Commentary: The Crucial Role of Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awarenesss MonthFor 25 years, April has been recognized as Alcohol Awareness Month. So how does this campaign continue to be of value after all of these years?

Alcohol misuse and abuse still have a tremendous impact on our country today. As prom and graduation season are beginning to unfold, April is also a key month in which to highlight the dangers of underage drinking, as well as increase public awareness and understanding about alcohol.

Consider these facts:

• In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – one every 51 minutes (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2012).

• Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, more than tobacco or illicit drugs, and underage alcohol use alone costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., 2012).

Full story of alcohol awareness month at DrugFree.org

New Technology Aims to Prevent Drunk Driving

Technology Prevents Drunk DrivingCars and trucks one day may have built-in blood alcohol detectors,The Wall Street Journal reports. Research on the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is progressing more quickly than expected, and could be available within eight to 10 years, experts say.

The technology could be built into a vehicle’s dashboard or controls. It would check a driver’s blood alcohol level, and would not start if the level were above the legal limit. Researchers developing the system are working with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The next goal would be to develop a commercially produced vehicle that could drive a drunk owner home, the article notes.

About one-third of drivers killed in car crashes have blood alcohol levels of 0.08 or higher, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Full story of drunk driving preventative at drugfree.org

How I Stopped Drowning in Drink (VIDEO)

By Paul Carr

How To Stop DrinkingFor years I’d told myself I wasn’t an alcoholic. I never drank alone. I didn’t wake up with fierce cravings, and sometimes I went for one or two days without drinking. A need to drink all day, every day, was never my problem.

My problem was that once I had a drink—whether it was at 7 p.m. or 9 a.m.—I couldn’t stop until my body shut down and I passed out in a pile on the floor. I still had plenty of friends and still managed to hold down a job, but my relationship with alcohol was very obviously different from most people’s. I was an alcoholic.

As of Saturday, the counter on my website says "878 days." Eight hundred seventy-eight days since I had my last alcoholic drink. Eight hundred seventy-eight days since I declared—very publicly—that my drinking had passed the point where it was funny, crazy or even merely dangerous. In fact, my addiction to alcohol had reached a stage where it was highly likely to kill me.

Enough was enough. So I decided to quit. But I didn’t do it in the typical way.

Full story of a alcoholic’s life at The Wall Street Journal

LSD Might Help Alcoholics Quit, Stay Abstinent: Study

Health Day

LSD Helps Alcoholics QuitThe hallucinogenic drug LSD may help treat alcoholism, new research suggests.

A number of studies examining the use of LSD to treat a variety of disorders, including alcoholism, were conducted in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

In a new analysis, Norwegian researchers examined six studies of LSD and alcoholism that were conducted in the United States and Canada between 1966 and 1970.

The analysis of data from the 536 patients in the studies showed that a single dose of LSD helped heavy alcoholics quit and reduced their risk of resuming drinking, according to the meta-analysis appearing online March 8 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Patients who received a full dose of the controversial drug did the best. On average, 59 percent of those patients showed a clear improvement, compared with 38 percent of patients in other groups, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology researchers said.

Full story of lsd helping alcoholics at US News Health

Stop-Smoking Drug Makes Booze a Turnoff

By Dori F. Zaleznik, MD

Chantix Makes Booze a TurnoffVarenicline (Chantix), a drug that helps some smokers kick the habit could also reduce problem drinking by diminishing the pleasurable effects of alcohol, researchers suggested.

In a randomized, cross-over trial, dysphoric sensations after drinking an alcoholic beverage were greater when preceded by a dose of varenicline (Chantix) than placebo, reported Emma Childs, PhD, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues online inAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Alcohol-induced impairments in a measure of cognitive function also were less severe when participants took varenicline, the researchers indicated.

“This study, combined with previous evidence, suggests that varenicline may reduce alcohol drinking behaviors among light smokers by increasing the negative subjective effects of a low dose of alcohol, thus reducing the likelihood of a drinking episode becoming a binge,” Childs and colleagues concluded.

Full story at Med Page Today