The Chronicle of Higher Education Page:
Parents Who Lost Son to Alcohol Poisoning Make
Impact at Michigan State
The most important birthday card that Michigan
State University students
receive may come from two people they don't even
Cindy and John McCue began sending cards to
Michigan State students on
their 21st birthdays last March, five months after
their son, Bradley, a
junior at the university, died of alcohol
poisoning. The cards, which urge
students to drink responsibly, have been effective
in changing students'
behavior, according to a recent poll by Michigan
State's health center.
Nearly a quarter of the roughly 4,000 students
have received the cards
responded to the online survey. Half said the card
had taught them new
information about alcohol poisoning. Two-thirds
said they consumed alcohol
in a more responsible manner after receiving the
card, and 31 percent said
they now drank less alcohol than they would have
"That's phenomenal," says Dennis P. Martell, an
alcohol educator at
Michigan State. "There's nothing that we've done
in health education that's
seen that kind of behavior change."
The cards are produced by B.R.A.D. (Be Responsible
About Drinking), a
nonprofit group the McCues established. Michigan
State coordinates the
By DAVID PITT
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Cheap beer is a leading
the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, according
to a government report that says raising the tax on a
six-pack by 20 cents could reduce gonorrhea by up to 9
The Centers for Disease Control and
released Thursday, compared changes in gonorrhea
rates to changes in alcohol policy in all states from
1981 to 1995. In years following beer tax increases,
gonorrhea rates usually dropped among young people.
The same happened when the drinking age went up —
as it did in many states during the 1980s.
``Alcohol has been linked to risky
among youth. It influences a person's judgment and
they are more likely to have sex without a condom,
with multiple partners or with high-risk partners,'' said
Harrell Cheson, a health economist with the CDC.
Beer industry lobbyists, however,
said recent statistics
show young people are already drinking more
responsibly, thanks in part to efforts by brewers.
``Excise taxes have little or nothing
to do with alcohol
abuse in society,'' said Lori Levy of The Beer Institute in
Washington. ``I think that our members understand
the importance of educating young people about how to
make responsible choices once they're old enough and
they put a lot of money and effort into those programs.''
Gonorrhea, one of the most common
was examined in the CDC study because long-term
statistics are available and the disease is more evenly
spread among states.
The CDC analyzed the drops in gonorrhea
following different tax increases and came up with the
estimate that 20-cent increase per six-pack would lead
to a 9 percent drop in gonorrhea rates.
Cheson cited the example of a 4-cent
per gallon — about
2.25 cents per six-pack — tax increase in California in
1991. Gonorrhea rates in the 15 to 19 age group
dropped about 30 percent the following year. Drops in
other states were not as dramatic.
During the study, various states raised
beer taxes 36
times. Gonorrhea rates among in the 15 to 19 age group
dropped in 24 of those instances, and rates among those
20 to 24 dropped 26 times.
In both age groups, men seem to be
more affected than
women by higher beer prices.
Most minimum legal drinking age increases
followed by a decrease in the gonorrhea rate, especially
in the 15 to 19 age group.
``This study suggests these strategies
could have a
significant impact in reducing sexually transmitted
diseases among young people,'' said Dr. Kathleen Irwin,
chief of health services research and evaluation for the
CDC's division of sexually transmitted diseases.
About 3 million teen-agers are infected
transmitted diseases each year, Cheson said. Gonorrhea
usually can be treated with antibiotics, although some
drug-resistant strains have been developed.
Top Doc Hits
Health Labels For Wine
He testifies they could lead people to
drink too much
Marc Sandalow, Washington Bureau Chief
Wednesday, April 26, 2000
©2000 San Francisco Chronicle
Contradicting the long- held position of
California vintners, Surgeon
General David Satcher said yesterday that
labels on wine bottles urging
consumers to learn more about the health
effects of wine are likely to
encourage irresponsible drinking.
Testifying before a Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms panel, Satcher
rattled off statistics documenting the
enormous toll of alcohol abuse and
said the wine industry's quest to add new
labels would almost certainly
exacerbate the problem.
``I'm concerned (such labels) could
wrongly lead consumers to conclude that
consumption of wine would reduce health
risks,'' Satcher said.
California winemakers, encouraged by
studies showing a reduction of heart
disease from moderate alcohol consumption,
have been seeking permission for
years to use a label that would extol the
health benefits of drinking as
outlined in the federal government's
John De Luca, president of the San
Francisco-based Wine Institute, which
represents more than 500 vintners, insists
the labels are not intended to
promote wine sales but to educate
consumers and counter any
mischaracterization of wine as a ``sin
industry or a gateway drug.''
In February 1999, the ATF approved the use
of two labels that encouraged
consumers interested in learning about the
``health effects of wine
consumption'' to refer to the guidelines
or consult their family doctor.
Industry representatives heralded the
development as nothing less than a
``defining new chapter'' in the
government's attitude toward wine.
The chapter did not last long.
Responding to political pressure --
including threats by Sen. Strom
Thurmond, R-S.C., to block appointments to
the Treasury Department, which
oversees the ATF -- the bureau in October
imposed a moratorium on the new
labels and scheduled a series of public
hearings on the matter. The 17
companies that received permission during
that period continue to use the
labels, but no more have been approved.
The ATF will continue its hearings in San
Francisco May 23 and 24.
As the hearings began in Washington, the
first speaker was Thurmond, whose
crusade against excessive drinking
preceded a 1993 accident in which his
22-year-old daughter was killed by a
drunken driver. Five years earlier,
Thurmond wrote legislation that required
health warnings on all alcoholic
Thurmond said yesterday that the label
proposed by the wine industry is
``inherently misleading'' and testified
that ``the First Amendment cannot be
used as a scapegoat to mislead the public
for a commercial gain.''
Winemakers vigorously deny that they are
trying to boost sales with the
labels, presenting their efforts as a
well-meaning campaign to promote the
responsible use of alcohol.
``We are not trying to sell wine as health
food or medicine,'' De Luca
testified before the ATF panel. ``We are
referring to the science -- not
polemics, not politics. And I think that's
In fact, the Wine Institute is so
committed to disseminating the latest
findings on alcohol consumption that it
pledged yesterday to work with the
National Stroke Institute to distribute
tens of thousands of copies of new
federal dietary guidelines to doctors,
clinics and individuals when they
become available this summer.
The current guidelines, approved in 1995
by the USDA and the Department of Health
and Human Services, note that
alcoholic beverages supply no nutrients
and that heavy drinking can lead to
strokes, heart disease, cancer, violence
and cirrhosis of the liver.
But the guidelines also note that
alcoholic beverages have been used ``to
enhance the enjoyment of meals by many
societies throughout human history''
and that current evidence suggests that
``moderate drinking is associated
with a lower risk for coronary heart
disease in some individuals.''
The guidelines characterize moderate
drinking as no more than one drink per
day for women and no more than two drinks
per day for men, with a drink
defined as either 12 ounces of beer, 1 1/2
ounces of liquor or 5 ounces of
Drafts of the updated guidelines
reportedly place more emphasis on the
adverse effects of excessive drinking and
point out that the benefits of
moderate drinking on the heart are
confined to men over 45 years old and
women older than 55.
However, the wine industry is encouraged
by the early draft's suggestion
that drinking be accompanied by food and
done in moderation. Those are
behaviors that they believe are most
associated with wine.
Satcher, and several other health experts
who testified, expressed
skepticism that labels would lead
consumers to seek out such information.
``The overwhelming number of people are
not going to read the guidelines,
they are not going to consult their
physicians,'' Satcher said after his
testimony. ``They are going to assume that
(the label) means that (drinking)
this is OK.''
Satcher said that more than 100,000
Americans die prematurely each year due
to alcohol, and that the economic toll on
the nation is $180 billion
Health experts do not dispute the wine
industry's claim that moderate
drinking is beneficial to some
Dr. Carlos Camargo, a researcher at
Harvard Medical School, testified that
he would recommend moderate consumption to
certain patients -- such as a
women who have high cholesterol, a family
history of heart disease and no
history of alcohol abuse.
But Camargo, who opposes the labels,
warned that for many other individuals,
even moderate drinking is unhealthy.
REPEALED WINE LABELS
Last year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms approved, and then
suspended, the use of the following two
labels on wine bottles:
--``To learn the health effects of wine
consumption, send for the federal
government's `Dietary Guidelines For
Americans,' Center For Nutrition Policy
and Promotion, USDA, 1120 20th Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20036.'' The label
also listed the agency's Web site.
--``The proud people who made this wine
encourage you to consult your family
doctor about the health effects of wine
©2000 San Francisco Chronicle
By TODD NELSON, Staff Writer
RALEIGH -- The death of an N.C. State student attacked by a group of student-athletes continued to rock the university Monday as police filed alcohol charges against members of the gymnastics team who were hosts of a raucous keg party at the center of the case.
Raleigh investigators sifted though the details of what happened starting at 2:30 a.m. Sunday -- when Neil Vernon Davis Jr. fired several rounds from a pistol at the party, which was across the street from his townhouse on Hunters Club Drive in West Raleigh.
One slug hit the front door of the house where the party was taking place, and a fragment struck an NCSU wrestler, slightly injuring him. The shooting prompted seven party-goers, including five athletes, to storm Davis' house, seeking what police called "street justice."
So confusing were the circumstances of Davis' death that the students accused of beating him continued to punch and kick him even after his gun fired, having no idea that a bullet had ripped through his chest and mortally injured him, police said.
NCSU Chancellor Marye Ann Fox, students and administrators said Davis' death had left the campus devastated. Officials suspended the three football players and two wrestlers charged in the incident from participation in athletic events. A former wrestling team member who is still a student also was charged.
"Obviously we're all devastated any time we lose a student, and to lose a student under these circumstances, it's even worse," Fox said.
"I see this as a confluence of judgment that was clouded by alcohol, the availability of a handgun inappropriately, and the proclivity of our students to respond to a confrontation or a disagreement by resorting to violence. When you put all those ingredients together, it's bound to be a disaster."
A preliminary decision on the academic status of the five student-athletes and the former wrestler could come by Wednesday, officials said. Under the student judicial code, the university's director of student conduct can place a student on "interim suspension" if he or she is considered a threat to the university community.
More NCSU athletes were facing criminal charges Monday night, after police accused the party's hosts -- three members of the gymnastics team -- of alcohol law violations. Rebecca Ann Geiger, 21, Jennifer Erin Sommer, 20, and Maggie Elaine Haney, 20, all of 4311 Hunters Club Drive, were charged with selling malt beverages to minors and selling without a valid state permit.
Police also charged another person -- Christopher Fay Green, 30, of 306 Silver Oaks Drive, Fayetteville -- with breaking into Davis' apartment. Green is not an NCSU student.
Wrestler Clyde Williams Blunt, 20, of 2408 Sierra Drive in Raleigh made his first court appearance on the most serious charge in the case, involuntary manslaughter. The Modesto, Calif., native was released from jail after having a $5,000 secured bail posted. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 14.
Charged with less serious offenses were Blunt's teammate, Michael Mordarski; former wrestler Daniel Scott Campenella; and football players Harold Jackson, Willie Knite Wright and David Paschal Stringer.
Football coach Mike O'Cain said he would keep the team's focus on Saturday's game in Charlotte against North Carolina.
"I'm not going to let the actions of those three young men destroy everything this team has worked for, improvements we've made in all areas," O'Cain said. "I hurt for these three guys. I don't feel sorry for them, but I do hurt for them. Nobody forced them into doing this. It was their choice."
Throughout the day, investigators tried to reconstruct the confusing series of events.
Some of the suspects admitted drinking before the incident, but none was given a sobriety test. Results of a blood-alcohol test on Davis are not yet available.
"It's just a senseless and unfortunate act," said Lt. D.S. Overman of the Raleigh Police Department's major crimes task force.
The most puzzling part of the case may be why Davis fired his gun in the first place.
Investigators speculated that he was upset over the noise from the party or might have had a past problem with one of the athletes, Overman said.
Police confirmed that they were checking a rumor that a confrontation on the street might have preceded the gunfire. The rumor involved a party guest kicking Davis' dog while he was taking it for a walk.
What police do know is that Davis returned at 2:30 a.m. to his townhouse at 4306 Hunters Club Drive.
He apparently went back outside and fired two to five rounds from his 9 mm semiautomatic handgun toward the big, noisy party that had spilled out of the townhouse across the street, Overman said.
A slug dented the front door of that house. A ricocheting fragment hit wrestler George Cintron III, 19, in the left shoulder.
Cintron told party-goers he had been shot with a BB gun or pellet gun, Overman said. The party began breaking up, and the group angered by the shooting rushed over to Davis' townhouse and burst into his upstairs bedroom.
The athletes, unintimidated when they found Davis still armed, punched and kicked him in the head and body for a couple of minutes, Overman said. Davis was severely injured in the beating and put up little resistance against his larger assailants.
The assault continued as the athletes pinned Davis on his bed, the gun still in his hand, Overman said.
Blunt also got a hand somewhere on the gun, Overman said. The barrel was pointing against Davis' chest when it fired.
The athletes said they didn't realize Davis had been shot, despite the blood that splattered on his bed, Overman said. He added that some of them said they didn't think the weapon was a real gun, despite the loud report and the odor of burning gunpowder, which scorched Blunt's left hand.
Unaware that Davis was fatally injured, they continued punching him and kicking him for a short time, Overman said. They stopped when they saw he was no longer defending himself, the officer said.
The athletes rushed out of the townhouse without calling for help. All but Blunt, who went to Cintron's apartment, got into their cars and drove home, Overman said.
The commotion caused Davis' downstairs roommates to call 911 to report a break-in. But they didn't know Davis was home and had no idea he had been shot, Overman said.
Checking upstairs for damage or signs of missing property, Officer W.M. Recor discovered Davis on the floor of his room. Davis was taken at 2:40 a.m. to WakeMed, where he died at 8:21 a.m.
Renee Bollten, 23, who lives at 4319 Hunters Club Drive, a few houses from where the incident happened, said she came home about 1:30 a.m. Sunday and noticed the party as she entered the complex.
"I came up the hill and saw this out-of-control party," Bollten said Monday. "Every time they have a party, it's out of control. There were people on the front yard, cars on the front lawn and beer cans everywhere."
She said that about 2:30 a.m., she heard gunfire. "I heard six shots, a pause, and then three more."
Bollten said that the residents of the house had had parties before, and that the house appeared to be a popular gathering place.
"They would sit outside in the summer and drink," she said. "It was an active house. People were always in and out."
Police identified the athletes as suspects after officers began talking with people leaving the party and with neighbors who had stepped outside when they heard the volley of gunshots.
Blunt was caught so unaware when police informed him of Davis' death that he became visibly upset, Overman said.
"He was very remorseful," Overman said. "He couldn't believe it. He was very upset."
In addition to manslaughter, Blunt was charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering.
Jackson, 20, Wright, 19, and Stringer, 19, were charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering and misdemeanor assault.
Wright, a freshman from Greensboro, also was charged with larceny of a firearm for allegedly grabbing Davis' gun on his way out of the victim's bedroom, Overman said. Police found the gun in Wright's dormitory room Sunday.
Jackson, a sophomore from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Stringer, a freshman from Monmouth, N.J., were charged with being an accessory to a felony.
Mordarski, 20, of Marietta, Ga., was charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering, as was Campenella, 21, of Coral Springs, Fla.
Students live in most of the apartments in the neighborhood where the shooting took place. Some residents said Monday that the area has become too rowdy to tolerate.
John Gooch, 30, who lives at 502 Brent Road, said he plans to move from the neighborhood.
"I just don't have the patience. One night there were people throwing beer bottles at cars. Another night they were hitting golf balls with baseball bats," he said.
"There's usually some sort of police presence on the weekend, but I've never really noticed parties being broken up. Most of the time they seem harmless."
* * *
Thirty years later, I guess things haven't changed much, just more of it. Now I wonder what this effect had on my kids. Is the same route my parents generation took with us the same road we should have taken with our kids? Since losing Tommy I've thought about that a heck of a lot and have to admit that the pursuit of pleasure that alcohol represents certainly is detrimental to our kids. Everywhere fun is,so is alcohol. No matter what adult spectator sport you attend, what relaxing afterwork activity you participate in or what party you attend, its there. Somehow I don't think thats just happenstance. I really beleive that thanks to modern advertising and marketing activities of beer companies what we do is more of a reaction to this advertising than of our own free will. Sort of like Pavlov's dogs..we're trained by constant reminders. An interesting observation was given to me by a waitress a few years ago. I was having lunch and casually mentioned to her, "Gee, I see a number of people already drinking beer today". She responded by saying, "Well, when one starts, alot of others follow" How interesting a response and probably quite prevalent everywhere! But with kids and all these subtile messages they see on TV, bill boards, sporting events, stc, could it be the same pavlovian response? Since they can't drink, they get high but on other substances.
I think that's how alcohol has evolved over the years and that to me represents our biggest problem with it. Since its really doubtful you'll be able to stop there advertising and marketing practices, how about raising the price? that''ll help!
I also beleive that raising the drinking age to 21 has encouraged underage drinking and drugging. Back when it was ok to drink at age 18, teens went out to bars and nightclubs. They had to behave, not drink to excess and pulling out a joint and smoking it in a bar just wouldn't cut it. They stopped hanging around with younger kids and partied more with adults. (Obviously the MADD people would disagree with this arguing that many lives have been saved by raising the drinking age. I disagree, I think many lives have been saved by lowering the BAC and imposing stiff drinking and driving fines. If kids could drink legally at 18 (actually the WSJ came out last year allow 19-20 year-olds to drink-I'd agree with that)they still would have to worry about these new tough laws which wern't on the books back then.)
With the raising of the drinking age all these
18 to 20 year old kids are now drinking and drugging with kids 14 to 18.
they are out in the woods, private homes and other secluded spots. So you
see our efforts to stymie
18 to 20 year-olds from drinking has backfired while creating an additional incentive for younger kids to abuse substances.
Below is a letter I sent to our congressman urging
them to raise taxes on beer and alcohol. Lots of great links too. Surely,
a nickel or dime tax increase is warrented here? Just a nickel or dime
kind sir? Fat chance but its worth a try. (ps: I like beer...I think its
the nectar of the Gods and could drink beer all day, so I've struggled
with this a long time. Unfortunately, its the only conclusion that
constantly comes up as the major driving force with substance abuse problems
facing our world today)
I have a concern about rising medical costs which is hindering our ability to compete in the domestic apparel market. Unfortunately, there is probably little that you all can do about that since much of these difficulties lie outside your control.
However, that is of minor concern in comparison to the life threatening diseases a few of our employees must face. One in particular has hepatitis C. She has undergone Interferon treatment (very costly-over a $1000 a month). This is generally an effective short term treatment program but it rarely works long term. Our medical plan does not cover the majority of costs associated with this drug treatment program. In addition, rapidly rising medical costs may force us to reduce medical reimbursements in the future. Consequently, she and others enduring very expensive treatment may be unable to receive it due to its high cost.
I checked with the Rowan County Health Department to determine if there is additional state support to help severe hardships like this. Sadly, there isn't but the most incredible news to learn is that they do not even TEST for hepatitis C. That's horrific and it's my understanding that in the coming years this will be a greater health threat than AIDS. Something ought to be done about this as surely we don't want to let this disease sneak up on us. Primarily, this is a blood borne disease occurring thru tainted transfusions and illicit drug use. It should be addressed in the same manner and intensity as AIDS.
Of course, it costs money to address this inexplicable gap in services. How much? I don't know, but I'd like to suggest that we increase beer and alcohol taxes to help fund critical support for health issues like this. Besides saving lives there are additional benefits to a modest increase:
Politically, It will be a tough fight though given the sway that alcohol companies hold on our legislature. However, a big majority of Americans favor increased taxes and tougher rules on alcohol. The beer companies shouldn't have a whole lot to complain about however as their short term business has been very good. Long term, they consistently do a top notch job of marketing their products to teens. This should keep their markets growing. For example, a 1996 survey study by the Center on Alcohol Advertising shows that children are more familiar with the Budweiser frogs than Smokey the Bear, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or Tony the Tiger. There are other examples too where adult ads that focus on forbidden products like alcohol are more fun and interesting to kids. Actually, Its amazing how the beer companies have been so adept in using advertising and marketing to permeate every aspect of American life. If its fun, the beer companies are probably there advertising, giving away prizes or even sponsoring fun activities (like a rock concert). It wouldn't be surprising to me if they soon come out with a Budweiser non-alcoholic baby formula! So long term, their business is not threatened at all.
In closing, hepatitis C is a serious problem that will have to be addressed by the State sooner or later. I hope the State will not dawdle on this life threatening disease. As for the suggestion of raising beer and alcohol taxes I know that's a tough one to take on. But you have to remember that a modest tax increase will not harm legitimate sales made to responsibly drinking people. The beneficial effect (in addition to raising much needed funds) would be to reduce underage drinking. Only the beer companies will ferociously argue against it. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a bill proposed that addresses this but who knows? Maybe we can get something started. The time is ripe- only the lack of a courageous legislator to propose it is missing. If and when that occurs, I hope all the representatives of Rowan County will support such a proposal.
PO Box 498
Granite Quarry, NC
The tragedy of this student slaying is
a perfect example of how unregistered keg policies fuel raucous parties. Every weekend kids at
colleges and kids in high school swarm around parties where kegs are everywhere. All this does
is allow kids to get high quickly on cheap alcohol. It was only a matter of time before something
tragic like this would happen.
Recently, supporters of beer keg registration abandoned
because of the annual $400,000 to enforce it (Rep Debbie Clary, Sen Bill Marting and Roy
Nash.) I'm sure there are a lot of people at NC State now wish they hadn't. In fact, let's take this
one step further, ban keg sales since operators don't seem to be abiding by the law anyway. do
we really need kegs for home consumption? I don't think so. So where, do we need them?
Restaurants and bars I suppose but certainly nowhere else. It's time to stop allowing alcohol
makers to profit from easily broken and widely ignored laws. If you can't stop underage kids from
drinking at keg parties..stop allowing kegs or enact legislation to register the kegs. As the family
of Neal Davis Jr. will sadly attest to, it's time is long past due.
Sincerely Mike Jones PO Box 958
Granite Quarry, NC 28072
"http://www.news-observer.com/daily/199 8/11/24/tri00.html" (this link no longer active..you'd have to pay to download it)
Research has found that physicians may be apprehensive about screening and counseling their patients on the risks of alcoholism because of insurance concerns, the Substance Abuse Letter reported recently.
"Unfortunately, physicians' concerns about the implications of screening for alcohol abuse appear to be based on the firm legal reality that exists in most states. In these states, an insurance carrier can deny a claim for coverage of injuries sustained under the influence of alcohol, just as the carrier can deny coverage for self-inflicted wounds after a suicide attempt," said Dr. Frederick Rivara, a University of Washington professor, director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, and the study's lead investigator.
Dr. Rivara said that 50 percent of trauma patients had positive blood-alcohol levels at the time of their injuries, making impairment caused by alcohol consumption a leading factor in trauma. "Our research has found the brief, motivational interventions in the trauma center setting can be effective in reducing the patient's drinking afterwards," Dr. Rivara noted.
But his study also found that physicians are discouraged to have such discussions with their patients out of concern that insurance companies will deny coverage if medical records show alcohol was a factor at the time of injury.
In the study, Dr. Rivara and his colleagues made
several recommendations for providing screening and counseling to trauma
patients with alcohol problems. They included: changing state laws to prevent
exclusion from coverage for alcohol-related injuries; requiring screening
of all trauma patients; and assigning chemical-dependency counselors to
screen all patients, since federal confidentiality regulations protect
information collected by personnel whose main function is substance-abuse
Here are some stats on
the relationship between alcohol and violence.
Researchers are careful to point out that there is no hard evidence that alcohol
CAUSES violence (a talk with anyone working on domestic violence issues would
be very illuminating on this point).
However, as Jerry's colleague
notes, alcohol is very often present in violent
incidents. Some people have likened alcohol's involvement to pouring gasoline
on a fire-- the gasoline didn't start the fire, but it sure made it a lot worse. (The
information below comes from the Trauma Foundation's Alcohol-Related Injury
and Violence Project web site: <http://www.tf.org/tf/alcohol/ariv/>)
ALCOHOL AND VIOLENCE: FACTS IN BRIEF
The relationship between
alcohol and violence is complex(1). Violent incidents
frequently involve alcohol:
in 42% to 66% of all homicides and serious assaults the perpetrator, victim,
both had been drinking(2) (3)
the offender had been drinking in 13% to 50% of rapes and sexual assaults,
according to victims' perceptions and police
36% of convicted violent offenders reported drinking at the time of the
the offender had been drinking in 6% to 85% of incidents of domestic
violence, according to victims' perceptions(6)
Alcohol consumption is
associated with increased risk of suicide in the home.
People who drink are twice as likely, and people
whose drinking results in trouble at work are six times as likely as others to
commit suicide in the home.(7)
Alcohol availability is
related to violent assaults. Communities or neighborhoods
that have more bars and liquor stores per capita
experience more assaults.(8)
1. Roizen, Judith. Epidemiological
issues in alcohol-violence. In: Recent
developments in alcoholism, vol. 13: Alcoholism
and violence. Marc Galanter ed. New York: Plenum Press. 1997, pp.7-40; Martin,
Susan E. The epidemiology of
alcohol-related interpersonal violence. Alcohol Health and Research World
(16)3:230-237. 1992; Fagan, Jeffrey. Set and
setting revisited: influences of alcohol and illicit drugs on the social context of
violent events. Alcohol and interpersonal
violence: fostering multidisciplinary perspectives. Research Monograph 24.
NIAAA. 1993, pp.161-191; Collins, James J.
and Pamela M. Messerschmidt.. Epidemiology of alcohol-related violence.
Alcohol Health and Research World
2. The ranges reported
are due to a number of factors, such as the fact that
different studies use different methodologies for
recording alcohol involvement in violent incidents. For example, studies of
patients admitted to emergency rooms only report
information on the victim's, not on the perpetrator's, alcohol use, while studies
relying on law enforcement data only record data
on those who have been charged with (and, in some cases, convicted of) a
3. Wolfgang, Marvin. Patterns
in criminal homicide. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press, 1958; Pernanen, Kai.
Alcohol and crimes of violence. In: The biology of alcoholism: social aspects of
alcoholism. Vol. 4. Kissin, B., and H.
Begleiter (eds.). New York: Plenum Press, 1976; Pernanen, Kai. Alcohol in
human violence. New York: Guilford Press.
1991; Murdoch, D., R. O. Pihl, and D. Ross. Alcohol and crimes of violence:
present issues. International Journal of the
Addictions. 25:1065-1081. 1990.
4. Roizen, Judith. Epidemiologcal
issues in alcohol-violence. In: Recent
developments in alcoholism, vol. 13: Alcoholism and
violence. Marc Galanter ed. New York: Plenum Press. 1997, pp.7-40; National
Crime Victimization Survey, 1992,
Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, March 1994, National Crime
Victimization Survey, 1993, Washington D.C.:
U.S. Department of Justice, May 1996, National Crime Victimization Survey, 1994.
Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of
Justice, May 1997, National Crime Victimization Survey, 1995, Washington D.C.:
U.S. Department of Justice, forthcoming,
cited in Greenfeld, Lawrence A. Alcohol and crime: an analysis of national data
on the prevalence of alcohol
involvement in crime. U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1998.
Brief Review of the Literature on Alcohol and Violence
Violent incidents frequently
involve alcohol use by the perpetrator, victim, or
both. Roizen's (1997) recent review of the
research found that:
between 28% and 86% of homicide offenders
between 24% and 37% of assault offenders
between 13% and 60% of sexual offenders
between 6% and 57% of male domestic violence assailants and between 10%
and 27% of female domestic violence
were drinking at the time
of the incident. An earlier review by Martin (1992)
yielded similar results. (The ranges reported above
are due to many factors: the studies reviewed use different methodologies for
recording alcohol involvement in violent incidents;
define violence differently; and have different samples.)
Nearly all researchers
hold that the relationship of alcohol to violence is complex
(Roizen 1997, Fagan 1993, Martin 1992,
Pernanen 1991, Collins and Messerschmidt 1993). However, researchers do not
agree on why alcohol is so often involved in
violence. According to one theory, the disinhibition theory, alcohol impairs the
self-control that normally inhibits a person from
acting violently (see discussion in Pernanen 1981, 1991).
As a single explanation,
the disinhibition theory has fallen out of favor, in part
because it does not satisfactorily explain why
alcohol use does not always lead to violence, and in part because the
prevalence of violence in drinking situations varies by
cultural setting (MacAndrew and Edgerton 1969, Fagan 1993). Several
alternative theories have been proposed, of which
Parker's (1995) theory of selective disinhibition is perhaps the most promising.
According to Parker, alcohol's well-known
negative effects on people's perception, ability to interpret others' actions and
intentions, and judgment, interact with a complex
set of social and psychological circumstances to result in violence in certain
cases. Alcohol tends to lower people's inhibitions
against using violence to achieve their goals. Such "disinhibition" does not
operate in all instances–sometimes a person's
self-control or social constraints are strong enough to prevent violence from
occurring, and thus disinhibition is "selective."
(Pernanen  had formulated a similar theory earlier.)
Other researchers caution
that no single explanation can account for all types of
violence (Fagan 1993, Roizen 1997). Martin
(1993) points out that the role of alcohol in violence differs depending on such
factors as who has been drinking (perpetrator,
victim, or both), the drinking context (for example, at home versus at a bar, day of
the week, time of day), and the relationship
between perpetrator and victim (for example, the perpetrator of domestic
violence is much more likely to be drinking and the
victim not to be drinking than in assaults not related to domestic violence). These
situational differences make it difficult to
conceive of models that satisfactorily explain the role of alcohol in a wide range
of violent incidents. For example, many
researchers and advocates state that alcohol is not a cause of domestic violence
(Kaufman Kantor and Straus 1987, Leonard
1988, Leonard 1993, Zubretsky and Kigirolamo 1996). However, perpetrators
often attempt to use alcohol as an excuse for
their actions (sometimes called "deviance disavowal"; see Collins 1989).
Therefore, treating the perpetrator for alcohol abuse
may not eliminate the violence because alcohol use itself does not cause the
violence; the specific issues leading to domestic
violence need to be addressed. At the same time, it seems possible that alcohol
use can increase the likelihood and severity of
domestic violence incidents, as the selective disinhibition theory hypothesizes.
Other theories have been
proposed that cover only a segment of the totality of
violent incidents. For example, Alaniz and Parker
(1998) suggest that increased alcohol outlet density is associated with youth
violence because some types of alcohol outlets in
certain settings define a physical and social environment in which social norms
and external controls are weakened: the outlets'
sale of alcohol creates an atmosphere that lowers the normal constraints against
violence and illegal or socially marginalized
activities. Thus, youth in this environment may be more likely to engage in
gang-related activity, drug sales, and other behaviors
that have a high potential for violence.
While theoretical advances
regarding alcohol's relationship to violence are being
made, much work needs to be done. Roizen
(1997) argues that very little is known about alcohol's specific causal role in
violence. She states that progress has been slow in
part because new research often does not build on previous work because this
work is scattered among disciplines and is found
in disparate sources. Martin (1993) suggests that research needs to focus on
cognitive processes as providing the link between
biological effects of alcohol and the social, interactional, and psychological
factors affecting violence; concerns regarding
communication among the intoxicated individual, the victim, and
bystanders/witnesses; and the effect of alcohol on information
processing, especially during the initial phases of interaction. As Roizen (1997)
states, understanding these issues will depend in
part on qualitative studies of the unfolding of specific violent events. Moreover,
Roizen (1997) cautions that a single or simple
policy seldom flows from research findings because it is widely acknowledged
that violence has multiple causes and,
accordingly, research has become increasingly complex.
Alaniz, Maria L. and Robert
Nash Parker. Alcohol outlet density and Mexican
American youth violence. Berkeley: Prevention
Research Center. 1998.
Cherpitel, Cheryl J. Alcohol
and violence-related injuries in the emergency room.
In: Recent developments in alcoholism, vol.
13: Alcoholism and violence. Mark Galanter (ed.) Plenum Press, New York: 1997,
Collins, James J. Alcohol
and interpersonal violence: less than meets the eye. In:
Pathways to criminal violence. N. A. Weiner
and M. A. Wolfgang (eds.) Newbury Park CA: Sage Publications. 1989.
Collins, James J. and
Pamela M. Messerschmidt.. Epidemiology of alcohol-related
violence. Alcohol Health and Research
World (17)2:93-100. 1993.
Kaufman Kantor, Glenda
and Murray A. Straus. The "drunken bum" theory of
wife beating. Social Problems (34)3:213-228.
Leonard, Kenneth E. Drinking
patterns and intoxication in marital violence:
review, critique, and future directions for research.
Alcohol and interpersonal violence: fostering multidisciplinary perspectives.
Research Monograph 24. NIAAA. 1993,
Leonard, Kenneth E. and
Theodore Jacob. Alcohol, alcoholism, and family
violence. In Handbook of family violence. Van
Hasselt V B, Morrison R L, Bellack A S, and Hersen M eds. New York:Plenum
Press. 1988, pp. 383-406.
C. MacAndrew and R.B. Edgerton. Drunken comportment. Chicago: Aldine. 1969.
Fagan, Jeffrey. Set and
setting revisited: influences of alcohol and illicit drugs on
the social context of violent events. Alcohol and
interpersonal violence: fostering multidisciplinary perspectives. Research
Monograph 24. NIAAA. 1993, pp.161-191.
Martin, Susan E. The epidemiology
of alcohol-related interpersonal violence.
Alcohol Health and Research World
Martin, Susan E. Introduction.
Alcohol and interpersonal violence: fostering
multidisciplinary perspectives. Research
Monograph 24. NIAAA. 1993, pp.v-xi.
Parker, Robert Nash, with
Linda-Anne Rebhun. Alcohol and homicide: a deadly
combination of two American traditions.
Albany: State University of New York Press. 1995.
Pernanen, Kai. Theoretical
aspects of the relationship between alcohol use and
crime. In Drinking and crime: perspectives on
the relationship between alcohol consumption and criminal behavior. James J.
Collins ed. New York: Guilford Press. 1981.
Pernanen, Kai. Alcohol in human violence. New York: Guilford Press. 1991.
Roizen, Judith. Epidemiologcal
issues in alcohol-violence. In Recent
developments in alcoholism, vol. 13: Alcoholism and
violence. Marc Galanter ed. New York: Plenum Press. 1997, pp.7-40.
Zubretsky, Theresa M.
and Karla M. Digirolamo. The false connection between
adult domestic violence and alcohol. In:
Helping battered women. Albert R. Roberts (ed.) New York: Oxford University
Press. 1996, pp. 222-228.
At 04:41 PM 11/10/99 -0500, you wrote:
SUBABUSE Email List:
do you have
any numbers to back this info up.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jerry Stubben <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 1999 9:17 AM
> >From the
SUBABUSE Email List:
> Yesterday I was talking with a prevention person who works with persons
> are sent to her office due to violent acts while intoxicated. These can
> range from assault, domestic abuse, child abuse and
> sexual assault. Two issues came up. She has found that 75% or more of
> violent acts in our community occur when the perpetrator is intoxicated or
> high. 90% of domestic abuse. Perhaps we need to add a label to all
> alcohol products that they cause acts of violence. She also has found
> over 50% of those referred to her, are not anti-social or aggressive
> people. None of them blamed their violent acts on violence they have seen
> on TV, etc. And most had seen a violent act in person while a child,
> normally parents or other relatives.
> The other issue is that Hate Crimes also have a high percentage of
> perpetrators who are abusing alcohol or drugs at the time.
> Does anyone know of any legislation that is dealing with sentencing such
> folks to treatment?
> I think this could also be a case for a law suit against liquor and beer
> companies, similar to what happened to cigarette companies, in regards to
> both health issues and social issues such as violence. Never heard of
> someone smoking a pack of cigarettes and then beating up their spouse, but
> have seen countless cases of a 12 pack causing such behavior.
From the SUBABUSE Email List:
Charyn is quite right about her concern. The potential health benefits of two drinks a day - primarily in decreased risk of CV disease incidents - must be weighed against the possibility of alcohol-related problems. Two a day is high enough to cause liver disease in susceptible individuals, and two a day is high enough to lead to tolerance and progression in susceptible individuals.
I guess my point is that it is inappropriate to talk about using alcohol to raise HDL (and other potential positive health effects of moderate alcohol consumption) when the issue at hand is alcoholism.
As for holding France up as the paragon of controlled drinking, here is an exerpt from France's version of Healthy People 2000:
Alcohol consumption Objective By the year 2000,
to reduce by 20 % the average consumption of alcohol by people over 15;
to reduce the impact of alcohol on society and health; to reduce regional
disparities by bringing all regions to the level of those with the lowest
consumption. Size of the problem Since 1970, alcohol consumption has fallen
in France from 22 litres of pure alcohol per person over 15 years of age,
to 17 litres in 1989, nevertheless placing France at the "top" of the European
league. Moderate alcohol consumption in appropriate circumstances is socially
acceptable and does not inevitably harm health. Epidemiologists have shown
that alcohol consumption is potentially harmful beyond three glasses a
day for men and two glasses for women (this threshold can be lower as it
varies according to individual sensitivity). An estimated five million
drinkers are at risk of medical, psychological and social problems, and
two million people are dependent on alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption
is responsible for many health problems (damage to the peripheral and central
nervous systems, liver, cardiovascular system and the unborn child). It
is a determining factor in many social problems, ranging from job problems
to criminal behaviour (violent attacks, rape, child abuse and marital violence).
In some circumstances, such as driving, alcohol consumption considerably
increases the risk of accidents. The report states that smoking and alcoholism
are responsible for 100,000 deaths a year, a fifth of all deaths (smoking
60,000, alcohol 40,000). The report also states that:
* There are 1,000 cases of foetal alcohol syndrome each year
* 15-35% of emergency service and hospital beds are taken up by victims of alcohol abuse, this apart from psychiatric beds
* 29.5% of men and 11.1% of women seen by general practitioners are excessive drinkers (over 28 drinks per week for men and 14 drinks per week for women) who are at risk of alcohol -related disease or already ill In 1991 excessive alcohol consumption directly led to the deaths of
11,910 people through "alcoholism, alcoholic psychosis and cirrhosis". Moreover,
10, 233 people died of alcohol-related cancers of the upper airways and digestive tract. More than a third of road deaths are thought to be due to alcohol, together with other violent causes of deaths (suicide, homicide, occupational accidents and domestic accidents). The excess mortality observed in France before 65 years of age, particularly in men, is largely linked to alcohol consumption. The current situation remains unacceptable and major efforts must be made. Reducing alcohol-related damage and helping people with drinking problems should be public health priorities in France.
Jury deadlocks on manslaughter case
By ERICA BESHEARS
NEWTON -- Jurors deliberated for three hours before declaring
themselves "hopelessly deadlocked" in deciding whether Terry Lee
Smith committed manslaughter when he gave an 18-year-old the vodka
that killed her.
Superior Court Judge Claude Sitton declared a mistrial, and he put the
case on next week's Superior Court docket. Prosecutor Jason Parker
told Sitton the case needed to be retried quickly. Smith, 25, is serving a
prison sentence in Maryland, and Maryland officials want him back
shortly, Parker said.
Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, the jury forewoman sent Sitton a note
signed by all the jurors. "Your honor, I'm sorry to say we're in
deliberations where we cannot reach a verdict," Sitton read from the
note. At least one juror told the rest that he or she would never change
his or her mind, the note said. "We feel like we are hopelessly
deadlocked on all counts."
Parker, who must decide whether he will retry the case, didn't want to
comment after the mistrial. Neither did Kimberly Dawn McDonald's
father, who said he was going to meet with Parker.
David Moose, attorney for Smith, also declined to comment.
Smith was charged with involuntary manslaughter, one count of giving
spirituous liquor to a minor and three counts of giving malt beverage to
a minor. Although Moose admitted to the jury several times that Smith
purchased beer and vodka for McDonald and her friends, the jury
deadlocked on all five counts.
The manslaughter trial began Monday. Parker presented a string of
witnesses and rested his case Tuesday. Moose did not present any
Throughout the trial, it was clear Moose and Parker agreed on the facts:
On Sept. 19, Smith bought 2 pints of vodka for McDonald, then watched
her drink them both within minutes. She threw up and passed out. Her
friends discussed whether they should take her to the hospital, but
Smith said she would be OK. Later, after Smith left, McDonald's friends
left her and her car in a church parking lot. In the early morning hours of
Sept. 20, 1998, a sheriff's deputy found McDonald's still-warm body in
In closing arguments Wednesday morning, the attorneys highlighted
differences. Parker contended Smith's actions constituted manslaughter
because he committed an unlawful act that caused her death.
Smith and the other boys knew she was sick, Parker said, because they
kept checking to see if she was breathing. But they didn't take her to the
hospital because they wanted to take her car to hang out at a Texaco
and Taco Bell, he said. "They probably went by the hospital on their way
to Taco Bell," he shouted. "Who's the adult here? Who's supposed to
be held responsible? Who bought her the booze?"
But Moose argued that no reasonable person could have foreseen that
McDonald would die. And he said the state was using Smith as an
example in the war against underage drinking. "Terry is the scapegoat,"
he said. "They want to teach the whole world a lesson."
Leonard McDonald, Kimberly's father, attended the trial alone because
he said his wife wouldn't have been able to handle it. The trial has been
especially tough, he said, because Wednesday was the two-year
anniversary of his daughter's death. He said he planned to gather with
his wife and adult son Wednesday evening to go to the cemetery.
Calif. Alcohol Policy at a Glance May 14, 2001 By The Associated Press
Key elements of California State University's proposed alcohol policy:
- -Limit vendor advertising at campus events.
- -Limit alcohol industry funding of student-sponsored events.
- -Provide an education program to make students aware of the risks of illegal and irresponsible drinking.
- -Distribute campus alcohol-related regulations and policies to all students.
- -Enforce campus rules as well as state and local drinking laws.
- -Partner with local law enforcement agencies to enforce drinking laws.
- -Create an advisory council to examine issues of alcohol use by students.
- -Institute annual alcohol policy orientation program for campus organization advisers and student officers.
- -Institute alcohol policy training for all campus peer advisers and residential staff.
- -Adopt new student and parent orientation programs.
- -Adopt orientation programs for higher-risk students, such as fraternities, athletes and large residential campus populations.
- -Provide a systemwide grant writer to seek out possible funding to implement and maintain the policies.
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