ARG scientists and their work have appeared in hundreds of articles and interviewed for both radio and television. With expertise that extends across the spectrum of alcohol use and disorders, our staff can provide information on specific topics as well as provide general facts that are relevant to the public.
Explore the resources on this page for the latest press releases, current media coverage, recent news and research findings.
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Diane E. Schmidt
Recent Press Releases
June 23, 2015
Liquor privatization in Washington State results in higher prices and availability for consumers
Results of a recent study that looked at the effects of privatization of the sale and distribution of liquor in Washington State found spirit prices increased significantly, while prices in the bordering states of Idaho and Oregon only showed small increases. Averaging across all of the stores selected, Washington liquor prices rose by an average of 15.5% for the 750ml size and by 4.7% for the 1.75L size. However, price changes varied greatly by store type with no increases found for liquor superstores such as Total Wine and More or wholesale stores such as Costco. The largest price increases were seen at independent liquor stores, most of which bought their licenses at auction. Increased prices were also found at grocery stores and drug stores. Findings of smaller price increases for the 1.75L size and wide differences between store types were surprising and indicate that individuals face different alcoholic beverage prices, even for the same brands, depending on where they live and shop. Read more (PDF).
April 20, 2015
Study finds that men who have sex with men (MSM) have an equal or lower risk of hazardous drinking than heterosexual men.
A new study published today in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that men who have sex with men (MSM)—defined as gay and bisexually identified men as well as heterosexually identified men who had same-sex partners–reported equal or lower levels of hazardous drinking than exclusively heterosexual men.
This finding dispels the popular assumption that men who have sex with men are more likely to consume alcohol above recommended amounts.
The study results also suggest that the protective effect is enhanced for some racial/ethnic groups. Black MSM, for instance, reported a lower likelihood of binge drinking or heavy weekly drinking compared to both heterosexual Black and White men. Latino MSM, however, were more likely to report heavy weekly drinking than their heterosexual Latino peers but had similar risks of binge drinking and heavy daily drinking. Read more (PDF).
April 14. 2015
Simultaneous drinking and smoking marijuana increases odds of drunk driving and other dangers.
Cannabis is the most commonly used drug among adults who drink, besides tobacco, yet no study has directly compared those who use cannabis and alcohol simultaneously, or at the exact same time, versus those who use both separately and on a regular basis. A new study looks at the relationship between marijuana and alcohol use, finding that simultaneous users had double the odds of drunk driving, social consequences, and harms to self.
Results will be published in the May 2015 online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.
“There has been some disagreement regarding whether using cannabis and alcohol together is more dangerous than using either alone,” said Meenakshi S. Subbaraman, corresponding author for the study and associate scientist at the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute. “My study is the first to compare how simultaneous and concurrent use of alcohol and cannabis relate to drunk driving and other social consequences among adults, and the first to examine differences between simultaneous and concurrent users in terms of demographics and substance use quantity/frequency. In this study, concurrent means having used both alcohol and cannabis within the previous 12 months, but always separately.” Read more at EurekaAlert.
January 20, 2015
Some racial/ethnic groups overestimate the number of drinks they can have before driving.
Black and Hispanic drinkers are more likely to overestimate how much they can safely drink two hours before driving, a new and innovative study examining impairment limits found. The study determined that, on average and controlling for other factors such as weight, education and drinking history, self-reported number of standard drinks one could drink in 2 hours before driving without being impaired were 30% higher for Black drinkers and 26% higher for Hispanic drinkers than for White drinking drivers.
October 20, 2014
International study finds acute alcohol consumption causes higher risk of injury for woman than men.
A new study of emergency department patients in 18 countries led by ARG Senior Scientist, Cheryl Cherpitel, made available online by the scientific journal Addiction, shows that the risk of injury caused by acute alcohol consumption is higher for women compared with men. While the risk of injury is similar for both men and women up to three ‘standard’ drinks (containing 16 ml or 12.8 g of pure ethanol), the risk then increases more rapidly for women, becoming twice the risk to men around 15 drinks.
Go to a full list of press releases.
ARG in the News
KGO 810 News: Binge Drinking in the San Francisco Bay Area
Senior Scientist William Kerr commented on a recent study that found increased rates of binge drinking in the Bay Area. He highlights reasons why the increase among women in particular.
The Daily Mail: People who use marijuana and alcohol together ‘more likely to drive inebriated’
Associate Scientist Meenakshi Sabina Subbaraman‘s new study found that people who smoke cannabis while consuming alcohol are twice as likely to drink-drive. They are also twice as likely to suffer social consequences and harm themselves.
The Science of Us/New York Magazine: Why Alcoholics Anonymous Works
“Dr. Lee Ann Kaskutas, a senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group who has conducted 12-step facilitation studies, explained that while these programs take on different forms, they’re generally oriented toward preparing participants for the…culture and philosophy of 12-step programs like AA.”
The Washington Post: Having just one drink doubles your risk of getting injured
“A person who has consumed 3 drinks in the past six hours is about 4.6 times as likely to end up in the E.R. as someone who hasn’t drunk at all. Even a single drink roughly doubles your odds of going to the hospital.”
The Atlantic Monthly: Life with Legal Weed
“Meenakshi Subbaraman has found that cannabis satisfies six of the seven previously published criteria for substitute medications for alcohol.
Vox: The public health case for legalizing pot: it could replace alcohol
“In a recent review of the scientific literature, researcher Meenakshi Subbaraman, of the Alcohol Research Group at the Public Health Institute, found that marijuana can act as a substitute for alcohol for some people.”
KQED Forum: Panel discussion on alcohol and cancer risks
A new study finds that even moderate alcohol consumption can increase the risk of cancer-related death.