A study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found using marijuana and alcohol together impacts driving more than using either substance alone, Time reports.
The study included 18 occasional marijuana smokers—13 of them men—between the ages of 21 and 37. They took six 45-minute drives in a driving simulator.
Before using the simulator, participants consumed specific combinations of marijuana and alcohol, or a placebo. They used a vaporizer to consume marijuana because the study took place at the University of Iowa, which is smoke-free. The study participants gave blood and saliva samples so researchers could verify their intoxication levels. The researchers measured their levels of THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana) and their blood alcohol concentrations.
Full story of government says danger mixing alcohol and marijuana at drugfree.org
A small study suggests using a form of virtual reality therapy may be useful in treating alcohol dependence. The treatment puts patients in situations similar to real life, and requires them to actively participate, Reuters reports.
South Korean researchers studied 10 patients with alcohol dependence who went through a week-long detox program. They then participated in virtual reality sessions using a 3D television screen, twice a week for five weeks.
Each session included three virtual reality scenarios. One scenario was designed to relax them, while the second was meant to trigger alcohol cravings in a situation where other people were drinking. The third scenario was designed to make drinking appear unpleasant, by placing participants in a room where people were getting sick from alcohol. They also drank a liquid that tasted like vomit during the simulation.
Full story of virtual reality treating alcohol dependence at drugfree.org
Universities should use social media to convince students to reduce their drinking, according to a group of alcohol and public health experts. They suggest borrowing tactics from the alcohol industry to target alcohol-related messages toward specific groups.
The experts met at Boston University to discuss how to use social media to reach college students with anti-drinking messages. In a report on the meeting, the experts said educational quizzes could be targeted at students less likely to engage in risky drinking. Messages about therapy and rehab could be sent to students who may have alcohol dependence, Forbes reports. Messages could be tailored to a particular college’s drinking culture, the experts noted.
“I think for any organization trying to curtail alcohol use or binge drinking, it’s almost imperative to have a social media presence because that’s where the kids are,” said Michael Siegal , a professor at Boston University who studies the effects of marketing on youth substance use. “Especially since it looks like the alcohol companies have a presence, it can’t be a one-way street.”
Full story of social media reducing student drinking at drugfree.org
A driver alcohol detection system that would be installed in cars could be ready for production in five years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced.
The system would determine if a person sitting in the driver’s seat is intoxicated, without requiring them to breathe into an interlock device, Fox News reports.
Researchers are refining two technologies that will allow the system to focus solely on the driver, and isolate them from passengers who have consumed alcohol. One technology collects air from the driver’s breath and directs it to infrared sensors in the car, which can analyze the ratio of carbon dioxide to alcohol.
Full story driver alcohol detection system at drugfree.org
Volunteer sober groups are expanding at summer music festivals, The New York Times reports. These groups are expected at more than a dozen festivals this year.
Music festival promoters are trying to fight the perception that their events are drug-fueled. Last year festival organizers increased drug screening after reports of drug-related deaths at festivals in 2013. The deaths were linked to the club drug Molly. Organizers said they will provide medical tents with doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians. They also said they will employ sniffer dogs, pat-downs and other drug screening measures.
Sober groups are expected this summer at festivals including Lollapalooza in Chicago, Outside Lands in San Francisco, Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and Nocturnal Wonderland in San Bernardino, California.
Full story of volunteer sober groups at music festivals at drugfree.org