Where Are You on the Spectrum from Harmless to Harmful? - April is Alcohol Awareness Month
- Published on April 23, 2014
It is not a crime to drink alcohol. In fact, it can be good for your health. At the same time, alcohol is the second most abused drug, after tobacco. Some good news is that the 2013 ATOD survey found decreasing lifetime use of alcohol in grades 6-8, and monthly and lifetime use in grades 9-12, along with decreasing prevalence of binge drinking in grades 7-12. Still, according to the CDC “ Prevention Status Report 2013 Indiana” (2013), 16% of adults in Indiana are binge or heavy drinkers, costing the state $4.2 billion annually, or a rate of $1.94 for every drink. Over 50,000 years of potential life are lost and an estimated 1,646 persons die each year in Indiana from excessive drinking. Its popularity is confirmed by the nearly 12,600 alcohol permits on file in Indiana. This article features e-Resources contained in the IPRC HOME Library and AV collections.
Alcohol’s impact takes many forms, from devastation of individuals’ lives from addiction to the drug, to accidents caused by it that affect many innocent victims as well as the drinker, to disintegration of families living with an alcoholic, to lives affected by a mother’s alcohol use during pregnancy that results in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The human toll is tragic. Even a single episode of heavy drinking can result in injury, accident, or damage to personal relationships, professional life, or academic career.
Via its e-Resources, the IPRC strives to supply you with full and timely information on alcohol and its consequences. The HOME library provides direct access to over 1200 electronic resources dealing with alcohol-related topics, including 958 for alcohol, 242 for alcoholism, 41 for alcohol and women, 10 for alcohol and veterans, and 40 for alcohol and web site. Users can access dozens of informational websites aimed at audiences ranging from children to medical and prevention professionals. Additionally, the AV e-Resources collection includes 77 online videos on the topic of alcohol.
One way to help monitor people’s status on the spectrum from harmless to harmful use of alcohol is by the use of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment, known as SBIRT. An 8 minute video from IU’s TV program, “Sound Medicine” (2013) by Dr. David Crabb, provides an excellent overview of this highly cost effective prevention tool. In “Doc Chat: Diagnosing Alcohol Abuse,”, Dr. Crabb relays how traditional methods used by doctors to gauge patient’s possible alcohol problems are unreliable. Instead, he promotes use of SBIRT at the start of each doctor’s visit. Just 3-10 quick questions, he says, will indicate whether the person’s drinking patterns fall outside safe, recommended limits. Then he explains how a brief intervention (follow-up discussion) can yield significant benefits and at an extremely low cost.
Another e-Resources on the topic is the 2013 Technical Assistance Publication (TAP 33) titled, “Systems-Level Implementation of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)” on counseling techniques from SAMHSA, describing use of SBIRT across the nation, including on college campuses and in tribal settings.
Websites on Alcohol
An example of a major web site devoted to alcohol is the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) web site. It covers alcohol and health, publications, research, grant funding, and more. It currently features a section on why Drinking Is Particularly Risky for Some People” with sections on youth under age 21, college-age young adults, seniors, women, and ethnic and racial minorities. It also includes sections on fetal alcohol exposure and alcohol policy.
If you drink alcohol, you may find the NIAAA online discussion of “Moderate and Binge Drinking” of interest. Moderate or “low-risk” drinking is defined as, for men, 4 or less drinks on any one day AND not more than 14 per week. For women, low-risk drinking is defined as not more than 3 drinks on any one day AND no more than 7 in a week. Additionally, to safeguard your health and keep your risks low, you should make it a point to drink slowly and eat enough while drinking. Some people are advised to not drink at all. These include anyone who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant, and anyone planning to drive, taking medication that interact with alcohol, or having a medical condition aggravated by alcohol.
Underage Drinking Prevention
The StopAlcoholAbuse.gov web site from SAMSHA is devoted to stopping underage drinking and offers statistics, funding opportunities, information and technical assistance, prevention videos and information on upcoming webinars.
Another prevention site is “The Cool Spot”, co-sponsored by the NIAAA, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services and federal government (USA.gov). It provides fun and interactive pages that teach youth the facts about alcohol, its effects, and how to resist peer pressure.
Videos on Alcohol -- Alcoholism
Searching the IPRC DVD/AV database for online videos on alcohol, you will find 77 items by selecting Alcohol and format-online video. Examples include an episode of IU’s Sound Medicine from November 2013 on the risks of drinking alcohol while taking Tylenol. Another is a youtube video from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) titled, “It Can Happen to Anyone” about alcoholism among older adults. A third comes from National Geographic, “Utterly Addicted to Alcohol / High on Alcohol”, telling the story of Ryan, age 28, already an alcohol for years, describing his severe physical and and psychiatric symptoms and treatment efforts.
Videos on Alcohol College Student Drinking Culture
In “No Limits / Know Limits” (SAMHSA, 2012) Indiana college students (from various schools, but mostly Notre Dame and St Mary's) and prevention professionals discuss the college drinking culture: why students drink, how much they drink, and what can be done to reduce drinking and the harm associated with it.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
A whole special issue of the highly respected NIAAA journal Alcohol Research and Health, titled, “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders” (2012) is devoted to the topic. It includes 15 articles on such topics as maternal risk factors and use of 3D facial imaging to find subtle physical signs of FAS, and the effects of alcohol on brain structure.
A video, “Morgan Fawcett on Living with FASD”, features a young man named Morgan, who describes vividly the challenges of living with the disorder.
The HOME database of e-Resources includes 72 online resources for “fetal alcohol syndrome” (simply type this phrase into the general search field), 27 for “fetal alcohol effects, ” and 88 for “FAS.”
Children of Alcoholics
An example of a recent resource is the brochure “It Feels So Bad: It Doesn’t Have To”, a brochure for teens who have a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol.
On the topic of recovery, “People Recover” is an easy to read graphic novel following a young woman’s efforts to recover from alcohol and drug abuse.
Older Adults and Alcohol
A web site for older adults from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) includes the article (2013), “Alcohol Use and Older Adults: Alcohol and Aging”
with general information on the special problems alcohol can present for older adults. While older adults typically drink less than younger people, they are more likely to have health problems that can be worsened by alcohol, take medications that can interact with it, or be more sensitive to its effects. Website includes information on safe use, quizzes on alcohol safety, and several brief, 4-5 minute videos on problem drinking and seeking help. This site also includes videos on alcohol use and older adults, a self-quiz, and how to talk with your doctor.
Military and Alcohol
An example of resources related to the military is the article titled, “Alcohol and Stress in the Military,” from Alcohol Research (2012).
We invite you to immerse yourself in the wealth of knowledge, wisdom and entertainment to be found in the IPRC e-Resources databases, at your fingertips from the Library tab on the PRC homepage. We also welcome your feedback!
- Gassman R., Jun, M. C., Samuel, S., Agley, J. D., Lee, J., Crane, M. K., Boyken, J., Oi, S. E., Pardue, S. E., Smith, J. N., Stigger, C. K. (2013). Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use by Indiana Children and Adolescents. (http://www.drugs.indiana.edu/indiana-youth-survey/indianasurvey)
Bloomington, IN: Indiana Prevention Resource Center.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Prevention Status Report 2013 Indiana” (2013) http://www.cdc.gov/stltpublichealth/psr/alcohol/2013/IN-alcohol.pdf)