Drug and Alcohol Review

Cover image for Vol. 34 Issue 2

Edited By: Professor Robin Room

Impact Factor: 2.069

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 10/35 (Substance Abuse (Social Science))

Online ISSN: 1465-3362

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Editors' Choice

The equal right to drink
Laura Schmidt writes about women winning “the equal right to drink” and how this right has disparate implications for women of high and low socio-economic standing.

Prevalence of medical marijuana use in California, 2012
Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra and colleagues conduct a phone survey to find that 5% of Californian’s have used medical cannabis for a serious medical condition.

Protective effects of alcohol on cardiovascular disease: are findings biased by industry funding?
McCambridge and Hartwell conducted a systematic review of studies examining the protective effects of alcohol on six cardiovascular diseases. They found that alcohol industry funded studies produced more favourable results for stroke, but not for other cardiovascular outcomes.

Drinking during pregnancy

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This virtual issue includes recent Drug and Alcohol Review papers from an Australian or New Zealand context concerning rates of drinking during pregnancy, and identifying the lack of data needed to respond effectively to this situation. O’Leary and Bower explain that there is good evidence that moderate and heavy alcohol consumption (3 or more drinks per occasion) can be harmful to the unborn child. With such a small margin before there is an increased risk to the fetus, O’Leary and Bower argue that women should be advised to not drink during pregnancy. Despite such policy recommendations, drinking among women appears to be relatively common. In a survey of 10,090 children from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, Hutchinson et al. found that around one-third of mothers drank during pregnancy. Mallard et al. found similar results from a survey of 723 post-partum women in New Zealand, with 34% having drug alcohol during their pregnancy and with 12% of pregnancies involving a risk of heavy alcohol exposure. Drinking during pregnancy was more common among indigenous women, women who smoked tobacco or used other drugs, and women who drank more heavily prior to pregnancy. Crawford-Williams et al. review interventions aimed at reducing drinking among pregnant women, but find that the evidence around their effectiveness is lacking. Burns et al. explain that solid data on the consequences of drinking during pregnancy, via the surveillance of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, are also lacking, hindering policies, resource allocation and service development. In sum, drinking remains common among pregnant women, despite policy advice not to drink during pregnancy, but there is insufficient data to determine whether this is resulting in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or how to prevent drinking among pregnant women.

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