Higher Hospital Admissions in UK, Is Alcohol to Blame?

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Higher hospital admissions rates in the UK could be linked to alcohol vendors, according to a recently released study conducted by the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).

Alcohol-Related Hospital Admissions Linked to Alcohol Vendors

The study, funded by Alcohol Research UK, is the largest of its kind worldwide and reviewed data on over one million hospital admissions in all 32,482 census areas of England over a 12-year period.

The research found that areas with the highest concentrations of bars, pubs, and nightclubs had a 13% higher admissions rate of acute conditions caused by alcohol consumption—including vomiting and drunkenness—at nearby hospitals. Additionally, hospital admissions rates in these areas had a 22% increase in chronic alcohol-related conditions like liver disease, compared to places with the lowest density of alcohol outlets.

Researchers also looked at areas with high concentrations of other types of establishments licensed to sell alcohol and found similar results:

  • Areas with the highest density of restaurants saw a 9% increase in hospital admissions for acute alcohol-related conditions and a 9% increase for chronic conditions
  • Areas with the highest concentration of on-trade outlets (hotels, casinos, and sports clubs) experienced an increase in hospital admissions of 12% for acute conditions and 19% for chronic conditions caused by alcohol
  • Areas with the highest density of convenience stores licensed to sell alcohol saw a 10% increase in hospital admissions for acute alcohol-related conditions and a 7% increase for chronic conditions

The University’s Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Ravi Maheswaran, noted, “Although we have observed clear associations between alcohol outlet densities and hospital admissions, our study cannot confirm if these associations are causally linked…However, there is emerging evidence from other studies suggesting that local licensing enforcement could reduce alcohol-related harms.”

Could Alcohol Licensing Play a Role?

Potential implications of the study note that local alcohol licensing decisions may have an impact on the burden of area hospitals and health of the local population.

Dr. James Nicholls, the Director of Research and Policy Development at Alcohol Research UK believes that those responsible for alcohol licensing and regulations should take note of the study’s findings.

“We often hear that no individual outlet can be held responsible for increased hospital admissions, and because of this, licensing teams can’t plan on that basis. However, this study adds weight to the argument that licensing needs to also think about the overall level of availability in a given area.”

“Understanding the relationship between outlet density and alcohol hospital admissions is essential to reducing harm. Local licensing authorities, in particular, need to factor this information into their decisions,” he added.

Fraternities Will Have to Ditch Hard Alcohol, Says NIC

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10 Arrested in Death of LSU Student After Fraternity Drinking Ritual

South Carolina Frat Member Found Dead After St. Patrick’s Day Party, Died of Alcohol Poisoning

Medical Examiner Rules Alcohol a Factor in Death of U of M Student

Headlines like these are all too common in the world of college fraternities, and with over 1,800 college students dying from alcohol-related causes per year, college binge drinking is a dangerous hobby for undergrads. In response, the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), representing the majority of fraternities across the U.S., recently voted to ban hard alcohol at all fraternity houses and events in hopes to combat alcohol-related deaths of students.

NIC Policy Aims to Stop Alcohol-Related Incidents

Fraternities across the country have been scrutinized for the overconsumption of alcohol during hazing rituals and the heavy drinking of students at frat-house parties resulting in deaths from injury, alcohol poisoning, and drunk driving.

While universities respond with press releases or even student or fraternity suspension, the NIC is addressing the issue head-on with their new policy.

The policy prohibits alcohol with an ABV of 15% or higher to be present in any chapter facility or event unless it is being sold by a licensed third party. And while adults 21 years or older will not be exempt from this policy, beer, wine, and malt beverages with an ABV below 15% will still be permitted.

Greek organizations around the country are also responding by putting additional educational and safety efforts in place and some are even implementing the policy immediately.

Judson Horras, President and CEO of the NIC, stated, “At their core, fraternities are about brotherhood, personal development, and providing a community of support. Alcohol abuse and its serious consequences endanger this very purpose. This action shows fraternities’ clear commitment and leadership to further their focus on the safety of members.”

A Step in the Right Direction

According to the NIC, nearly all overconsumption and hazing deaths in the past two years involved students drinking high-percentage alcoholic beverages. The NIC also estimates that over 90% of students living in fraternity houses are underage. By banning high-percentage alcohol, the NIC is not only taking a step to reduce alcohol-related deaths of college students, but also decrease instances of underage drinking and binge drinking which is all too common on college campuses.

Over 6,100 chapters across 800 college campuses must have a compliance policy in place as of September 1, 2019.

The post Fraternities Will Have to Ditch Hard Alcohol, Says NIC appeared first on Sobering Up.

Infographic: The Scary Truth About Halloween and Drunk Driving

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Halloween is no longer just for Trick-or-Treaters—the last decade has seen a spike in the number of adults hosting spooky celebrations that include alcohol. Across the country, too many people will mix their booze with their boos before getting behind the wheel, making Halloween a dangerous night to be on the road.

But Halloween drunk driving, DUIs, and other alcohol-involved incidents don’t have to crash their parties. Help drive awareness by sharing this infographic, which highlights the scary truth about Halloween and drunk driving.

2018 Halloween and Drunk Driving Infographic

Halloween Drunk Driving Infographic and Stats
Click to Enlarge | Download PDF

 

Share On Your Webpage

Copy and paste the following text to display this infographic on your blog or website:

<a href="https://www.scramsystems.com/blog/?p=6463"><img src="http://www.prontotrak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/the-scary-truth-about-halloween-drunk-driving-2018-1.jpg" alt="Infographic: The Scary Truth About Halloween and Drunk Driving" width="600px" border="0" /></a>

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Bartender Classes Could Prevent DUIs

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The California Highway Patrol made more than 32,000 DUI arrests in the first half of 2018, but a new program launched by the state aims to curb drunk driving and prevent DUIs.

The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) announced that its Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) class is now available online and in-person. Available to California bartenders, alcohol sellers, and restaurant owners and employees, the free course educates participants on the different laws and regulations of alcohol sales.

“The LEAD program is designed to provide licensees and servers with the tools and knowledge needed to promote responsible consumption, keep alcohol out of the hands of minors and make our communities safer,” said Jacob Appelsmith, Director of ABC.

FROM THE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL
According to the 2015 Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions, there were 1,023 fatal alcohol-involved collisions in California in 2015, resulting in 1,144 fatalities.

Responsible Serving Could Reduce Drunk Driving

With about half of those arrested for DUI/DWI coming from licensed establishments responsible beverage service courses, like the LEAD training, may help prevent drunk driving incidents.

A 2017 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that training employees on responsible beverage service and enforcing the program (such as overserving intoxicated patrons), could help to reduce instances of impaired driving.

ABC spokesman, John Carr, stated, “(Alcohol servers) are important gatekeepers in the community. (The course) gives practical information on how to serve alcoholic beverages safely.”

The ABC is also at work developing a program in accordance with a new state law. The California legislation—set to take effect in July 2021—requires all alcoholic beverage servers and their supervisors to become certified in an ABC-approved responsible beverage service course to ensure the enforcement and implementation of the LEAD program.

Since the launch of the program, over 1,300 people have completed the training and the ABC hopes to certify 10,000 alcohol sellers and servers by fall.

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Labor Day Fourth Deadliest Holiday for Drunk Driving

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As summer winds down, Americans are looking forward to Labor Day—the last holiday of the season and last chance to wear white. But a wardrobe faux pas isn’t the only thing to worry about during the holiday weekend. With 298 average traffic fatalities a year, Labor Day may mark the end of summer, but it is also the fourth most dangerous weekend to be on the roads.

States with the Most Labor Day Drunk Driving Deaths

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40% of traffic deaths during the 2015 Labor Day holiday weekend involved alcohol, with 23% involving drivers with a BAC of 0.15+. But some states are more dangerous than others when it comes to drunk driving fatalities.

With 12 drunk driving deaths, research from Finder shows California is the most dangerous state to be on the road during Labor Day weekend. Missouri follows close behind with 10 deaths and Texas in third at nine deaths. And with 67% of alcohol-involved Labor Day traffic fatalities occurring between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., night time is the deadliest time to be on the road.

Celebrating Safely

Drunk driving puts everyone on the road at risk. Follow these tips to safely celebrate Labor Day and the end of summer:

  • Plan on commemorating summer’s end with an alcoholic drink or two? Don’t wait until after you start drinking to figure out how you will get home—plan your sober ride home ahead of time.
  • Whether it is a sober friend, ride-sharing service, or cab, make sure you know your options and set a backup plan in case your plans change.
  • Can’t find a safe way home? Check with friends or family to see if you can stay the night.

Visit this Summer Drinking and DUIs Resource Center to find more statistics on summer drunk driving and additional tips to celebrate the last holiday of summer safely.

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Friends, Frats, & Freedom: A Recipe for College Binge Drinking

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College isn’t just eating pizza in dorm rooms, studying on the quad, and writing reports. Thanks to movies like Old School, Van Wilder, and Animal House, the word “college” is pretty much synonymous with “drinking.” But, college drinking extends past the occasional beer pong match and toga party.

According to SAMHSA’s 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 58% of full-time college students drank alcohol in the past month. And with about 20% of college students meeting the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, parties and drinking can be a dangerous hobby for undergrads, especially for freshmen.

College Freshmen Particularly At-Risk

Starting college is an exciting time for freshmen, but the stress of new environments, schedules, and a lack of friends to watch out for them puts them particularly at risk for dangerous drinking behaviors. As college freshmen exercise their newfound freedom and oftentimes little knowledge of the dangers of alcohol, they are susceptible to binge drinking a deadly amount, as is the case with a Texas Tech freshman who died of alcohol poisoning before his first day of classes.

In fact, alcohol is often a factor in freshman deaths, assaults, and injuries. Sometimes referred to as the “red zone,” the first two months are some of the most hazardous weeks for first-year students. But some colleges are beginning to recognize this dangerous adjustment period and have created awareness and training programs to educate students on safety precautions—many of which are required before classes begin.

College Binge Drinking Statistics

Early college drinking behaviors can have long-term impacts. Freshmen who develop unhealthy relationships with alcohol could put themselves at risk for their undergraduate career. Not only do underage drinkers account for more than 10% of the country’s alcohol consumption, but researchers estimate that 1,825 college students aged 18–24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries and car crashes.

Additionally, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that over 150,000 college students will develop an alcohol-related health problem, and about 1.5% try to commit suicide due to drinking or drug use.

Over-consumption is still prevalent across campuses everywhere and college students still have some of the highest levels of binge drinking compared to other age groups. But college binge drinking rates are slowly declining. In fact, binge drinking rates have dropped steadily since 1991, and have even decreased by 21% over the past decade. So, while films featuring the stereotypical beer-guzzling frat boy probably won’t disappear anytime soon, binge drinking may someday become a thing of the past for college co-eds.

 

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In Best Known “Pot” State, Most Impaired Driving Still Linked to Alcohol

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When Colorado became the first U.S. state to permit the sale of recreational marijuana in 2014, some expressed concerns that the state would see a huge spike in drug-impaired driving. Four years later, the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice reports that cannabis alone accounts for about 6% of DUIs, while more than 90% of impaired drivers are under the influence alcohol or a combination of drugs and alcohol.

The division’s July 2018 report, “Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol, A Report Pursuant to House Bill 17-1315,” looks at Colorado’s 2016 DUI data—the most recent numbers available—to determine rates of alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. During that year the state reported 27,244 case filings with at least one DUI charge.

Drugged driving has become a pressing issue for many communities in recent years due to the rapid legalization of cannabis and the opioid crisis. While those concerns are well founded, the Colorado study highlights that drunk driving is still a significant danger on U.S. roadways.

Findings on Drugged and Drunk Driving

The report found key similarities between drugged and drunk driving and some important instances where they differ. Among the results:

  • Speeding charges were more likely to be associated when the suspect was only under the influence of alcohol compared to only under the influence of THC.
  • Nearly 38% of defendants stopped in 2016 had prior DUI convictions.
  • Almost three-quarters of DUI defendants were male, regardless of substance.
  • Alcohol and THC both metabolize quickly, and the data shows both BAC results and THC readings were higher the sooner a test was completed after a stop.
  • Contrary to common expectations, Colorado law enforcement obtained blood tests more quickly than breath tests. The median time between a traffic stop and breath test was 76 minutes, compared to 64 minutes for a blood draw.

More Data Needed On Driving While High

One key finding related to drugged-driving: the picture is very incomplete.

As of June 2018, 31 states and Washington D.C. allow medicinal marijuana use and nine states plus the District of Columbia allow recreational use. Even as more states legalize marijuana, law enforcement continues to face challenges with detecting and recording drugged driving.

Police and sheriff’s departments have used alcohol breath testers for decades. However, there is no reliable roadside chemical test to determine if a person is driving under the influence of cannabis. Officers may need to call in a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to conduct a field sobriety test. In addition, an evidentiary test for drugs—often the most credited piece of evidence in a DUI case—requires a blood sample.

As many drugged driving suspects also have alcohol in their systems, jurisdictions often don’t test for drugs if the person has already failed an alcohol breath test. Drug tests can cost jurisdictions anywhere from $100 to $500 each, and “the additional time and cost required for further toxicology testing may not be considered worthwhile if the burden of proof for impairment is already being met by a BAC level.”

Finally, court systems don’t have a consistent way to record drug data for DUI cases. This combination of factors means that drug-impaired driving is likely unrepresented in the available data.

The Fight Against Impaired Driving

The study’s results don’t suggest that officials should be unconcerned about high drivers. Many jurisdictions report that while drunk driving still outpaces drugged driving, the rate of drivers under the influence of marijuana and opioids is clearly on the rise.

Drivers under the influence of alcohol are more likely to make other dangerous driving choices, including adding drugs to the mix, speeding, or driving distracted. And the study notes, “combining marijuana and alcohol increases impairment and motor vehicle crash risk more than each alone.” Ultimately, the data suggests that successful education and enforcement efforts need to focus on impaired driving as a whole. Drugged and drunk driving are closely linked and pose a serious danger on the roads.

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UK Using Technology to Crack Down on Drink-Driving and Alcohol-Involved Crimes

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According to a recent bulletin from the Office for National Statistics, about 29.2 million adults in England drank alcohol in 2017, with 28.7% of men and 25.6% of women admitting to binge drinking on their heaviest drinking day. Not only are frequent visits to the pub commonplace in the UK, but an estimated 9,050 people in Great Britain were injured or killed when at least one driver was over the legal alcohol limit from 2006 – 2016.

But, new initiatives involving alcohol-sensing technologies are being offered around the UK to help curb drink-driving and mitigate alcohol-involved crimes.

Alcohol Monitoring Pilots are Promising

As areas around the UK are recognizing the impact of drink-driving and alcohol-involved crimes, pilot programs using various alcohol monitoring technologies are emerging across the country.

Interlock Device Programs

The Durham Police force, for example, is the first in the UK to pilot “alcohol interlocks,” which breath-tests drivers before their cars even start. If a driver’s breath test is over the legal alcohol limit, the device will immobilize the vehicle.

Over the last three years, the County of Durham has experienced about 285 road accidents linked to drink-driving; the alcohol-sensing device is fitted to vehicles of repeat drink-driving offenders on a voluntary basis or as part of their “behavior contract”.

Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Programs

In addition to drink-driving, the Office for National Statistics reports that more than half of violent crimes in the UK—including domestic violence and sexual offences—involve alcohol.

Another pilot, Blackburn with Darwen located in Northwest England, uses “sobriety tags” attached to the ankles of offenders of alcohol-involved crimes.

The SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring® (SCRAM CAM®) bracelet detects alcohol levels in the wearer’s sweat and alert authorities if the offender has breached their abstinence order. The sobriety tag tests for alcohol every 30 minutes, or about 48 times a day, making it impossible for a wearer to consume alcohol unnoticed.

Sobriety Tag Program Addresses Alcohol-Involved Offenses

In fact, 92% of people in the program remained sober while wearing the tag, demonstrating the promising effects of this innovative technology.

While the results of these pilot programs seem to be positive, will the UK begin to adopt these technologies to help alleviate alcohol-involved crimes and drink-driving?

The post UK Using Technology to Crack Down on Drink-Driving and Alcohol-Involved Crimes appeared first on Sobering Up.

Work-release inmate arrested on “pot” charge

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Work-release inmate arrested on “pot” charge

Click here to read a story about a work release-eligible inmate in the Fauquier County jail who was arrested for possessing marijuana in order to sell it. The inmate was monitored with a GPS monitoring device.

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