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Category Archives: Media

Want to publicize your meeting?

Whether it’s for just one meeting or a group of them in one geographic area, and whether it’s new meetings or old, you might still be interested in getting some news coverage.

And, if you’re not sure how to go about it, this sample press release, complete with suggested contacts by title/position at newspapers and radio stations, will give you a start. It’s just a template, so it can be edited, rearranged and expanded by you before submission to the appropriate news people.

Newspaper Features Article About LifeRing

The Bohemian, a weekly newspaper covering the Sonoma, Napa and Marin areas north of San Francisco, has an extensive article dealing with the effort of a Santa Rosa LifeRing convenor to convince local government bodies that they must comply with a federal court decision from several years ago that establishes that government must be evenhanded when requiring people to attend sobriety support meetings. In other words, the court ruled that courts and government supported institutions can’t require AA attendance without offering all available alternatives, including LifeRing.

Byron K., the local convenor, has been struggling to gain cooperation from local agencies. As often happens, those agencies are either unfamiliar with alternatives to AA or hostile towards them. As Kerr is quoted in the article, “This argument is not about whether 12 Step is good, bad or ugly,” says Kerr. “It’s about choice; it’s the law.”

The article cites specific examples of the difficulties Kerr has run into, and the responses he’s received from local governnments. It makes fascinating reading. See it HERE

Economic Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

An article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine presents some stark numbers about the costs borne by the U.S. economy due to drinking. The study looked at drinking in the following context:

“Excessive alcohol consumption was defined as follows: binge drinking (≥4 drinks per occasion for a woman, and ≥5 drinks per occasion for a man); heavy drinking (>1 drink per day on average for a woman, and >2 drinks per day on average for a man); any alcohol consumption by youth aged <21 years; and any alcohol consumption by pregnant women. Depending on the data source, these drinking patterns were generally ascertained for the past 30 days. This definition is consistent with CDC and NIAAA standards used to identify harmful patterns of alcohol consumption. Because most excessive drinkers are not alcohol dependent and the diagnoses of alcohol dependence/alcohol abuse generally involves a history of excessive drinking over an extended period of time, these diagnoses were considered an outcome of excessive drinking and not the primary basis for assessing economic costs. However, a history of alcohol dependence or abuse was used as a specific indicator of excessive drinking in some analyses (e.g., productivity losses based on lost earnings).”

The study looked at health-care costs, lost productivity, and such things as crime, criminal justice system costs and auto accidents, along with several others.

The conclusion: “The estimated total economic cost of excessive drinking was $223.5 billion in 2006. On a per capita basis, this cost was approximately $746 for each man, woman, and child in the U.S. in 2006.17 Of the total cost, $161.3 billion (72.2%) came from lost productivity; $24.6 billion (11.0%) came from increased healthcare costs; $21.0 billion (9.4%) came from criminal justice costs; and $16.7 billion (7.5%) came from other effects (Table 1). The cost associated with binge drinking was $170.7 billion, underage drinking $27.0 billion, drinking during pregnancy $5.2 billion, and crime $73.3 billion (note that these subcategories are not mutually exclusive and may overlap).”

See the whole report here.

One in Six Americans Binges on Alcohol at Least Twice a Month, says CDC Head

Everybody knows that binge drinking is a problem among young adults, particularly college students. But in fact, it’s very common among all ages. One in six adults report binging on  alcohol one or more times within the past 30 days. That’s 38 million Americans.

This is according to Dr. Robert Brewer, head of the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) Alcohol Program. Brewer was a guest on the NPR program Talk of the Nation recently. “Binge drinking” is defined for this study, as 4 or more drinks for a woman and 5 or more for a man. And, perhaps surprisingly, “seniors who reported binge drinking did so more frequently, even than younger people.”

Brewer went on to say, “when we focused in on binge drinkers, we found that, on average, they reported consuming eight or more drinks on average during at least the largest episodes of binge drinking within the past 30 days. So that’s obviously well above the cut point that we use for defining this behavior and certainly a level of consumption that puts the individual, as well as others that they’re with, at substantially increased risk for a whole host of problems.”

Read a transcript of the radio program, or listen to it, HERE


Ten Percent of Americans Say They are “In Recovery”

A new survey finds that 10% of Americans over the age of 18 say they used to have a problem with drugs, including alcohol, but no longer do. A story about the survey appeared on the Market Watch website, a division of the Wall Street Journal. It was carried out last year, asking about 2,500 people “Did you used to have a problem with drugs or alcohol, but no longer do?” It was sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug Free America and funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

Extrapolating from the results, the surveyors estimated that 23.5 million Americans can be described as “in recovery.”

Of course, “no longer have a problem” is an odd turn of phrase to use since it doesn’t mean “stopped using.” Still, it’s a pretty stunning number of people willing to admit that they ever had a problem with substance abuse.

See the article HERE