Strong alcohol policies protect against drunk driving deaths among young people

Stronger alcohol policies protect young people from dying in crashes caused by drunk driving according to researchers at Boston Medical Center. The study, which is published online in the journal Pediatrics, supports the importance of comprehensive alcohol control policies to reduce the number of young people who die in alcohol-related crashes.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among young people in the United States. Forty percent of deadly car crashes involve a drunk driver in Massachusetts, and the state falls within the top twenty-five percent for rates of young people killed in a drunk driving crash.

“Half of all young people who die in crashes are driven by someone who has been drinking,” says lead author Scott Hadland, MD, a pediatrician at BMC and the study’s corresponding author. “But with stronger alcohol policies at the state level, we saw a significantly lower likelihood of alcohol-related deaths.”

Full story of stronger alcohol policies and deadly crashes at Science Daily

Link Between Alcohol Marketing and Youth Drinking Grows Stronger

A new review of studies from around the world finds young people who have greater exposure to alcohol marketing appear to be more likely subsequently to initiate alcohol use and engage in binge and hazardous drinking.

The researchers reviewed 12 studies involving a total of more than 35,000 participants from Europe, Asia and North America. All 12 found evidence of a positive association between level of marketing exposure and level of youth alcohol consumption. “The last time there was a review of the literature on alcohol marketing and youth was in 2008,” said lead researcher David Jernigan, Ph.D., Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  “There have been many new studies since 2008, and what this review does is allow us to document that similar findings are being replicated over and over again in multiple countries and across multiple cohorts.”

Full story of youth drinking and line between alcohol marketing at drugfree.org

Fewer Americans Say They Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol

Fewer Americans said they drove under the influence of alcohol In 2014 compared with 2002, according to a new government report.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found 11 percent of those surveyed said they drove under the influence of alcohol in 2014, down from 15 percent in 2002, HealthDay reports.

An estimated 28 million Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol in 2014.

Full story of fewer Americans driving under the influence of alcohol at drugfree.org

Gambling addiction triggers the same brain areas as drug and alcohol cravings

Gambling addiction activates the same brain pathways as drug and alcohol cravings, suggests new research.

The study, by international scientists including researchers from Imperial College London, suggests targeting these brain pathways may lead to future treatments for the condition.

The findings, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, also suggest connections between the parts of the brain that control our impulses may be weakened in people with gambling addiction.

Full story of gambling addiction similar in brain to drugs at Science Daily

Heavy alcohol use changes adolescents’ brains

Heavy alcohol use during adolescence alters the development of brain, according to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital. Cortical thinning was observable in young people who had been heavy drinkers throughout their adolescence. The findings were published in Addiction.

The study performed magnetic resonance imaging of the brain structure on young and healthy, but heavy-drinking adults who had been heavy drinkers throughout their adolescence, as well as on age-matched light-drinking control participants. They participated in three cross-sectional studies conducted over the course of ten years, in 2005, 2010 and 2015. The participants were 13 to 18 years old at the onset of the study.

All participants were academically successful, and the prevalence of mental health problems did not differ between the two groups. Although the heavy-drinking participants had used alcohol regularly for ten years, approximately 6-9 units roughly once a week, none of them had a diagnosed alcohol use disorder.

Full story of alcohol use and adolescent brain health at Science Daily