Posts Tagged ‘alcohol related deaths’

Bravo to Central Washington University!

November 10, 2010

Cleared2Drive Central Washington UniversityCentral Washington University Bans Alcohol Energy Drinks from Campus

The nine Central Washington University students who were hospitalized last month after an off-campus party had been drinking the caffeinated malt liquor “Four Loko”. According to a press release  from the University, the blood alcohol levels of hospitalized students ranged from .123 to .35. The University has now banned alcohol energy drinks from their campus.

Let’s hope that more universities and colleges follow suit!

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Doctors Say Alcoholic Energy Drinks Dangerous

November 9, 2010

Cleared2Drive four locoSome doctors say drinks that combining alcohol with caffeine should be banned because they’re dangerous, ABC News reported Oct. 20.

Marketed in large, colorful cans under names like Four Loko, Joose, and Torque, the drinks are popular among college students. The 23.5-ounce canned drinks can contain 12 percent alcohol and 156 milligrams of caffeine, and have encountered increasing criticism. Attorneys general in more than one state are concerned that they’re being marketed to minors, a New Jersey college banned them, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is deciding whether or not the drinks are legal.

Dr. Robert McNamara, who directs the emergency medicine department at Temple University, recently encountered his first-ever case of a healthy 19-year-old whose heart attack seemed to be linked to consuming alcoholic energy drinks. “This is a dangerous product from what we’ve seen,” McNamara said, who said other doctors had told him about similar cases. “It doesn’t have to be chronic use. I think it could happen to somebody on a first time use.”

“I’m mad as hell,” said Doctor Mary Claire O’Brien of Wake Forest University. “These drinks are not safe.”  O’Brien, who is a professor of emergency medicine and public health, recently completed a study that showed that consuming alcohol with caffeine was more harmful than drinking alcohol alone. Those who consumed both were at least two times as likely — compared to those drinking alcohol without caffeine — to be hurt, need medical attention, take sexual advantage of another, or accept a ride with someone who was inebriated.

“They can’t tell that they’re drunk,” O’Brien explained. “What this behavior gets is a wide awake drunk.”

The FDA has said that, under regulations governing food additives, caffeine can’t be mixed with alcohol. It is currently evaluating whether the drinks should remain legal, but no deadline has been set for a decision.  “FDA intends to evaluate the information submitted by the manufacturers and other available scientific evidence as soon as possible in order to determine whether caffeine can be safely and lawfully added to alcoholic beverages,” said Michael Herndon, a spokesman for the FDA.

Phusion Projects, which manufactures Four Loko, told ABC News, “No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or used unlawfully. But Four Loko is neither the sole contributor to alcohol abuse, nor will additional restrictions on it solve the problem.”



College Students Who Use Energy Drinks More Than Twice as Likely to Initiate Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants and Analgesics in Subsequent Year

November 8, 2010

Cleared2Drive college student studyingMore than one-third (36.5%) of third-year college students reported that they consumed energy drinks in 2006, according to data from the College Life Study, an ongoing longitudinal study of a cohort of college students recruited from one large, public, mid-Atlantic university.

Energy drink use was significantly related to higher levels of past and concurrent alcohol and drug use (data not shown). In addition, energy drink users were significantly more likely to subsequently initiate the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants and analgesics.

Nearly one-fifth (18.8%) of energy drink users who reported no prescription stimulant use in their second year of college subsequently started using prescription stimulants nonmedically the following year, compared to only 8.2% of energy drink nonusers. Similar results were found for the initiation of the nonmedical use of prescription analgesics (8.5% vs. 4.0%). Additionally, energy drink use predicted subsequent nonmedical use of prescription stimulants and analgesics, even after controlling for demographics, sensation seeking, caffeine consumption, and prior use of the drug of interest. However, no such association was found for subsequent use of other drugs (i.e., tobacco, marijuana, hallucinogens, cocaine, ecstasy, or prescription tranquilizers).

According to the authors, “one possible explanation is that energy drinks, like prescription drugs, might be regarded by some students as safer, more normative, or more socially acceptable than using illicit ‘street’ drugs…” (p. 79).  Lets hope that “explanation” gets rejected quick, fast and in a hurry!

Not Again. . .

November 2, 2010

Yesterday, when I got into the office and opened my email box, I discovered that once again it was flooded with Google alerts containing stories about people who should know better about the dangers of impaired driving, getting arrested for doing just that, and quite frankly I am appalled by the number of incidents lately. These are all smart, educated people charged with either protecting or treating us.  If talking, education, and literally seeing firsthand the destruction impaired driving causes hasn’t stopped them, do we really believe that more talk and more education will work for the general public?

Okay, I know I have been on this soap box before, but I have never before documented what constantly makes me so sick to my stomach, so, for the next 30 days I am going to keep a record of all the incidents, write about some of the most outrageous ones, and report back here in 30 days on what I discovered.   Honestly, I am terrified that for the next 30 days I am going to be really sick to my stomach.

Just in case you want a preview . . .

. . .  Dr. Raymond Dwight Cook accused of driving drunk at a high rate of speed and causing a collision that killed an aspiring ballerina is scheduled to be in Wake County Superior Court today for his trial.

. . . A Morristown police officer,  Jesse Dickerson, was charged with drunken driving after his car rear-ended a tractor-trailer on in the early hours of Saturday, Oct. 16.

. . . A week after his arrest for alleged drunken driving, 7th Circuit magistrate judge Mark Marshall’s calendar is being cleared of driving under the influence cases.

. . . A highly decorated United States Marine Col who risked his life thousands of times to protect the citizens of the United States, yet chose to risk the lives of  thousands by driving drunk and it cost him his career as he was removed from his post as Commander of Cherry High at Camp LeJune.

And for some more career busters . . .

. . . South Carolina’s House of Representative Candidate John Randolph Wolfe was arrested twice in less than 24 hours for drunk driving.

. . . The former Colorado State Patrol trooper arrested for being drunk while on duty in his patrol car says he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder following years on the state’s accident reconstruction team and his condition caused him to start drinking heavily.

Stay tuned.

Guilt-Based Anti-Alcohol Ads Can Backfire, Study Finds

October 18, 2010

Researchers are now saying that using shame or guilt to try to prevent over consumption of alcohol can actually cause people to drink more.  Go figure!  Shouldn’t we have realized that years ago?   How many of us understand that addicts are mentally trying to escape?  Do we really think that piling on the guilt is going to make an addict stop?

Researcher Adam Duhachek of the Indiana Kelley School of Business and colleagues said that ads that link alcohol abuse to negative consequences like blackouts and automobile crashes in order to elicit feelings of shame or guilt can trigger a defensive coping mechanism. This can lead viewers to believe that bad things related to drinking can only happen to others and can actually increase irresponsible drinking, researchers said.

“The public health and marketing communities expend considerable effort and capital on these campaigns but have long suspected they were less effective than hoped,” said Duhachek. “But the situation is worse than wasted money or effort. These ads ultimately may do more harm than good because they have the potential to spur more of the behavior they’re trying to prevent.”

A better approach might be to educate the public about the negatives associated with drinking but link that message to one of empowerment, said Duhachek. “If you’re going to communicate a frightening scenario, temper it with the idea that it’s avoidable,” he said.

Please don’t get me wrong, I believe educating people about the danger of impaired driving is extremely important, but education alone is never going to eradicate impaired driving.  Lets face it, we have been educating everyone about the dangers of impaired driving for more than 3 decades now (my 31 year old son was taught it in the Safety School program he attended prior to his first day of kindergarten),  yet we have not seen a decrease in impaired driving deaths in the past 15 years.  Until we get serious and accept that it is going to take some type of safety technology  installed in every vehicle, this problem is not going to go away.   Isn’t that the same reason that seat belts and air bags were made mandatory for every vehicle?

I also think these signs serve a better purpose than trying to lay a guilt trip on someone and that is to reminds us how fortune we are that we have never had to live that pain.  My heart and prayers go out to the family every time I see one of these.

35 College Students die each week from alcohol related incidents

October 13, 2010

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that the number of alcohol-related deaths around college campuses is definitely on the rise.  This study found that an average of 35 alcohol related deaths are occurring each week, with 1,440 being reported in 1998 compared to 1,825 in 2009.

“These are tragically unacceptable high figures that indicate an urgent need for colleges and surrounding communities to implement evidence-based prevention and counseling programs,” said Dr. Ralph Hingson, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

For those ages 18-24, most deaths occur from traffic accidents where alcohol is a factor.  The study also found that more students are binge drinking which means they are having five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting.  Just in the past year, the percentage of students admitting to drinking and driving increased from 27% to 29%.

WE ARE GOING IN REVERSE HERE PEOPLE!