Military not immune to drug and alcohol abuse

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Our veterans and their families have earned our respect and deserve our support as a result of long and multiple deployments, exposure to combat, physical injuries, an increase in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic brain injury (TBI). And our support has extended into the alcohol or drug abuse area as well as a result of the extreme stressful events experienced while serving one, two, or three military tours.

Addressing the Problem:

A 2012 report prepared by the Department of Defense (DOD) by the Institute of Medicine  recommended ways of addressing the problem of substance use in the military, including increasing the use of evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions and expanding access to care.  The report recommends broadening insurance coverage to include effective outpatient treatments and better equipping healthcare providers to recognize and screen for substance use problems so they can refer patients to appropriate, evidence-based treatment when needed.  It also recommends measures like limiting access to alcohol on military bases.
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Branches of the military have already taken steps to curb prescription drug abuse.  The Army, for example, has implemented changes that include limiting the duration of prescriptions for opioid pain relievers to 6 months and having a pharmacist monitor a soldier’s medications when multiple prescriptions are being used.

Saving Lives:

Fortunately, as a result of the help and support of the military, veterans and those who work in the field of alcoholism and addiction, more veterans of the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam and their families are living lives in long-term recovery than at any point in our history.
Source:  NIDA, Drugabuse.org

Violent video games linked to risk of crime, alcohol abuse

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A US study reports violent video games glorifying antisocial characters could increase teenage gamer’s risk of criminal and other risky behavior like smoking and alcohol use.  These adult rated games also affect teens self-image.
A previous Dartmouth study published in 2012 had already found that such video games could incite teens to drive carelessly. Other studies have linked violent videogames to adolescent aggressiveness and violence.  In
jillericsonheadshot Violent video games linked to risk of crime, alcohol abuse

Jill Erickson

fact, youths who play these types of video games may identify themselves with the antisocial protagonists they feature.

But this latest study is important because it is the first to suggest that possible effects of violent videogames go well beyond violence to apply to substance use, risky driving, and risk-taking sexual behavior.
Among the factors they examined were playing three violent videogames glorifying violence – “Grand Theft Auto”, “Manhunt”, and “Spiderman”.
Source: Dartmouth College-Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Dartmouth Professor of Pediatrics James Sargent

Light alcohol drinking less healthy than originally thought

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A glass or two of booze is good for your heart, according to long-standing medical advice that drinkers are often fond of citing.

Reducing even light consumption of alcohol will not only improve your chances against coronary heart disease, but also help you lose weight and reduce high blood pressure according to a British Medical Journal study .

Writing in the British Medical Journal, researchers carried out an overview of 50 published studies on the drinking habits and health of more than 260,000 people of European descent. They focused on those with a key variant of a gene called ADH1B.

Previous research has found that a single change in the DNA code in this gene makes people less sensitive to drink and less at risk from alcoholism.

The new study discovered that individuals with the variant drank 17-percent fewer units of alcohol per week and were 78-percent less likely to binge-drink that those without it. They also had a 10-percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and enjoyed lower systolic blood pressure and body mass index (BMI).

“This suggests that reduction of alcohol consumption, even for light to moderate drinkers, is beneficial for cardiovascular health”, the study contended.

Stats on Teen Binge Drinking

By Jill Erickson

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According to 16,000 students surveyed between 2005-2011, one in five high school seniors reports binge drinking in the last two weeks, and one in ten reports “extreme drinking – consuming 10 or more drinks on one occasion according to the study.

jillericsonheadshot Stats on Teen Binge Drinking

Jill Erickson

Consumption levels were much higher than questionnaires usually cover. Megan Patrick who led the study at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said “Students were drinking two or three times the typical binge drinking threshold”. She told Reuters Health that “Consuming 10 or 15 drinks at one time is a lot of alcohol for a teenager and understanding the negative consequences that go along with these very high rates is important.”

The surveys were completed by a nationally-representative group of U.S. high school seniors. In all, 20.0 percent of the teenagers said they had at least five drinks on one or more occasions in the past two weeks, 10.5 percent had consumed at least 10 drinks in a row and 5.6 percent at least 15 drinks.

One drink was defined in the questionnaire as “a 12-ounce can or bottle of beer; a 4-ounce glass of wine; a 12-ounce bottle or can of a wine cooler; or a mixed drink, shot glass of liquor, or the equivalent”.

Boys were more likely to report heavy drinking than girls. For example, 15.1 percent of boys reported recently drinking at least 10 drinks in a row, compared to 5.3 percent of girls.

source: Manila Bulletin