38 percent of fatalities occurred in a crash involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. In addition, NHTSA points out that drinking and driving is one of the reasons why teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. To make 2013’s Halloween festivities safer for everyone, NHTSA offers marketing tools that can be used by states, communities, and organizations to meet local prevention needs and objectives and can also be used by them in partnership with other states, communities, and organizations to support this Halloween impaired driving prevention initiative.

Back To Top


Fraternity/Sorority Members Experience More Alcohol-Related Injuries

Members of Greek-letter fraternities and sororities, on college campuses, were more likely to experience alcohol-related injuries in comparison to students in the general student body population, according to Alcohol-related injury among Greek-letter college students: Defining a target population for secondary prevention. Among conclusions of the study: Greek-letter members experienced more alcohol-related injuries that required medical attention; they were more likely to experience a fall that required medical attention; female members were more likely to be sexually assaulted; and both male and female members were more likely to be stabbed or shot. Researchers Mary Claire O’Brien et al. assessed the extent to which dangerous drinking behaviors contributed to alcohol-related injuries among a sample of college students in Greek-letter fraternities and sororities. The study appeared in the April 2013 issue of Journal of Health Psychology. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project.

Back To Top


Sexual Assault Follows and Predates Alcohol Abuse Among Females

Alcohol abuse preceded sexual assault in 26.3 percent of cases with victims ages 14 or older who reported previous alcohol abuse and previous assault, according to findings reported in Prior Substance Abuse and Related Treatment History Reported by Recent Victims of Sexual Assault. Authors Heidi S. Resnick et al., at the Medical University of South Carolina, found that 73 percent of females who came to the emergency room for a rape-related medical exam reported using substances (alcohol and/or illicit drugs) within 6 weeks of the sexual assault or at the time of the assault.  The study also found that, among those with prior histories of substance abuse and assault, assault preceded substance abuse onset in the majority of cases. The study appeared in the April 2013 issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this project.

The 2012 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinkingnotes that “Underage drinking by both victim and assailant also increases the risk of physical and sexual assault” and states that “About 97,000 college students are victims of sexual assault or date rape related to alcohol use each year.”

Back To Top


Many Young Adults Who Died by Suicide Had High Blood Alcohol Levels

An analysis of data from the 2005–2010 National Violent Death Reporting System database finds that among 18- to 24-year olds who died from suicide and were tested for alcohol, 37.4 percent had been drinking. The researchers also note that those who had been drinking had high alcohol levels, with the mean exceeding a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08. The 0.08 BAC level is used as a measure for legal intoxication in most states. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which funded the new study, also refers to the 0.08 BAC level as a marker for binge drinking. According to Kenneth R. Conner, Psy.D., M.P.H., and his associates, there is growing evidence that public health campaigns targeting reductions in alcohol availability and consumption may reduce rates of suicide. Their report, Acute Use of Alcohol and Methods of Suicide in a US National Sample, was published online by the American Journal of Public Health on May 16, 2013.

Back To Top


One Fifth of H.S. Seniors Drove After Heavy Drinking in 2011

Despite progress in reducing youthful impaired driving, 20 percent of high school students reported driving after heavy drinking in 2011. Using data from the Monitoring the Future project of annual surveys conducted on behalf of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Patrick M. O’Malley, Ph.D., and Lloyd D. Johnston, Ph.D., found that 28 percent of the high school graduating class of 2011 had ridden with a driver who had had five or more drinks or used marijuana or another illicit drug. A comparison of 2011 figures with those from 2001 did show encouraging declines: In 2011, for example, 6.3 percent of high school seniors said they had gotten behind the wheel after consuming five or more drinks, down from the 9.4 percent who reported doing so a decade earlier. Students who engaged in more than an average amount of truancy, spent more evenings out for fun and recreation, worked more hours per week, or drove more miles were all more likely than average to report driving after using drugs or alcohol. O’Malley and Johnston concluded that “… substantial numbers of America’s high school seniors continue to put themselves and others at risk for harm.” Driving After Drug or Alcohol Use by US High School Seniors, 2001–2011 was published online ahead of print on September 12, 2013, by the American Journal of Public Health.

Back To Top


Positive Relationships May Help Maltreated Children Avoid Underage Drinking

Several studies have shown that children who are physically abused are more likely to engage in underage drinking and other high-risk behaviors, to be diagnosed with mental health problems, and to have physical health problems earlier in their lives, according to the authors of a new article, Tests of the Mitigating Effects of Caring and Supportive Relationships in the Study of Abusive Disciplining Over Two Generations. The article is one of eight supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a special October 2013 supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health. The articles examine the role of safe, stable, nurturing relationships (SSNRs) and social contexts in the cycle of child maltreatment across generations. CDC announced the SSNR-related articles in a September 20, 2013, media advisory providing links to other CDC resources on the topic of child maltreatment. One of these resources analyzes the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, which places alcohol abuse and alcoholism high on the list of negative health consequences for children who have had traumatic experiences, including abuse and neglect.

Back To Top


Electronic Screening and Brief Intervention Can Reduce Underage Drinking

Electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI) to reduce excessive alcohol consumption is recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force), an independent, nonfederal, unpaid panel whose members are appointed by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Task Force has found that e-SBI is an effective intervention to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems, based on strong evidence of effectiveness. CDC has reported that excessive alcohol consumption, including underage drinking, is responsible for 80,000 deaths each year and cost the U.S. economy $223.5 billion in 2006. Task Force recommendations and other findings are available at The Community Guide website.

Back To Top


Higher Self-Esteem Linked With Increased Drinking by White College Students

A comparison study showed that Asian-American college students consumed less alcohol than White students and that greater global self-esteem correlated with increased drinking for just White students.  Global self-esteem is one’s perception of his or her self-worth. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale was used to measure global self-esteem in this study. Additionally, consistent with previous studies, students with greater self-esteem were more likely to be in social settings where drinking may be encouraged, and that was more common among White students. Researchers Eric R. Pedersen et al. analyzed data from 326 college students to assess the extent to which global self-esteem correlated with drinking among Asian-American and White college students. Exploring relationships between facets of self-esteem and drinking behavior among diverse groups of young adults appears in the October 2013 online issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded this project.

Back To Top


Norms, Mental Health Linked With Teen Alcohol-Related Consequences

Better mental health, coupled with favorable peer attitudes toward drinking, contributed to more negative social consequences from alcohol consumption among a sample of White and Hispanic at-risk adolescents, reports a new study. Additionally, consistent with prior studies, favorable attitudes toward drinking correlated with current heavy drinking and consequences as well as future heavy drinking and consequences. However, inconsistent with prior research, mental health symptoms alone did not contribute to alcohol consumption. Researchers Eric R. Pedersen, Ph.D., et al. analyzed data from a sample of 193 at-risk Hispanic and White youths with a first-time alcohol and other drug offense in order to study the linkage of mental health symptoms and perceived peer attitudes toward drinking with alcohol use and consequences. This study was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and is reported in Perceived Norms Moderate the Association Between Mental Health Symptoms and Drinking Outcomes Among At-Risk Adolescents, published online in the September 2013 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Back To Top


Student Pregaming Increases Alcohol-Related Consequences

Pregaming was linked with increases in the number of alcohol-related consequences among college students, as reported in Is the Pregame to Blame? Event-Level Associations Between Pregaming and Alcohol-Related Consequences. Pregaming refers to a person drinking before he or she arrives at an event. Researchers Jennifer E. Merrill, Ph.D. et al. also found that, although males drank more, females were at a greater risk for consequences associated with pregaming in comparison to men. The authors used data from 44 college students, who reported past-month pregaming, to examine the alcohol-related consequences of pregaming and the amount of drinking across the day. The study’s findings appear online in the September 2013 issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism sponsored this project.

Back To Top


Tech-Based Products To Prevent High-Risk Drinking Win SAMHSA Awards

Syracuse University’s BE Wise website won the first prize of $60,000 in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Technology-based Products to Prevent High-risk Drinking among College Students Challenge, according to a September 18, 2013 SAMHSA bulletin. BE Wise is an interactive website designed to reduce the occurrence and negative outcomes of excessive drinking by educating students about alcohol poisoning. The second-place prize of $30,000 went to the University of Central Florida’s Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum mobile application. The third-place prize of $10,000 was awarded to the University of Tennessee’s Alcohol and You, an online module that educates first-year students about alcohol, their choice to use alcohol, and the impact that choosing to use alcohol can have on their academic success. Twenty-nine eligible entries were reviewed by a panel of federal government experts who evaluated the entries on their quality-of-product design, quality-of-product performance, and quality-of-project personnel. Each of the three finalists participated in a proof-of-concept meeting with the judges to clarify any concerns or questions raised by the review.

Back To Top


Obesity, Mental Health Program Reduces Underage Drinking

High school students, ages 14 to 17, who received a teacher-delivered intervention program promoting healthy lifestyles were much less likely to drink alcohol than teens not receiving the intervention (13 percent vs. 20 percent, respectively). In a randomized trial, those who received the COPE (Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment) Healthy Lifestyles TEEN (Thinking, Emotions, Exercise, Nutrition) Program reported the lower levels of alcohol consumption. They also reported significantly higher levels of physical activity and lower body mass index. In addition, COPE TEEN students scored higher averages on a social skills scale measuring cooperation, assertion, and academic competence, and they earned higher grades in the health course in which the intervention was given, according to an article posted on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. The study was supported by NIH’s National Institute of Nursing Research and is reported in Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in High School Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial, published online on September 10, 2013, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Back To Top


Bingeing and Extreme Bingeing Common Among High School Seniors

“Binge drinking at the traditionally defined 5+ drinking level was common among high school seniors representative of all 12th graders in the contiguous United States. A significant segment of students also reported extreme binge drinking at levels 2 and 3 times higher.” These are among the conclusions of a new study of a nonclinical, nationally representative sample of high school seniors in the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s annual Monitoring the Future study between 2005 and 2011. High school seniors responding to the survey reported the following rates drinking during the preceding 2 weeks:

  • 20.2 percent consumed 5 to 9 drinks in a single setting (binge drinking);
  • 10.5 percent consumed 10 to 14 drinks in a single setting (extreme binge drinking); and
  • 5.6 percent consumed 15 or more drinks in a single setting (extreme binge drinking).

Authors of the study noted that the rates of 5+ binge drinking and 10+ extreme binge drinking have declined since 2005, but rates of 15+ extreme binge drinking have not significantly declined. “These findings might help explain why some consequences of underage drinking, such as hospitalizations for overdoses, are on the rise, despite general declines in binge drinking,” wrote Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H, and Aaron White, Ph.D., from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in an editorial accompanying the publication of Extreme Binge Drinking Among 12th-Grade Students in the United States: Prevalence

Back To Top<