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Negative Alcohol Messages are Effective

When parents are opposed to drinking alcohol, kids drink less.

Repeated surveys on college-aged men and women (mean age, 20; 98% living away from home) about drinking behavior and communication with their parents indicate that students drank 43% fewer drinks when the parents opposed drinking alcohol than when students did not perceive any message about drinking. When parents promoted moderate and careful drinking, students actually drank 156% more drinks. Conveying a negative attitude toward drinking reduces drinking, even when students are away from home.

PositiveTip: While it may not be popular, one of the most effective ways to reduce drinking is for parents to oppose it.


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Society’s Role in Preventing Alcohol Problems

When society stays sober about drinking alcohol, young people do too.

When alcohol restrictions in New Zealand were relaxed over an 11 year period (including a lower drinking age, selling wine in grocery stores, and less stringent licensing), researchers found that men and women 14 - 19 years old drank more and experienced more alcohol-related problems.

PositiveTip: Stricter societal attitudes toward drinking result in fewer drinking and alcohol-related problems.


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No Safe Threshold for Prenatal Alcohol Consumption

Any alcohol consumption during pregnancy puts infants at risk for multiple risks.

A prospective study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego has found that for each additional drink of alcohol a day on average, during the early months of pregnancy, there were significant increases in the risks for microcephaly (abnormally small brains) reduced birth weight and length. Any alcohol consumption, especially during the second half of the the first trimester raised the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome significantly.

PositiveTip: Women of childbearing age should avoid all alcohol consumption.

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Pot Leads the List

Illicit drug use is a substantial cause of mortality and morbidity.

Tracking the use of illegal drugs is a challenge because of their illegality, but researchers from Australia estimate that 149 to 271 million people around the world use them. Pot (cannabis) is the most widely used. This study did not include hallucinogens, inhalants, anabolic steriods or ecstasy. For perspective, the WHO has estimated that illegal drug use causes 250,000 deaths annually, compared with 2.25 million due to alcohol and over 5 million caused by tobacco.

PositiveTip: For health and safety avoid all illegal drugs, along with the more popular legal ones such as alcohol and tobacco!

Early Drinking Influences Alcohol Addiction in Adulthood

It is fairly common to hear parents talk about the need to teach their children how to drink responsibly.  Apparently, many people assume that responsible use of alcohol at home will be projected to youth as they get older.

This is a dangerous assumption.

Recent research has focused on the connection between the age when a person first uses alcohol and their alcohol problems later in life. Delaying the onset of alcohol use has been proposed as a strategy to prevent alcohol dependence or abuse in adulthood.

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Breast Cancer Risk Higher with Moderate Drinking

Small amounts of alcohol increase risk of invasive breast cancer.

A study of more than 100,000 women for almost 30 years has shown that those who drink 3-6 alcoholic drinks per week had a 15% higher risk of invasive breast cancer compared to non-drinkers. That risk increased to 50% in women who averaged more than 30 drinks per week. The type of alcohol made no difference. This study is consistent with earlier studies.

PositiveTip: Ladies, avoid the use of alcohol to lower your risk of breast cancer. 

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Unhealthful Habits Increase the Risk of Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction associated with poor health habits

Danish researchers found that certain lifestyle habits were associated with sexual inactivity and sexual dysfunction. Women experienced increased risk of sexual inactivity when they were overweight and smoked tobacco; sexual dysfunction when they used hashish.  Risk for sexual dysfunction in men was associated with being underweight or obese, a large waist circumference, physical inactivity, high alcohol intake, tobacco smoking, and use of hard drugs (800% increase).

PositiveTip:  Avoid high-risk lifestyle habits to enhance every aspect of life.


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Self-medicating for Anxiety Is A Fast Track To Alcohol/Drug Abuse

Self-medicating for anxiety with alcohol and drugs can quickly lead to abuse.

Alcohol and drug abuse is often associated with anxiety disorders, but which came first?  A study of 34,653 adults followed for 3 years may help answer this question. Participants having anxiety disorder at the beginning of the study and self-medicated with alcohol and/or drugs, were 2.5 times as likely to develop alcohol abuse, and had a five fold risk of drug abuse problems within three years.  These substances tend to weaken the ability to deal with life issues by making sound, reasonable choices--thus compounding stressful life situations.

Holidays and Traffic Accidents

The holiday season is reving up. Soon some of the busiest holidays will be upon us. On the Thanksgiving weekend, the busiest of all holidays for road traffic, 91% of those traveling are doing so in an automobile.

For as often as people casually do it, getting into an automobile is the most dangerous activity a person does each day. Dying in an automobile crash is the #1 cause of death in those 1-34 years of age. On average 110 people die each day in an automobile crash.

The most dangerous day of the week to drive? Saturday – when on average 143 people die in a traffic accident. The most dangerous time of the day to drive? At night. While only 49% of traffic fatalities are at night, miles driven are only one third of daytime miles – meaning it is three times as dangerous to drive at night.

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Does Parent-monitored Drinking Help Adolescents?

Female adolescents who drank at home were more likely to drink more in college!

A study of 449 college-bound female high school seniors who were not allowed by their parents to drink alcohol at all engaged in less binge drinking while in college compared to those who were allowed to drink at home with friends. The authors suggest that parental drinking permissiviveness and later binge drinking is heavily influenced by the mother's alcohol approval. Even parent-monitored drinking does not protect adolescents from drinking heavily later. 

PositiveTip: Prohibit your adolescents from drinking alcoholic beverages at home for their later benefit.