Tag Archives | Alcoholism

Homeless Alcoholics Are Bad For Sales

Some guys on the street had lived at the wet house for a decade. They called it The Club. Photo via

Some guys on the street had lived at the wet house for a decade. They called it The Club. Photo via

This post originally appeared on the fabulous but now defunct Substance.com.

I saw Zack the other day. He was drunk and trying to panhandle, hitting up tourists for cash to buy more beer. It wasn’t working very well because he was so hammered that he couldn’t speak. When you’re a filthy older man, drunk and barely able to stand up, enunciation is a requirement of successful panhandling.

When I first started working at the shelter  they gave me Zack to work with. His caseworker was leaving and he needed a new one. I remember her saying over and over, “Oh, you’re going to have fun with him” in a sarcastic manner. Pretty much everyone said something like that. It was like they all knew I had herpes, but I didn’t know it yet.… Read the rest

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Is This Why Old Blue Eyes Liked A Drink?

A new study suggests that people with blue eyes are more prone to alcoholism than those with darker eyes, reports Yahoo Health:

Is it mere coincidence, or do people with blue eyes really run a higher risk of being alcoholics? A new study out of the University of Vermont suggests that the link not only exists, but it appears to be a genetic one.

Blue eye.svg

Blue eye by alex_fernandez (CC)


Reporting in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, the researchers find that among European-Americans, those with light-colored eyes — described as ones that are green, gray, and brown in the center — have higher rates of alcohol dependency than Euro-Americans with dark brown eyes; that link is strongest in blue-eyed people.

“We still don’t know the reason,” researcher Dawei Li says in a University of Vermont press release, but they do know that the very genes that determine eye color are situated along the same chromosome as genes that are known to be linked to alcohol dependency…

[continues at Yahoo Health]

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The Enormous Scope of Our National Drinking Problem

America has a drinking problem. It’s serious, affecting about 30% of Americans – and we’re in denial according to Pacific Standard:

Nearly three out of 10 Americans have shown evidence of a serious alcohol-related problem at some point in their lives, and only one-fifth of those have sought professional help.

Those sobering statistics are found in a study just published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. It’s the first comprehensive look at the widespread problem of Alcohol Use Disorder, as newly defined by the American Psychiatric Association.

me drunk & chris'_MMVI

Photo: D. Sinclair Terrasidius (CC)

Due to changing criteria, and past studies showing differing results, trends regarding alcohol-related problems are difficult to definitively discern. But just on their own, the latest numbers are staggering.

“Emerging adulthood is becoming an increasingly vulnerable period for Alcohol Use Disorder onset. (The results) suggest an urgent need to develop and implement more effective prevention and intervention efforts.”

Based on their behavior over the previous year, nearly 14 percent of Americans fit the new definition of Alcohol Use Disorder, which integrates two previously separate categories, “alcohol abuse” and “alcohol dependence.”

Taking into account their entire lives, that figure increases to 29.1 percent.

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Fact Check: Native Americans and Alcohol

Fritz_Baumann_Trinker_1915As I grew up in a family of alcoholics with not terribly distant Native American roots, I heard a lot of things about North America’s indigenous people and alcohol. As it turns out, none of it was true. I never claimed any kind of American Indian identity, considering such disingenuous coming from a white guy from the suburbs who draws his heritage from plenty of sources both known and unknown. Anyway, here’s an interesting piece about Native Americans and alcohol, courtesy of Today I Found Out:

It is a sad truth that Native Americans suffer from alcoholism at rates far higher than those of other ethnic groups. While many causes likely contribute to this problem, some of those most commonly espoused, including lack of prior exposure to alcohol and genetic predisposition, are oft-repeated misconceptions. In fact, well before Europeans began to colonize the Americas, Native Americans were putting on a nice, polite buzz.

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LSD Gets Another Look As Alcoholism Treatment

LSDScott Hensley reports on NPR:
You might be tempted to chuckle about some Norwegian researchers peering back at experiments done during the '60s and '70s with LSD as a treatment for alcoholism. But don't. Their rigorous analysis, combining data from six different studies, concludes that one dose of the hallucinogenic drug might just help. The past studies randomly assigned patients to get a strong dose of LSD or something else (another drug, such as amphetamine, a low dose of LSD or nothing special). And the results provide evidence for a beneficial effect on abstinence from alcohol. For what it's worth, the analysis, just published online by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, was funded by the Research Council of Norway, not exactly a fringe outfit ...
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‘Demon Squirrel’ Stars In New Russian Anti-Alcoholism Campaign (Video)

Man, this rodent needs to lay off the sauce. Via BBC News:
A Russian cartoon on alcoholism featuring a red-eyed "demon squirrel" with "the shakes" has had more than a million views on YouTube. The squirrel rants about "chasing spiders up the walls" with a friend, who then murders his wife. The public information ad has created a buzz word, "kudyapliki" — imaginary creatures the squirrel and his friend want to hunt during their binge. "Are you on the booze yourself?" he asks at the end. "I'll be seeing you."
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Outlaw Professor Confirms Alcohol ‘More Harmful Than Heroin’

[disinfo ed.'s note: although we ran a story about this report previously, we decided that Aaron's post had sufficient additional information to run it too.]
Not sure about the "harm score" reliability, but the chart is worth a gander nevertheless;  the BBC reports:
Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack, according to a study published in medical journal the Lancet. The report is co-authored by Professor David Nutt, the former UK chief drugs adviser who was sacked by the government in October 2009. It ranks 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm to users and to wider society. drugs comparison
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Booze More Deadly Than Smack Or Crack

"King Alcohol and his Prime Minister" circa 1820

"King Alcohol and his Prime Minister" circa 1820

Fuel for critics of the war on some drugs, from AP via Yahoo News:

Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study.

British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.

Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.

Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine.

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Connection Between Genetics and Alcohol Tolerance Found

While science still hasn’t decided whether or not alcoholism is genetic, they have found a gene that may answer why some people have a higher tolerance. From BBC News:

Experts say they have found a “tipsy” gene that explains why some people feel alcohol’s effects quicker than others.

The US researchers believe 10% to 20% of people have a version of the gene that may offer some protection against alcoholism.

That is because people who react strongly to alcohol are less likely to become addicted, studies show.

The University of North Carolina said the study aims to help fight addiction, not pave the way for a cheap night out.

Ultimately, people could be given CYP2E1-like drugs to make them more sensitive to alcohol – not to get them drunk more quickly, but to put them off drinking to inebriation, the Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research journal reported.

Continues at BBC News

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