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
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Selected Press Releases
September 20, 2021
Childhood Adversity Plays a Large Role in Heavy Alcohol Use
In new research that compares drinking rates across racial/ethnic groups, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) current drinkers report more instances of high intensity drinking (eight or more drinks in any one day) than Whites and other groups combined. However, when considering the population as a whole, and with childhood trauma and family history of problem drinking added to the model, the difference between groups disappears, suggesting that social determinants and family history may largely account for the disparities in heavy drinking among AI/AN drinkers compared to other racial/ethnic groups.
September 3, 2021
Victims of Female-Perpetrated Sexual Violence More Likely Assaulted by Someone They Know
In a new study looking at the characteristics of victims and perpetrators of female-perpetuated sexual assault (FPSA), found that, for assaults that happened in childhood, victims were most likely perpetrated by people with whom they had a relationship such as friends, classmates, family members, and babysitters. Victimization by authority figures, including teachers and coaches, was less common. Only 1.8% were victims of strangers. On average, victimization occurred between 11 and 12 years of age.
April 3, 2021
Campaign Launches to Let Young Women Know Alcohol Causes Breast Cancer
Eighty percent of women are unaware that drinking alcohol increases their risk of developing breast cancer, yet in the United States, there are approximately 19,000 cases of alcohol-attributable breast cancer each year. The #DrinkLessForYourBreasts initiative—the first of its kind in the U.S.—seeks to bridge this gap through a social media campaign aimed at young women in California.
March 17, 2021
Connected Neighbors Experience far Fewer Harms from Someone Else’s Drinking
A new study finds people living in neighborhoods where they are more familiar with their neighbors and feel more connected to them are less likely to experience harms from a stranger’s drinking. The study examined the ways a neighborhood’s social environment — alcohol availability, places where people drink, and social cohesion — influence the harms a person experiences from someone else’s alcohol use. When assessing gender differences in these protective effects, results showed a greater effect for men than women.
January 12, 2021
Cannabis Can Hurt More than Just the User but Poses Less Risk to Others than Alcohol
Findings from the first-ever study of marijuana’s secondhand harms show that fewer harms were attributed to someone else’s cannabis use than from secondhand drinking. The study was conducted using 2014 to 2016 data from Washington State where recreational marijuana use has been legal since 2012, and found that 8.4% of respondents reported experiencing harm because of someone else’s marijuana use compared to 21.5% from alcohol use in the past 12 months.
December 6, 2020
White Moderate Drinkers are at a High Risk of Alcohol-Related Injuries
Significant differences in alcohol-related harms were found among racial/ethnic groups. Results showed that injury risk increased at low levels of exposure, measured by number of hours of having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, and that this risk was greatest for white drinkers compared to black and Hispanic drinkers. At the time of the study, a BAC of 0.08 or higher was the legal limit for driving in all 50 states
November 12, 2020
Injury-related Hospitalizations Rise After Liquor Sales Go Private
New research shows an increased rate of hospitalizations for accidental injuries in urban areas after Washington State privatized their liquor sales. The study found an additional 17,498 hospitalizations in metropolitan-urban counties in the 2.5 years after Initiative 1183 was passed compared to neighboring Oregon. Non-metropolitan-urban and rural counties did not see their hospitalization rates change.
August 13, 2020
State Binge Drinking Rates Mediate the Effects of Alcohol Policies and State Living Standards
A new study looks at the interplay between state-level alcohol policies, binge-drinking rates, and socioeconomic status(SES) and their effect on harms caused by someone else’s drinking. The study highlights the roles of two state-level contextual factors—binge drinking rates and socioeconomic status—in the effects of alcohol policies on alcohol harms due to others’ drinking.
July 24, 2020
Healthy Lifestyle Class Identified Among Whites and Hispanics but not Among Blacks
In the first study to identify clustered risk health behaviors among whites, Blacks, and Hispanics, ARG Scientist Won Kim Cook and colleagues illustrate the need to develop tailored multi-behavioral interventions to address racial disparities in health outcomes.
May 23, 2020
Washington State Residents Would Change Their Vote on Privatizing Liquor Sales
A new study shows that voters in Washington State would likely reject privatization of liquor sales if the vote was held today. Washington residents who voted in favor of ending state controls on liquor sales in 2011 were 2.59 times more likely to want to change their vote than residents who voted against it. The change was large enough that the measure would not pass today if the vote was recast.
February 6, 2020
Alcohol Policies Are More Effective for Some Groups than Others
Increasing taxes on specific types of alcohol and implementing policies that reduce its availability have differing effects on specific subgroups according to a new study from ARG biostatistician Meenakshi Sabina Subbaraman and colleagues. The study, published in Addiction, is the first to address gaps in alcohol policy research by examining how such broad-based initiatives aimed at reducing drinking and its related consequences vary across gender and racial/ethnic groups.
January 9, 2020
Drinking High Levels of Alcohol Increases the Chance of Developing Hypertension
People who consume high-levels of alcohol may be at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. Results showed that women who drank more than 14 drinks per week were 1.57 times more likely to develop hypertension while risky drinking men’s risk rose by 1.64 times. The study applied a lifecourse perspective and followed a cohort of 8,289 individuals aged 14-21 from 1979 to 2012 when they were in their late 40s and early 50s.
December 18, 2019
Liquor Prices Continue to Grow in Washington State after Privatization but at a Slower Rate
New follow-up research on Washington State’s privatization of alcohol and its effect on pricing and consumption found liquor prices continued to increase compared to previous analyses conducted in 2014. However, increases varied by brand, container size, and store type. Between 2014 and 2016, prices grew by 3.9% for a 750 mL container and 6.5% for 1.75 L compared to the previous analysis which showed price increases from pre-privatization to 2014 of 15% for the 750 mL containers and 4.7% for the 1.75 L size.
June 5, 2019
Stricter Alcohol Policies Significantly Lower the Risk of Being Hurt by Someone Who’s Been Drinking
In the US, adults under age forty living in states with more restrictive alcohol policies experience fewer aggression- and drink-driving-related harms from someone else’s drinking than those in states with weaker policies. Results showed that for a 10-point increase in restrictiveness of an alcohol policy scale, including for instance alcohol availability, taxation and drink-driving laws, the odds of experiencing such secondhand harms was 16 percent lower.
May 8, 2019
State policies that regulate alcohol/drug use during pregnancy cause worse birth outcomes, increase public health costs
State-level alcohol/drug pregnancy policies lead to increased low birthweight and preterm births, costing millions of dollars per year
A new study finds that several state-level policies targeting alcohol and drug use during pregnancy lead to greater numbers of low birthweight (LBW) and preterm births (PTB), resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars more in public health spending each year.
March 4, 2019
Some people with alcohol use disorder may be able to substitute cannabis for alcohol
New study links moderate cannabis use to persistent alcohol problems; finds no association for heavier or lighter use
People with a lifetime alcohol use disorder (AUD) who used cannabis moderately had 2.83 times the number of drinks and experienced 6.82 times greater odds of alcohol-related harms than abstainers. Mid-level cannabis users also had an increased number of heavy drinking episodes and greater odds of alcohol dependence, compared to people who didn’t use cannabis.
February 11, 2019
Recent increases in the amount of alcohol consumed in the US may be higher than previously reported
New study finds a more accurate way to measure per capita alcohol consumption that accounts for changes to how much alcohol is in beer, wine, and spirits
The way we currently measure how much alcohol each person is consuming may be less accurate than previously thought, according to a new study from the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute. The study authors offer a new way to determine per capita alcohol consumption that accounts for changes to the alcohol content of alcoholic beverages and people’s drinking preferences over time.
June 27, 2018
New study finds only slight increase in marijuana use after legalization
Residents of Washington State now seem more likely to report prior use
A new retrospective assessment of marijuana use in Washington State published today by the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute, found only a 1.2 percentage point increase in past year use after recreational marijuana was legalized, from 24.3% to 25.6%. The new findings published today in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs suggest that a previous report showing an increase of 3.8 percentage points may have been overestimated due to respondents underreporting their consumption when marijuana was still illegal.
June 27, 2018
Stricter policies linked to lower rates of alcohol-related injuries
International study finds government restrictions on drinking curbs injuries despite alcohol use rates and patterns
Countries with stricter alcohol policies had lower rates of alcohol-related injuries, regardless of individual consumption rates and drinking patterns, and country-level drinking patterns, a new study from the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), a program of the Public Health Institute, found. The study was published today in Addiction.
June 18, 2018
Policies targeting alcohol use during pregnancy tied to worse birth outcomes
New study suggests even “supportive” policies lead women to delay or avoid prenatal care
A majority of state-level policies targeting women’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy—even policies designed to support pregnant women—lead to more adverse birth outcomes and less prenatal care utilization, according to a new study from ARG and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a program at the University of California, San Francisco, published today in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
June 13, 2018
Drinking hurts more than just the drinker, new study finds
Poor mental health linked to financial problems and assaults caused by other drinkers
A new cross-sectional study found a strong association between poor quality of life and greater distress for people who experienced financial problems due to someone else’s drinking or had been assaulted by a spouse, partner, or family member.
March 20, 2018
New study looks at the relationship between immune function and mental health among people in treatment
When assessing the relationship between immune function and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, most researchers exclude people with alcohol and drug use disorders because of the complexity they introduce into the analyses. However, for Priscilla Martinez, study lead and Scientist with the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute, not including people with substance use disorders is problematic.
February 28, 2018
More Paths to Successful Sobriety than Just Alcoholics Anonymous, Says New Study
People with an alcohol use disorder who participated in alternative mutual help groups had abstinence outcomes equivalent to those who participated in traditional 12-step groups at the same level. This is the first longitudinal, comparative study of 12-step groups and their alternatives, including Women for Sobriety (WFS), LifeRing Secular Recovery (LifeRing), and SMART Recovery (SMART).
February 22, 2018
Children in Poorer Neighborhoods are at a Greater Risk of Developing Alcohol Use Disorders as Young Adults
In studying emerging adults who lived in deprived neighborhoods when they were children, a new study found indirect pathways that mediated the risk for developing alcohol use disorders (AUD). Such pathways included success in school during adolescence, and being engaged in higher education, gainful employment or military service when they were older.
February 21, 2018
Low rates of drinking may protect overweight women from developing diabetes while heavy drinking increases risk for all women
Women who were overweight and abstained from lifetime drinking were three times more likely to develop diabetes compared with normal weight women who consumed seven or less alcohol drinks per week (low-volume). No evidence of reduced risk was found for normal weight or obese women or for men. The study also found that women with a recent history of heavy occasion drinking once a week or more had a 55% increased risk of diabetes onset.
February 1, 2018
Problem drinkers with friends who drink and who live in poor neighborhoods are more likely to relapse after treatment
The number of people in your social network who drink increases the risk of relapse following treatment and this risk is even greater if you live in a disadvantaged neighborhood, even after adjusting for demographic and other risk factors associated with problem drinking.
January 12, 2018
Infrequent Drinkers are not Immune from Injuries
Even one intoxication event can increase the risk of injury, a new study from the Alcohol Research Group, a project of the Public Health institute, found. Injury risk peaked at one hour of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 or higher and remained at about the same level for more frequent heavy drinkers.
October 31, 2017
Heavy Drinking Patterns Among Young Adults have Changed Over Time with Some Women Drinking More
According to a new study from the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), a program of the Public Health Institute, when comparing heavy drinking trajectories between two cohorts, trajectories for Hispanics and Whites of both sexes have changed over time. However, Hispanic and White women in the younger cohort saw the greatest increase in heavy drinking compared to other groups.
September 12, 2017
Marijuana Use Has Increased Sharply Across the US, but Not Because of Legalization
A new study shows a sharp increase in marijuana use in the U.S. since 2005. Marijuana use among women has almost doubled, from 5.5% in 1984 to 10.6% in 2015. Men’s use declined from the 1980s to 2000 but has since increased to 14.7%, matching earlier rates. However, the research suggests that these increases in use were not specifically associated with medicinal or recreational marijuana legalization.
Go to a full list of press releases.