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About 70 percent of those who engage in simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use reported simultaneous use at least weekly

A new study from Penn State found that compared to people who only drank alcohol, those who used alcohol and marijuana simultaneously were more likely to drink heavier and more often. They were also more likely to experience alcohol-related problems -- like impulsive actions they later regretted.

"The results suggest that individuals who simultaneously use alcohol and marijuana are at a disproportionately higher risk for heavy, frequent, and problematic substance use," said Ashley Linden-Carmichael, assistant research professor at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State.

The researchers said the findings -- recently published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse-- also suggest that prevention and intervention programs should take into account not just alcohol, but also if people are using additional substances, as well.

According to the researchers, marijuana use is at an all-time high among young adults in the U.S., possibly leading to people using marijuana and alcohol simultaneously.

"The problem with simultaneous use is that it can affect people cognitively and perceptually, and also have an impact on motor impairment," Linden-Carmichael said. "There is a burgeoning area of research that is examining why people are using marijuana and alcohol together and what those effects are."

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Australia's plan for tackling alcohol abuse and harm has been compromised because of meddling from the alcohol industry, health experts have warned.

Key points:

  • A leaked copy of the National Alcohol Strategy describes alcohol as "an intrinsic part of Australian culture"
  • State and territory ministers say they cannot endorse the new draft
  • Alcohol accounts for up to 15 per cent of emergency admissions at hospitals

The impasse is presenting an obstacle for Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, as he seeks to finalise the long-awaited blueprint.

"I'm not sure why we need to see it watered down," Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook said. "Minister Hunt now needs to re-examine his conscience."

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said industry inclusion in strategy governance "presents a commercial conflict of interest" She added that changes from the Commonwealth had "significantly reduced the quality of the document".

This first draft also focused on "challenging perceptions of risk among Australians about safe drinking levels, including in relation to health impacts". But the revised draft instead focuses more on educating Australians or measures to prevent "excessive alcohol consumption" and "excessive drinking". Professor Miller says it ignores the harm caused by regular alcohol consumption. "That our governments and bureaucrats aren't pushing that message clearly in a National Alcohol Strategy is frightening," he said

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Quitting alcohol may improve health-related quality of life for women, especially their mental well-being, according to a study from Hong Kong published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Dr. Ni. "Our findings suggest caution in recommendations that moderate drinking could improve health-related quality of life. Instead, quitting drinking may be associated with a more favourable change in mental well-being, approaching the level of lifetime abstainers."

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No Such Thing as ‘Safe’ Teen Drinking!

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  • Cannabis users found to be 5 times more likely to develop alcohol problem
  • Marijuana use also increases likelihood of drug dependency, experts say
  • They warn pot smokers will also be more likely to develop a smoking habit
  • Experts say 'adverse psychiatric outcomes' should be considered by doctors when considering the best treatment for patients Alcoholics, who did not use the drug, were significantly more likely to be seeking treatment in rehab, within three years, according to scientists at Columbia University and the City University of New York.

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