Category Archives: Media

If Alcohol Were Discovered Today, Would it be Legal?

An article from the website Alternet.com discusses a new book just published: Drugs Without the Hot Air, by British author David Nutt  (2012 UIT Cambridge). In the book, the author asks the reasonable question of how our society would handle alcohol if it were to appear suddenly as a street drug. An excerpt from the book:

A terrifying new “legal high” has hit our streets. Methyl-carbonol, known by the street name “wiz,” is a clear liquid that causes cancers, liver problems, and brain disease, and is more toxic than ecstasy and cocaine. Addiction can occur after just one drink, and addicts will go to any lengths to get their next fix – even letting their kids go hungry or beating up their partners to obtain money. Casual users can go into blind rages when they’re high, and police have reported a huge increase in crime where the drug is being used. Worst of all, drinks companies are adding “wiz” to fizzy drinks and advertising them to kids like they’re plain Coca-Cola. Two or three teenagers die from it every week overdosing on a binge, and another 10 from having accidents caused by reckless driving. “Wiz” is a public menace – when will the Home Secretary think of the children and make this dangerous substance Class A?

The article goes on to cite some very alarming statistics from Great Britain, where, like everywhere else, society seems to be in denial about alcohol’s destructive impact. Don’t miss this article — find it HERE. The book discussed is available from Amazon.com for $12.20.

 

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