August 12, 2015
About 4.2 million people—close to 2 percent of American adults—admitted to driving drunk in the prior month, HealthDay reports. Alcohol-impaired driving crashes account for about one-third of all U.S. crash deaths in the past two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are an estimated 121 million episodes of drunk driving annually, the CDC noted in its report.
The study found people in the Midwest consistently report higher alcohol-impaired driving rates than those living in other regions. Men ages 21 to 34 accounted for one-third of drunk driving episodes. Overall, men accounted for 80 percent of impaired drivers, the article notes.
The CDC researchers found 4 percent of adults are binge drinkers—men who have five or more drinks on one occasion, or women who have four or more drinks on one occasion. Binge drinkers account for nearly two-thirds of all drunk driving incidents.
People who say they sometimes do not wear a seatbelt were three times more likely to drive drunk, compared with adults who generally buckle up.
The researchers said states and communities can take steps to reduce drunk driving. These include expanding the use of publicized sobriety checkpoints; enforcing breath alcohol laws and minimum legal drinking age laws; and increasing alcohol taxes. The CDC also recommends requiring ignition interlocks, which are breath-test devices connected to a vehicle’s ignition. They require a driver to exhale into the device, and prevent the engine from being started if the analyzed result exceeds a preprogrammed level for anyone convicted of alcohol-impaired driving.
August 3, 2015
Past Month Alcohol Use Among U.S. 8th, 10th, and 12th Graders Continues to Decline; Approaching Levels of Marijuana Use
Alcohol use among middle and high school students continues to decline to record lows, according to data from the 2014 national Monitoring the Future survey. The percentage of 12th graders reporting past month alcohol use decreased from highs above 70% in the late 1970's to 37% in 2014, the lowest rate since data collection began in 1975. Use among 8th and 10th graders has also declined, reaching record lows in 2014.
While alcohol continues to be the substance most frequently reported by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, the recent declines have narrowed the gap between those reporting alcohol use and those reporting marijuana use. For example, in 1991, 25.1% of 8th graders reported using alcohol in the past month, compared to 3.2% who reported past month marijuana use. In 2014, 9.0% of 8th graders reported using alcohol in the past month, compared to 6.5% reporting marijuana use.
Percentage of U.S. 8th, 10th, and 12th Grade Students
Reporting Past Month Alcohol and/or Marijuana Use, 1975-2014
SOURCE: Adapted by CESAR from Institute of Social Research, University of Michigan, Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975–2014: Volume I, Secondary School Students, 2015. Available online at http://www.monitoringthefuture.org.
July 22, 2015
July 8, 2015
The study included more than 8,200 middle school students in Southern California, HealthDay reports. In the first year of the study, 22 percent of the students said they had seen at least one medical marijuana ad in the past three months. The following year, the number rose to 30 percent.
The findings are published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
“As prohibitions on marijuana ease and sales of marijuana become more visible, it’s important to think about how we need to change the way we talk to young people about the risks posed by the drug,” study author Elizabeth D’Amico of the nonprofit research organization RAND said in a news release. “The lessons we have learned from alcohol — a substance that is legal, but not necessarily safe — may provide guidance about approaches we need to take toward marijuana.”
Teens can see ads for medical marijuana on billboards, in newspapers and on television, and on dispensary storefronts, the researchers noted.
“Given that advertising typically tells only one side of the story, prevention efforts must begin to better educate youth about how medical marijuana is used, while also emphasizing the negative effects that marijuana can have on the brain and performance,” D’Amico said.
The researchers said their findings do not prove that seeing ads cause marijuana use. “However, the study does raise questions about whether there is a need to revise prevention programming for youth as the availability, visibility and legalization surrounding marijuana changes,” they noted.
July 6, 2015