Some People Can Reduce Drinking Instead of Giving Up Alcohol Altogether: Expert

Contrary to common stereotypes, some people who drink excessively can learn to reduce their drinking without giving up alcohol altogether, according to the Director of Addiction Services at North Shore-LIJ Health System.

“We need to think about alcohol dependence and excessive drinking on a continuum, with lots of shades of gray—it’s not a black-and-white issue,” says Jon Morgenstern, PhD, who is also Associate Vice President of Substance Abuse Services at North Shore-LIJ.

Dr. Morgenstern recently spoke about treating problem drinkers who want to reduce but not quit drinking at a meeting of the New York Society of Addiction Medicine.

Full story of reducing alcohol consumption at drugfree.org

Women’s Drinking Habits Starting to Resemble Men’s

Women’s drinking habits are starting to catch up to men’s, according to a new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). While men still drink more, a growing number of women are drinking, and drinking more frequently.

“We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males,” lead researcher Aaron White, PhD, said in a news release. “Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing.”

The researchers said the reasons for women’s increased drinking rates are unclear.

Full story of women’s drinking habits at drugfree.org

Hispanic Groups Differ in Drinking Rates, Alcohol-Related Problems: Expert

Not all Hispanic groups are equal when it comes to drinking and alcohol-related problems, according to an expert who has been studying the issue for many years.

“In general, what you see is a higher level of drinking and binge drinking among Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans, compared with Cuban-Americans and South/Central Americans,” says Dr. Raul Caetano, MD, MPH, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Cuban-Americans tend to have lower rates of heavier drinking than the other three groups, said Dr. Caetano, who spoke at the recent Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse annual meeting.

Full story of Hispanic groups and alcohol-related problems at drugfree.org

Mixing Alcohol and Diet Drinks Leads to Higher Breath Alcohol Concentration

Mixing alcohol and diet soda can lead to increased breath alcohol concentration, suggests a new study.

Researchers found people who drank vodka mixed with diet soda had higher breath alcohol levels, compared with those who drank vodka mixed with regular soda, according to Reuters.

The findings appear in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The study included 10 men and 10 men ages 21 to 30. They drank five different mixed beverage combinations over five sessions. The drinks contained varying amounts of vodka, and either diet or regular soda. The researchers then measured alcohol levels in participants’ breath for three hours.

Full story of diet drinks and alcohol at drugfree.org

15 Percent of Women Raped While Incapacitated by Alcohol or Drugs in Freshman Year

A new study finds 15 percent of college women report having been raped while incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs during their freshman year, Newsweek reports.

Freshmen women who had been victims of incapacitated rape before starting college were at increased risk. Almost 18 percent of young women reported incapacitated rape (IR) before starting college, and about 41 percent of those women were raped again while incapacitated during their freshman year, the study found.

“The pre-college assessment went back to as early as age 14,” lead researcher Kate Carey of Brown University School of Public Health said in a news release. “That suggests that sexual assault education needs to begin earlier.”

Full story of college freshman raped under alcohol and drugs at drugfree.org