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Dr. David Sleet, Senior Associate at Bizzell Co-authors Article on Alcohol Harms in Young Adults in The Lancet

A new analysis from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Seattle, suggests that for young adults aged 15-39, there are no health benefits to drinking alcohol, only harms. The harms they are most likely to experience are injuries.

The study, published in The Lancet July 16, 2022, (doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00847-9), used data from the Global Burden of Diseases, a project based at the University of Washington in Seattle that tracks health trends worldwide and produces comprehensive data on the causes of illness and death in the world.

Both males and females under age 40 risked health loss from alcohol use, even when consuming small amounts of alcohol. But for those older than 40, consuming small amounts of alcohol (such as 1-2 glasses of wine daily) can provide some health benefits, yet health risks vary by age and region.

David Sleet, Ph.D., one of the co-authors of the article and a Senior Associate for Injury Prevention at Bizzell US (Bizzell), noted that “We need stronger interventions tailored towards younger individuals to reduce the substantial global health loss, particularly from injuries, attributable to alcohol use.”

The study’s authors call for alcohol consumption guidelines to be revised to emphasize that health risks of alcohol use differ by age, stressing that the level of alcohol consumption recommended by many existing guidelines is too high for young people. They also call for policies targeting males under age 40, who are most likely to use alcohol harmfully.

The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“I would like to congratulate Dr. Sleet and the other contributing authors on the publication of the report in The Lancet. As alcohol sales have soared during the pandemic, the long-term health risks of heavy drinking including brain and liver damage, heart disease, digestive disease, and mental health disorders have increased. I urge all Americans to fight the deadly epidemic of alcohol use and abuse, particularly among adolescents and young adults” said Anton C. Bizzell, M.D., President & CEO of Bizzell.

To date, the publication has received national media attention, with USA Today, and The Guardian covering the report.

To read the reviews, please see below:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/07/15/alcohol-health-risks-under-40/10067144002/
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jul/14/alcohol-is-never-good-for-people-under-40-global-study-finds

About BHARC
The Behavioral Health Advancement Resource Center (BHARC) is an authoritative source for behavioral health information, insights, technical assistance, training, and innovative tools. BHARC is a mechanism to share evidence-based behavioral health interventions and best practices. The BHARC Advisory Council consists of experts in substance use, mental health, clinical trials, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare standards and quality. Learn more about the Behavioral Health Advancement Resource Center at BHARC.org.

About Bizzell
Established in 2010, Bizzell US is U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) HUBZone certified strategy, consulting, and technology firm with a mission to improve lives and accelerate change. Bizzell US develops innovative solutions to some of the most critical issues of our time such as health care services equity, global health, workforce innovation and other urgent needs facing the world. Under the leadership and vision of founder, Anton C. Bizzell, MD, the company has grown into a thriving firm headquartered in New Carrollton, Maryland with staff and offices in various regions around the country including California, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Georgia, and globally in Africa, Asia, and Central America. Learn more about how we develop data-driven, research-informed, innovative solutions to complex-real-world challenges. Learn more at BizzellUS.com.

ARTICLE REFERENCE:
GBD 2020 Alcohol Collaborators. Population-level risks of alcohol consumption by amount, geography, age, sex, and year: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2020.

Lancet   2022 Jul 16;400(10347):185-235. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00847-9. PMID: 35843246 PMCID: PMC9289789

Alcohol Use Disorder: Hope for Recovery

Alcohol Use Disorder: Hope for Recovery

Written by: Anton Bizzell, MD

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is often referred to as the hidden substance use disorder (SUD). With alcohol use legal and socially acceptable in many settings, the symptoms of AUD may initially go unnoticed. Yet individuals with AUD may experience significant difficulties in their relationships, work, and health.

In a newly released analysis, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that over 70 percent of the adult population drank alcohol in 2017. Alcohol-related deaths more than doubled from 1999 to 2017. Overdoses of alcohol alone or in combination with other drugs accounted for 18 percent of the deaths in 2017; 31 percent of the deaths resulted from alcohol-related liver disease. Researchers note that the since this study examined only death certificate data, the actual number of lives lost may be significantly higher.

The death rates increased higher for women than for men, and gender differences persist in risks for alcohol-related cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and cancer. In addition, while prevalence of alcohol use and binge drinking remained stable for men, the prevalence of alcohol use increased by over 10 percent for women and binge drinking increased by over 23 percent among women.

The NIAAA screening tool for AUD includes questions a provider can use to diagnose whether an individual may have an AUD. Individuals who are struggling with their drinking, or families and friends concerned about their loved ones, can start by considering the following questions.

In the past year, have you:

  •  Tried to cut down or stop drinking more than once, but couldn’t?
  •  Found that drinking or being sick from drinking got in the way of you taking care of your home or your family, or caused problems at work or school?
  •  More than once gotten into situations while drinking that could be dangerous, such as driving, having unsafe sex, using machinery, walking in an unsafe neighborhood; or had a memory blackout?
  •  Kept drinking even though it was making you depressed or anxious, or adding to other health problems?
  •  Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating?

In addition to peer-led support models such as Alcoholics Anonymous, there are many options for professionally-led treatment. Treatment for AUD often involves a combination of talk therapy and medication. Therapy can be for individuals, groups, or families, under the direction of a licensed counselor trained in substance use disorders. Medication to help individuals stop drinking and avoid relapse can be administered under the care of a licensed primary care provider or a board-certified addiction medicine physician. In addition, different levels of care and care settings are available to meet the needs of each situation, including outpatient, partial hospitalization, residential, or intensive inpatient.

Although the consequences of AUD can be devastating, hope for recovery is possible with evidence-based, timely intervention.

Reference: White, A. M., Castle, I. J. P., Hingson, R. W., & Powell, P. A. (2020). Using Death Certificates to Explore Changes in Alcohol‐Related Mortality in the United States, 1999 to 2017. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The Bizzell Group (Bizzell) was founded by CEO Anton Bizzell, M.D., a substance use disorders expert and former Medical Officer at NIAAA. Our recent work includes systematic, integrated approaches designed to effect lasting change in the field of substance use disorders through projects with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF). Learn more about how Bizzell advances data-driven, research-informed, innovative solutions to solve complex, real-world challenges. www.BizzellUS.com

A closeup phot of a wooden table with a cigarette with the words, "the last one" written on the side.

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day

Every year on May 31st, The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).  World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) highlights the health and other risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. WNTD focuses on the impact tobacco use has on the cardiovascular health and how tobacco use is an important risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

Although Tobacco is considered a legal drug, the effects and complications related to tobacco use kill many of its users when used as intended by manufacturers. WHO has estimated that the use of tobacco is responsible for the death of about six million people across the world yearly. WHO’s new Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Smoking 2000-2025 report shows that 27% of people worldwide smoked in 2000, compared to 20% in 2016.

For tobacco users that are interested in quitting and living a healthier lifestyle, there are many resources available to help develop a solid “quit plan” that provides ways to stay focused, confident, and motivated throughout the journey. Smokefree.gov has 5 steps that can help smokers handle quit day, which is a smoker’s first day without cigarettes.

1. Make a Quit Plan

Having a quit plan can make quitting much easier. You can build your plan or find a program that works for you. Visit Create My Quit Plan for assistance.

2. Stay Busy

Staying busy is a great way to stay smoke-free. Being busy will help keep your mind off smoking and distract you from cravings. Here is a list of activity ideas that could help distract you:

  • Exercise
  • Chew gum or hard candy
  • Drink lots of water
  • Go to a movie
  • Spend time with non-smoking friends and family
  • Go to dinner with non-smoking friends and family

3. Avoid Smoking Triggers

Triggers are people, places, things, and situations that set off your urge to smoke. Here are some ways to avoid common smoking triggers:

  • Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays
  • Avoid caffeine and replace with water instead
  • Change your routine to avoid the things you might associate with smoking

4. Stay Positive

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself about quitting. Take things one day at a time and reward yourself for small milestones.

5. Ask for Help

You don’t have to do this alone. Ask for support from your family, friends, or a professional. They can help you get through the rough spots.

National Alcohol Screening Day

National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD) is an initiative first launched in 1999 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  NASD is held annually on the first Thursday of the first full week of April. The purpose of this event is to increase public awareness that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are recognized disorders which can be treated. During this day, members of the public are encouraged to visit screening centers and asked to complete written self-assessments about their alcohol use.

According to The Community Guide, there are 2,000 alcohol poisoning deaths in the U.S. each year and alcohol abuse is higher in college students, who do tend to frequently drink in large volumes.  Excessive, fast consumption of alcohol is known as ‘binge drinking’, and this kind of alcohol abuse can lead to many recognized health problems such as anxiety, depression or sexual problems.  The long-term effects of alcohol abuse include an increased risk of developing certain cancers, liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure and heart problems.
National Alcohol Screening Day awareness continues to grow nationally, and the U.S. government is supporting programs and policies to reduce binge drinking and expand access through the Affordable Care Act to new health insurance plans to cover alcohol screening and brief counseling. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has launched two online screening tools that providers can use to assess for substance use disorder (SUD) risk among adolescents 12-17 years old.

Two Screening Options: Providers can select the tool that makes sense for their clinical practice.

CAGE Questionnaire  

The CAGE can identify alcohol problems over the lifetime. Two positive responses are considered a positive test and indicate further assessment is warranted.

The questionnaire takes less than one minute to administer and is often used in the primary care of other general settings as a quick screening tool rather than as an in-depth interview for those who have alcoholism.  The CAGE questionnaire does not have a specific intended population and is meant to find those who drink excessively and need treatment. The CAGE questionnaire is reliable and valid for assessment of alcohol abuse; however, it is not valid for diagnosis of other substance use disorders, although somewhat modified versions of the CAGE questionnaire have been frequently implemented for such a purpose.

AUDIT-C Overview 

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) can detect alcohol problems experienced in the last year. A score of 8+ on the AUDIT generally indicates harmful or hazardous drinking. Questions 1–8 = 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 points. Questions 9 and 10 are scored 0, 2, or 4 only. The Audit-C is a 3-item alcohol screen that can help identify persons who are hazardous drinkers or have active alcohol use disorders (including alcohol abuse or dependence). The AUDIT-C is a modified version of the question AUDIT instrument.