Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Alcohol and Public Health

US CDC has released two new reviews from The Guide to Community Preventive Services that assess the effectiveness of limiting the days and hours of alcohol sales for preventing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms. Excessive alcohol use, including binge and underage drinking, is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States; responsible for, on average, more than 79,000 deaths per year and 2.3 million years of potential life lost. For more information, review CDC’s October Vital Signs report on binge drinking.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to four companies that had caffeine added to their malt alcoholic beverages. FDA's action follows a scientific review that examined the published peer-reviewed literature on the co-consumption of caffeine and alcohol, consultation with experts in the fields of toxicology, neuropharmacology, emergency medicine, and epidemiology, and a review of information provided by product manufacturers. FDA also performed its own independent laboratory analysis of these products. Experts have raised concerns that caffeine can mask some of the sensory cues individuals might normally rely on to determine their level of intoxication. The FDA said peer-reviewed studies suggest that the consumption of beverages containing added caffeine and alcohol is associated with risky behaviors that may lead to hazardous and life-threatening situations. All four Maine distributors of Joose alcoholic energy drink have agreed to stop selling it, in response to FDA’s findings.

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