People with Certain Personality Traits are Less Likely to Mature Out of Hazardous Substance Use, Study Suggests

The typical rise and fall of alcohol and cannabis consumption from late adolescence into adulthood does not hold for people with certain personality traits, a new study suggests. Among individuals who used both alcohol and cannabis, those with high impulsivity as adolescents showed a different developmental trajectory from their peers, according to a study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research — the first to assess co-use of the two substances well into adulthood. Alcohol and cannabis are the two most frequently used psychotropic drugs in the US. High use is associated with negative health outcomes, particularly when the two substances are used concurrently or simultaneously. Little is known about the developmental course of alcohol and cannabis co-use into adulthood and whether it is influenced by sensation seeking and reduced conscientiousness, markers of disinhibition associated with hazardous substance use. Researchers at Arizona State University explored whether those pe

Conversations between teenagers can predict future drug and alcohol abuse

A study from Arizona State University and Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands has shown that conversations between a pair of 17-year-old friends can predict future drug and alcohol abuse. If the teens talked positively about alcohol or cannabis, they were more likely to be diagnosed with an alcohol or cannabis use disorder, respectively, by the time they were 27 years old.

Sleep Disruption Predicts Drinking and Cannabis use in Young People, with Middle and High School Students Potentially Most Vulnerable

A five-year study has highlighted the importance of healthy sleep patterns in relation to future binge-drinking and cannabis use in adolescence and young adulthood, as reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The work builds on growing evidence that sleep characteristics are predictive of future substance use and related problems in young people, and could inform strategies for substance use prevention and intervention. Most previous studies assessed only a small range of sleep characteristics, and had limited follow-up. In the new analysis, researchers used six annual assessments from the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA) study to examine whether multiple sleep characteristics in any year predict alcohol and cannabis use the following year. Data from over eight hundred NCANDA study participants, aged 12 to 21 at baseline, were included.

Pregnant Women’s Alcohol Use is Linked to Partners’ Drinking

Pregnant women’s alcohol use is correlated with their partners’ drinking, according to a large European study — and partners are unlikely to meaningfully reduce or halt their alcohol consumption while expecting a baby. The findings may offer a new way of identifying women at risk of drinking in pregnancy and potentially intervening to prevent or reduce harm. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can seriously impair fetal health and development, causing stillbirth and lifelong disabilities. These include fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), the primary cause of non-genetic cognitive disability worldwide. Although the drinking patterns of women and their partners are known to be correlated, little attention has been given to partners’ alcohol use during pregnancy and how this may affect women’s drinking and pregnancy outcomes. For the study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, investigators searched for associations between pregnant women’s and their partners’ alcohol us

How Adolescents Used Drugs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Among adolescents ages 10 to 14 in the U.S, the overall rate of drug use remained relatively stable in the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one change was a decreased use of alcohol, but an increased use of nicotine and misuse of prescription drugs.

Young Adults’ Alcohol Use and Cannabis Use Rise and Fall Together Rather than Substituting for Each Other

Young adults’ use of cannabis and alcohol tends to rise and fall together, rather than one substance substituting for the other, according to a new study. Understanding the relationship between cannabis use and alcohol use is critical for informing policy and public health strategies. Legalizing recreational cannabis use has raised the possibility that cannabis may substitute for risky drinking or other substance use, potentially with less severe public health consequences.

Alcohol use among sexual minority adolescents is linked to discrimination and stigmatization

Sexual minority adolescents – lesbian, gay, or bisexual youth – are at an increased risk for substance use, including alcohol. A new study finds that discriminatory and stigmatizing experiences may be to blame. These results and others will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be held virtually this year from the 19th – 23rd of June 2021.

About the cannabis and alcohol relationship: it’s complicated

Not only is cannabis the most commonly used illicit – in a number of states – drug among people who drink alcohol, cannabis is also by far the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. overall. New research findings tease out the nuanced relationship between alcohol and cannabis through a survey of regular cannabis users who also report drinking alcohol, as well as heavy drinkers in treatment who also use cannabis. These findings will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be held virtually this year from the 19th – 23rd of June 2021.

Stay-at-home orders tied to an increase in harmful alcohol consumption, study finds

Binge drinkers increased their alcohol consumption by nearly 20% during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, according to new research by public health experts at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Their study, published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, is one of the first to analyze the association of stress caused by the pandemic and dangerous alcohol consumption.

In the Mood for Drinking? Study Tracks College Students’ Emotion Dynamics During Drinking and Non-drinking Days

A study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research has highlighted the link between emotional functioning and alcohol use. Previous research has shown that mood regulation is a core component of problematic drinking, and that emotions have a role in reinforcing repeated alcohol use – whether via the mood- and social-enhancing effects of alcohol (‘positive reinforcement’), or through drinking as a coping strategy to alleviate negative feelings of stress and anxiety (‘negative reinforcement’). According to theoretical models of addiction, alcohol reinforcement can act as a pathway to development of alcohol misuse and dependence over the longer-term. However, it is also important to understand the daily impact of emotional regulation and alcohol associations. In the latest study, researchers from the University of Central Florida examined snapshots of mood in college students in real time across drinking and non-drinking days, using a technique called ecological momentary

Researchers Unravel the Ways Income and Liquor Stores are Related to Neighborhood Drinking

Residents of wealthier neighborhoods drink alcohol twice as frequently as people in poorer areas, a new study suggests. The neighborhood environment is known to be associated with alcohol use. But the separate effects of various factors — for example, average income and the number of off-sales outlets — are complex, situational, and difficult to unravel. A new study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research demonstrates a sampling technique that isolates these influences. It explores how certain individual characteristics interacted with certain neighborhood characteristics among 984 survey respondents.

Untangling the Effects of Past Adversity and Alcohol Use Disorder on Acute Stress Responses

The hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis is the body’s key stress response system. By driving production of the stress hormone cortisol, and then ensuring a return to baseline levels, the HPA axis regulates our reaction to stressful events. Chronic alcohol use, however, can lead to persistently elevated cortisol, reducing the body’s capacity to respond appropriately to stress. Among people in treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the blunted stress response predicts risk of relapse and a return to drinking. Longer-term life stress, including childhood adversity, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic stress, can also dampen HPA axis function, complicating interpretation of the alterations evident in people with AUD. However, it is not known how stress and trauma intereact with AUD to affect HPA-axis reactivity. A new report in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research by researchers from the universities of Texas, Florida, and Colorado addresses this issue, u

Female college students more affected academically by high alcohol use than men

Female college students appear to be more affected by high alcohol use than men, which may lead to less interest in academics, according to new research including by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Students Who Up Their Cannabis Use Face Increased Risk of Alcohol Problems

Cannabis use can worsen some consequences of alcohol use among young adult drinkers over time, according to a new study which tracked the frequency of cannabis use and negative drinking outcomes among college students over three years. More than one in five young drinkers use cannabis, often (but not always) at the same time as drinking alcohol. This is a concern because the effects of cannabis might combine with those of alcohol to increase negative outcomes of drinking, such as impaired driving or developing an alcohol use disorder Although previous research has suggested a link between cannabis use and alcohol consequences, there have been few long-term evaluations of the impact of fluctuations in cannabis use on alcohol consequences over time. The latest study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, was conducted by researchers in Toronto, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York.

General Anesthetic Exposure During Adolescence Might Contribute to Developing Alcohol Use Disorder

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – General anesthetic exposure during adolescence may be an environmental risk factor contributing to an enhanced susceptibility to developing alcohol use disorders, according to researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York.  Adolescent alcohol abuse can lead…

Alcohol, adolescence, and anesthesia: identifying risk factors for alcohol use disorder

Alcohol misuse is common among adolescents, and increases the risk of developing a chronic alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the future. Adolescents respond differently to alcohol compared with adults — they tend to be less sensitive to some of the negative effects of drinking that help protect against excessive intake, but more sensitive to its rewarding and memory-impairing effects. This may contribute to the high rates of alcohol misuse in adolescence, as well as to an elevated risk of developing AUD. However, as not all adolescents who drink alcohol will develop an AUD, it is important to identify factors that may further increase propensity to abuse alcohol in this age-group. Researchers from the State University of New York at Binghamton are interested in the potential impact of having a general anaesthetic, in view of evidence that exposure to anesthesia in adolescence can cause behavioral alterations similar to those induced by alcohol. In a new study published in the journal Alcoh

Does simultaneous use of marijuana affect alcohol intake and consequences among young adults?

Simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana (SAM) is common among young people, and is sometimes a deliberate choice to enhance the effects of intoxication. However, compared with alcohol use alone, SAM has been linked to a greater risk of interpersonal problems, physical and mental health issues, and road accidents. Despite this, there has been little research at the occasion level – for example, it is not known if individuals who engage in SAM drink more (or less) alcohol on the occasions when they also use marijuana, and experience more (or fewer) alcohol-related consequences, than on alcohol-only days. Researchers in Seattle and Minneapolis have conducted a new study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, to evaluate these aspects, by conducting multiple daily assessments of alcohol and SAM use among the same individuals over time. The study took place in and around Seattle in Washington state, where non-medical marijuana use is legal for those over