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SAMHSA Hosts Webinar on Happy Hour Restrictions: May 6

Please join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for “Happy Hour” Restrictions: From Theory to Practice, on May 6, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.  During this free 1-hour webinar, Jim Mosher, Alcohol Policy Specialist, will review low-price, high-volume alcohol marketing practices, the number and extent of current state laws to restrict such practices, and potential barriers to and opportunities for passage and enforcement of similar legislation. Ted Mahony, Chief, Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, will describe Massachusetts’ experience with happy hour restrictions, which have been in existence statewide since 1983. Chief Mahony also will describe the findings of recent public meetings on whether the state should remove the restrictions in light of exemptions for newly-approved gaming establishments. Time will be provided for questions from the audience.

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SAMHSA Children's Mental Health Awareness Day Webisode Is May 8

Knowledge Network for Systems of Care (KSOC) TV is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) web-based technical assistance program featuring behavioral health experts discussing cutting-edge issues in children’s mental health.


Join SAMHSA for the next live webisode of KSOC-TV, Special Edition: National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2015: Strengthening Communities by Integrating Care, to air on May 7, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, promoting the mental health of children can help reduce their risk of underage drinking and other drug use. For more information, read Why is early childhood development important to substance abuse prevention?

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Popularity Increases Risk of Alcohol Use Among High School Students

A recent study explored whether popularity and likability play a role in alcohol use among high school students. The study followed low-income high school students from 9th through 12th grade, checking in with them every 6 months. The authors found that popularity—but not likability—predicted alcohol use among the high school students, but these findings varied by ethnicity. Popularity was a risk factor for alcohol use among Caucasian and Latino students but not among African American students.

 The study, “Ethnic Differences in Associations Among Popularity, Likability, and Trajectories of Adolescents’ Alcohol Use and Frequency,” was published in the March/April 2015 issue of Child Development. A grant from the National Institutes of Health supported this research. 

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Early Initiation of Alcohol Use Increases Risk of Alcohol Problems as Adults

A new study followed nearly 1,000 young people from ages 12–24 and tracked their alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use. The study found that adolescents who started using these substances at an earlier age were more likely to develop problematic substance use in early adulthood. Also, high school students who increased their alcohol and marijuana use were at increased risk of problematic use in adulthood.

 The study, “Alcohol, Marijuana, and Tobacco Use Trajectories From Age 12 to 24 Years: Demographic Correlates and Young Adult Substance Use Problems,” was published in the February 2015 issue of Development and Psychology. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Mental Health supported this research. 

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SAMHSA Will Host a Webinar on Using Its Public-Use Data

On Thursday, April 23, at 1 p.m. EDT, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will hold the webinar Online Analysis of SAMHSA Public-Use Data With Survey Documentation and Analysis. The webinar will provide an overview of the survey documentation and analysis interface and share available resources for using the data. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive, which provides free access to current and comprehensive data on substance abuse and mental health, will conduct the webinar.

Registration for the webinar is free. 


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Prepartying and Extreme Drinking Among College Students

A recent study, “Prepartying, Drinking Games, and Extreme Drinking Among College Students: A Daily-Level Investigation,” explores the role of drinking before going out, also known as prepartying, and playing drinking games. In the study, 399 college students’ daily drinking behaviors were reviewed over the course of 14 consecutive days. The study analyzed whether extreme drinking was more likely on days when students engaged in prepartying or played drinking games.

The study found that extreme drinking was more common among students who frequently engaged in prepartying or played drinking games. Alcohol interventions for college students should consider targeting these behaviors.

This study is published in the March 2015 issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse supported this study.

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Students Hosting Non-University Guests Tend To Drink More

College students frequently host non-university guests for parties or special events. A new study explores the effects of non-university guests on college students’ drinking behaviors. A survey of 2,951 college students at a public university in the Midwest found that college students who hosted non-university guests, such as visitors for sports events or traditional party weekends, tended to be male, younger in age, and members of athletic teams. They also were more likely to have started using alcohol at younger ages. Host students also were more likely to live in off-campus housing than students who did not host guests. 

Students who hosted guests were at increased risk of heavy party-related drinking while hosting guests compared to non-hosts. The study suggests that prevention efforts at universities could benefit from targeting students who are likely to host non-university guests.

Hosting Non-University Guests and Party-Related Drinking Behaviors of College Studentsis published in the Journal of Substance Use, and was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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Flavored Alcoholic Beverages Increase Underage Drinking

A new study examined the associations between drinking flavored alcoholic beverages and risky drinking behaviors among underage drinkers. A survey of adolescents and young adults ages 13–20 shows that underage drinkers who reported exclusive consumption of flavored alcoholic beverages drank more often and were more likely to drink heavily than underage drinkers who did not drink flavored alcoholic beverages. Flavored alcoholic beverage drinkers were also more likely to get in fights or to get injured from drinking than underage drinkers who did not drink flavored alcoholic beverages.

Flavored Alcoholic Beverage Use, Risky Drinking Behaviors, and Adverse Outcomes Among Underage Drinkers: Results From the ABRAND Study” is published in the April 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The research was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 

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Cultural Belonging Helps Prevent Substance Abuse Among Tribal Youth

A new intervention was recently developed by an academic and tribal partnership between the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute and the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribes. The purpose of the intervention is to promote increased cultural belonging and prevent substance abuse among tribal youth. The intervention uses the canoe journey as a metaphor for life, and preliminary results from the intervention study indicate that the intervention was effective in achieving its objectives. 

The study, “Healing of the Canoe: Preliminary Results of a Culturally Grounded Intervention To Prevent Substance Abuse and Promote Tribal Identity for Native Youth in Two Pacific Northwest Tribes,” is published in American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities supported this research.

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Sipping Alcohol by Sixth Grade Increases Risk of High School Use

A new study on early use of alcohol found that early sipping of alcohol by young students is associated with risky alcohol behaviors when they enter high school. In addition, offering young people just a sip of alcohol may undermine prevention messages about alcohol for youth.

 The web-based study looked at alcohol use by 561 students at the beginning of sixth grade and again at ninth grade. Approximately one out of three study participants had sipped alcohol by the fall of sixth grade. Most participants who sipped alcohol before sixth grade had their first sip in their own home, most often from a parent. Young people who sipped alcohol by sixth grade were much more likely to consume a full drink, get drunk, and drink heavily by ninth grade than nonsippers.

 The Prospective Association Between Sipping Alcohol by the Sixth Grade and Later Substance Use” was published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institutes of Health supported this research.

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CDC Offers Online Learning Materials for Public Health Professionals

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers an online resources for public health professionals through the CDC Learning Connection. The site provides trainings, quick-learn lessons, and other products addressing a range of pressing public health issues, including underage drinking.

The site currently features the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact online application, which provides national and state estimates of alcohol-related health impacts, including deaths and years of potential life lost. These estimates are calculated for 54 acute and chronic causes using alcohol-attributable fractions, and are reported by age and gender for 2006‒2010.

To receive the CDC Learning Connection e-newsletter highlighting new resources and materials available on the site, sign up here.

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Rates of Underage Drinking Vary by Drinking Site

Young drinkers may experience different risks depending on where they drink alcohol. The study titled “Who Drinks Where: Youth Selection of Drinking Contexts” looked at drinking patterns among young people in different settings. The study included 665 adolescents ages 13–16 who used alcohol in the past year. The adolescents were from 50 California cities. The study looked at drinking behaviors in seven different contexts at three different times during the year, and also considered other factors such as gender, age, race, parental education, general deviance, and past-year smoking behaviors.

Adolescents who drank more often were more likely to drink at parties or at someone else’s house. Those who drank heavily were more likely to drink in parking lots or on street corners. The likelihood of young people drinking at parties or at someone else’s house increased over time, while the likelihood of drinking in parking lots or on street corners decreased. Youth who engage in deviant behaviors progressed more quickly to drinking in their own home, and at beaches, parks, and restaurants or bars. As seen in the findings, the different settings in which young people consume alcohol changed over time and varied by individual characteristics.

 The study was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research in March 2015. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supported this research.

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High School Students Find Online Personalized Feedback Programs Useful

Brief interventions that offer web-based personalized feedback are effective in reducing alcohol use and related negative consequences from alcohol use among college students. A new study aimed to understand if similar web-based personalized feedback programs are an appropriate tool to reduce drinking among high school students.

The study found that a web-based personalized feedback approach is indeed appropriate for high school students. The majority of students thought the program was user-friendly and useful. Students who reported alcohol use were more likely to think the program was useful and to recommend the program to other students. Web-based personalized feedback may be more positively perceived by high school students who have initiated drinking, compared with those who do not drink.

The study is published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. The study received support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

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Alcohol and Energy Drink Combination Increases Risky Behaviors

The use of alcohol and energy drinks together is an alarming practice among young people that is raising health concerns and increasing the number of related visits to emergency departments. A recent study explored the use of alcohol and energy drinks among young people who are seen in emergency departments. The study compared young people ages 1420 who drank alcohol but not energy drinks with young people who combined alcohol and energy drinks in the same beverage or on the same occasion.

Young people shared their reasons for combining energy drinks with alcohol, with the most common reasons being to hide the flavor of alcohol and because they liked the taste. These young people reported feeling jittery (71 percent) and having trouble sleeping (46 percent) as common consequences of the mixed drinks. The study found that young people who combined alcohol with energy drinks had the highest rates of risky behaviors, including drug use, sexual risk behaviors, driving after drinking, and alcohol use severity.

Alcohol and Energy Drink Use Among Adolescents Seeking Emergency Department Care” is published in the April 2015 issue of Addictive Behaviors. The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported this research. 

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Binge Drinking in Adolescence May Cause Long-term Problems

Binge drinking during adolescence can lead to problems with executive functioning and behavioral control in adulthood, according to a new animal study conducted by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina. The study found that animals that were exposed to alcohol had behavior issues and experienced other changes to their brains. The study is published in the February 2015 issue of NIAAA Spectrum. A summary of the study findings is available online.

According to results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 4.5 percent of 14- or 15-year-olds and 13.1 percent of 16- or 17-year-olds engage in binge drinking.

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Female Juvenile Offenders May Use Alcohol to Cope With Sexual Coercion

The study “Predictors of Sexual Coercion and Alcohol Use Among Female Juvenile Offenders” found that young offenders ages 14 to 17 who experienced sexual coercion were more likely to increase their drinking behavior. An increase in alcohol use also was associated with the risk of repeated sexual coercion. According to the study’s authors, these young women may have used alcohol to help cope with feelings of victimization. The findings point to the importance of intervening early with this high-risk group of young women.

The study is published in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The study received support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

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Greater Alcohol Use in High School Tied to Blackout Risk in College

This new study examined the link between high school drinking behaviors and the risk of problem drinking in college. A group of 430 first- and second-year college students who violated their schools’ alcohol policies were required to participate in a harm-reduction program. In an electronic survey, those students were asked about their drinking behaviors during high school and college. Students were grouped into low-, moderate-, or high-risk groups based on their high school drinking behaviors. The higher the risk group, the greater the likelihood that those students would experience an alcohol-related blackout in college. The findings from this study can be used to target and intervene with high-risk high school students.

This study, “High School Risk Factors Associated With Alcohol Trajectories and College Alcohol Use,” was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, Issue 1, 2015. The study received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information on alcohol-related blackouts, view the presentation by Aaron White, Ph.D., in the webinar Brain Research and Underage Screening—Getting Informed, Preparing to Act. 

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Gender Differences Seen in Youth Violence Linked to Substance Abuse

A new study, Substance Use and Violence Among Youth: A Daily Calendar Analysis, uses data from emergency department patients ages 14–24 to determine how substance use contributes to violence among youth. Study findings show differences in violence trends among males and females. Violence over personal belongings was more common among males, whereas violence caused by rumors and jealousy was more common among females. For both males and females, aggression was more likely to be reported on days when youth used alcohol.

The study was published in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Substance Use and Misuse. The research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

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Partnership Is the Basis of the Prevention Trial in the Cherokee Nation

In the United States, youth living in underserved Native American and rural communities are especially at risk for problems with underage drinking. The Prevention Trial in the Cherokee Nation is “a partnership between prevention scientists and Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health to create, implement, and evaluate a new, integrated, community-level intervention designed to prevent underage drinking.”

This article, published in the February 2015 issue of Prevention Science, describes the strong partnership between prevention scientists and behavioral health leaders within the Cherokee Nation, as well as the intervention and research design of this new community trial. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supported this research. 

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CDC Launches Updated Community Health Status Indicators Online Tool

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an updated Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI) online tool that produces public health profiles for all 3,143 counties in the United States. Each profile includes key indicators of health outcomes, which describes the population health status of a county and factors that have the potential to influence health outcomes, such as health care access and quality, health behaviors, social factors, and the physical environment.  Binge drinking, as reported by individuals ages 18 and older, is one of the factors affecting health outcomes.

In this new version of CHSI, all indicators are benchmarked against those of peer counties, the median of all U.S. counties, and Healthy People 2020 targets.  Organizations conducting community health assessments can use CHSI data to:

  • Assess community health status and identify disparities;
  • Promote a shared understanding of the wide range of factors that can influence health; and
  • Mobilize multisector partnerships to work together to improve population health.

 To access CHSI, visit wwwn.cdc.gov/communityhealth.  

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March 24 Webinar on Faith-Based Support of Families Affected by Addiction

“Sensitizing the Congregation,” a free webinar on March 24, at 2:00 p.m. EST, explores how local congregational leaders can equip their faith groups to effectively acknowledge, address, and embrace families captured by the addictive process. Participants will be challenged to “look with new eyes” on congregational families, noticing signs of substance use disorders. They will be equipped to research their surrounding communities to find healing and protective resources for children at risk. Faith leaders will be given resources that help congregations become a welcoming place for affected families. The webinar will suggest strategies for building resources within the congregational membership to strengthen the resilience of children in alcoholic families.  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, children of alcoholics are about four times more likely than the general population to develop alcohol problems.

Registration for the webinar is free. This webinar is the second of a nine-part series from the National Association for Children of Alcoholics about addiction, its impact on families and children, and community-based solutions. The series is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

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Webinar to Highlight SAMHSA Strategies for Collegiate Behavioral Health

On March 11, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. EDT, the Illinois Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Other Drug, and Violence Prevention will host a webinar on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Current and Future Direction for Prevention in Higher Education. Richard Lucey, Jr., Special Assistant to the Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, will present an overview of SAMHSA’s revised strategic initiative on the prevention of substance abuse and mental illness, including its areas of focus on institutions of higher education.  Mr. Lucey also will present current data from national surveys on substance abuse and mental illness among college students and introduce SAMHSA’s new Behavioral Health Among College Students Information and Resource KitRegistration is free. 

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Registration Open for Tribal Youth Leadership Training

UNITY (United National Indian Tribal Youth), in collaboration with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, will host the Today’s Native Leaders Community Service Academy on April 10–12, 2015, in Rapid City, SD. This free event will provide as many as 100 tribal youth with leadership training on designing youth-led community service projects, creating a UNITY youth council, engaging in action planning and event promotion, and more. Trained youth will have the opportunity to present at the annual national UNITY conference in Washington, DC, in the summer of 2015.

E-mail or call Lynnann Yazzie at 480–718–9793 to register or for more information.

Download the event flier.

Read more about the Today’s Native Leaders project, a collaboration between OJJDP and UNITY.

Learn more about OJJDP's Programs for Tribal Youth.

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College Students Adjust Alcohol Use in View of Social Consequences

Findings from a recent study demonstrate that college students have lower intentions of heavy alcohol use when it might result in negative social consequences. “The Effects of Social and Health Consequence Framing on Heavy Drinking Intentions Among College Students explored student reactions to vignettes in which consequences of heavy drinking were framed as a loss (i.e., negative consequences of drinking heavily) or a gain (i.e., positive consequences of not drinking heavily).

The 124 students who participated in the study also had lower intentions of engaging in heavy drinking when the social consequences of not drinking were framed as a gain. These findings were stronger among young people who reported higher levels of previous drinking. The researchers suggest that interventions that focus on the negative social consequences of heavy drinking and the positive benefits of not drinking heavily might strengthen interventions that emphasize negative health consequences.

 This study is published in the February 2015 issue of British Journal of Health Psychology. The National Cancer Institute supported this research. 

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Treatment Success for Adolescents Hinges on Readiness

Substance abuse treatment programs are more successful when an individual recognizes the problem, has a desire to receive help, and is ready to be in treatment. Adolescents need programs that facilitate these elements.

 A new study assessed the effectiveness of the Treatment Readiness and Induction Program (TRIP) to motivate adolescents to seek treatment. Five hundred and nineteen adolescents from six residential programs completed assessments at treatment intake and again 35 days after admission. Adolescents who received TRIP showed greater gains in problem recognition compared with those who received standard practice only.

 This study is published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. The