23 January 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Recently, Marczinski and colleagues (2013) showed that energy drinks combined with alcohol augment a person's desire to drink more alcohol relative to drinking alcohol alone. The current study replicates the findings of Marczinski and colleagues (2013) using a robust measure of alcohol craving.

METHODS: Seventy-five participants aged 18 to 30 years were assigned to an alcohol only or alcohol+energy drink condition in a double-blind randomized pre- versus posttest experiment. Participants received a cocktail containing either 60 ml of vodka and a Red Bull((R)) Silver Edition energy drink (alcohol+energy drink condition) or 60 ml of vodka with a soda water vehicle (alcohol-only condition); both cocktails contained 200 ml of fruit drink. The primary outcome measure was the Alcohol Urge Questionnaire taken at pretest and at 20 minutes (posttest). Other measures taken at posttest were the Biphasic Alcohol Effects Questionnaire, the Drug Effects Questionnaire, and breath alcohol concentration (BAC).

RESULTS: The alcohol+energy drink condition showed a greater pre- versus posttest increase in urge to drink alcohol compared with the alcohol-only condition (B = 3.24, p = 0.021, d = 0.44). Participants in the alcohol+energy drink condition had significantly higher ratings on liking the cocktail and wanting to drink more of the cocktail, and lower BACs, than the alcohol-only condition. When examined at specific BACs, the effect of the energy drink on the pre- to posttest increase in urge to drink was largest and only significant at BACs of 0.04-0.05 (cf. < 0.04 g/dl).There were no significant differences in stimulation, sedation, feeling the effects of the cocktail, or feeling high.

CONCLUSIONS: Combining energy drinks with alcohol increased the urge to drink alcohol relative to drinking alcohol alone. More research is needed to understand what factors mediate this effect and whether it increases subsequent alcohol consumption.

23 January 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Alcohol policies and interventions seek to curtail risky single-occasion drinking (RSOD) and the negative health and public order consequences. Yet RSOD behaviors are not easily defined since people can drink excessively at a variety of locations and drink a range of products. The current study examines the presence and correlates of different typologies or classes of drinking behavior on 1 Saturday night to facilitate a nuanced policy response to harmful drinking.

METHODS: Data from 1,883 adults aged 18 to 30 were collected using an online survey. Latent class analysis was used to categorize respondents into mutually exclusive classes based on the quantity, type, and unit cost of alcohol consumed plus location of alcohol consumption on the past Saturday night. Significant correlates and predictors of latent class membership were then identified using regression analysis.

RESULTS: Seven distinct classes were identified that represent qualitatively distinct profiles of Saturday night drinking behavior among young adults. Multivariate analyses indicated that alcohol risk (measured using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test), age, and recent (past 12 months) stimulant use were strong predictors of heavier drinking. The heaviest drinkers also consumed some of the cheapest alcohol and consumed alcohol at multiple locations over the course of the night.

CONCLUSIONS: Given the large degree of heterogeneity among drinking behaviors, policy makers need to be cognizant that alcohol type and drinking location-specific policies may be less effective in targeting some groups of the population.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND: The average U.S. adolescent is exposed to about 2.5 hours of popular music and 8 mentions of alcohol brands every day. Alcohol brand mentions may function as advertising whether or not they are sanctioned by the alcohol industry. Our study aimed to determine associations between adolescents' involvement with music containing alcohol brand mentions and alcohol-related behaviors.

METHODS: In 2010 to 2011, we conducted a random-digit-dial survey using national U.S. land line and cell phone frames. Through screening interviews, we identified 6,466 eligible households with subjects between 15 and 23 years of age, of whom 3,422 (53%) completed the telephone survey. Of these, 2,541 opted to participate in a subsequent web-based component. Independent variables included a composite score indicating owning and liking popular songs with alcohol brand mentions and correct recall of alcohol brands in songs. Outcome measures included ever having consumed a complete drink, ever bingeing, bingeing at least monthly, and having experienced problems from alcohol use.

RESULTS: Among the 2,541 participants, compared with those in the lowest tertile on the receptivity scale, those in the highest tertile had higher odds of having had a complete drink (OR = 3.4; 95% CI = 2.2, 5.2) after adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sensation seeking, friend alcohol use, and parent alcohol use. Compared with those who did not identify at least 1 alcohol brand correctly, those who did had over twice the odds of having had a complete drink (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.2, 3.8) after adjusting for all covariates. Results were also significant for the outcome of ever bingeing, but not for bingeing at least monthly or having had problems due to drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: In a national sample of U.S. adolescents and young adults, there were independent associations between involvement with popular music containing alcohol brand mentions and both having ever had a complete drink and having ever binged on alcohol.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Sobriety checkpoints are not usually randomly located by traffic authorities. As such, information provided by non-random alcohol tests cannot be used to infer the characteristics of the general driving population. In this paper a case study is presented in which the prevalence of alcohol-impaired driving is estimated for the general population of drivers. A stratified probabilistic sample was designed to represent vehicles circulating in non-urban areas of Catalonia (Spain), a region characterized by its complex transportation network and dense traffic around the metropolis of Barcelona. Random breath alcohol concentration tests were performed during spring 2012 on 7596 drivers. The estimated prevalence of alcohol-impaired drivers was 1.29%, which is roughly a third of the rate obtained in non-random tests. Higher rates were found on weekends (1.90% on Saturdays and 4.29% on Sundays) and especially at night. The rate is higher for men (1.45%) than for women (0.64%) and it shows an increasing pattern with age. In vehicles with two occupants, the proportion of alcohol-impaired drivers is estimated at 2.62%, but when the driver was alone the rate drops to 0.84%, which might reflect the socialization of drinking habits. The results are compared with outcomes in previous surveys, showing a decreasing trend in the prevalence of alcohol-impaired drivers over time.

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