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Topic: The wonderful world of technology (NSC) Return to archive
12th August 2006 06:56 PM

Millions Of Teens Use The Internet To Buy Alcohol

August 11, 2006 7:16 p.m. EST

Yvonne Lee - All Headline News Staff Reporter
(AHN) - A new online survey suggests millions of teens are using the Internet to buy alcohol.
The results indicate more than 3 million youths have a friend who bought alcohol online, and more than 500,000 have used the Internet to buy wine, beer or liquor themselves.

Teen Research Unlimited conducted the survey of 1,000 people aged 14-20 for the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc.

The survey authors write, "Millions of minors are either buying, or know someone who is buying, wine, beer, and liquor online and having it home delivered without an ID check, while many more are already visiting web sites that sell alcohol."

Two-thirds of those questioned said they "definitely will not" buy alcohol online before they turn 21. But the remaining 25 percent said they wouldn't rule out the option.

Eighty-one percent of teens said their parents trusted their judgment while using the Internet; while 75 percent said their parents can't completely control their online activities.

The survey's findings include:

* 2% reported having bought alcohol online.

* 12% reported having a friend who had bought alcohol online.

* Nearly 1 in 10 said they had visited a web site that sells alcohol.

* Nearly 4 in 10 thought alcohol is available by Internet.

The Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America says on its Web site that it opposes "illegal direct shipping" of alcohol.

Moffitt studying alcohol-smoking interaction
Readers who drink and smoke and want to help researchers learn more about the interactions between alcohol and nicotine may want to sign up for an unusual study at F. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Center.

Moffitt is recruiting 105 smokers/drinkers for a new study about alcohol and nicotine effects.

The purpose of the study is to determine how smokers/drinkers react to different combinations of alcohol and nicotine and the common visual and social cues that prompt the desire to smoke and drink.

David Drobes, a clinical psychologist and member of Moffitt's Tobacco Research & Intervention Program, is conducting the study.

His research is backed by a $1.5 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health's program on Alcohol, Abuse and Alcoholism.

"The NIH feels it is very important to understand smoking and alcohol use together," said Drobes.

He wants to see if there is a cross connectivity between the visual and social cues for smoking and drinking.

"A lot of people have studied triggers for smoking and triggers for drinking, but we are looking at the cross-over effects of those triggers and how doses of the drugs lead to an increased desire to smoke or drink."

He wants to know if the cues that trigger people's desire to smoke also increase their desire to drink and vice versa.

"We think those cues are extremely important in motivating continued drug use and may cause relapse for those who continue to quit either drug," said Drobes.

The study began two weeks ago and will take between one to two years to complete, said Drobes.

Each participant will be asked to make five visits to Moffitt in Tampa over a three- to five-week period.

During each visit, which will last for two to four hours, participants will be asked to drink varying amounts of alcohol and smoke cigarettes while watching different cues researches have identified as triggering people's desire to drink and smoke.

Some of those cues will include watching others smoke and drink or watching visual images on a computer screen.

"Smoking is closely associated with drinking," said Drobes, "and we have found in previous studies that for people who want to quit drinking continuing to smoke may increase their risks of relapse."

Those studies are causing developers of smoking or drinking cessation programs to reconsider past advice, said Drobes.

"It used to be that alcoholics were told to continue to smoke because if you try to stop both habits at the same time it would decrease the effectiveness of alcohol treatment program," said Drobes. "But our research is showing that is not a good idea because of the cross-over reactions to cues that trigger use of the two drugs."

The theoretical implications of his study may help develop a better understanding of that cross-over reaction, said Drobes.

On the practical side, it will help show how smoking and drinking treatment programs need to work together, he said.

Just as nicotine use is a risk factor for lung cancer so, too, is heavy alcohol a risk factor for head and neck cancers, said Drobes.

Study participants must be between 18 and 55 years of age and in good health with no chronic medical conditions that would be complicated by drinking or smoking, Drobes said.

Participants will not be able to leave the lab until a Breathalyser test reads below .02, said Drobes. They also must have someone to pick them up.

Moffitt will pay for taxi fare for some participants who live within 30 miles and have no other means of transportation.

Participants will also be compensated.

During the lab sessions participants will undergo some physiological tests to measure their reactions to cues and the amounts of alcohol they drink and the numbers of cigarettes they smoke.

People interested in participating will first be screened through a phone call to see if they are eligible.

The first session is an evaluation of health status, physical status and alcohol and tobacco use history, said Drobes.

He is looking for people who drink occasionally during a month's period to those who drink heavily each day while also smoking between a few cigarettes a week to those who smoke a pack or two or more each day.

Drobes said he is very careful in the doses of drink or cigarettes given to each participant.

"We will keep the people in the lab until we are confident transportation for them has arrived," said Drobes.

If you are interested, call (813) 745-4374 for more information.

Donna Wright, health and social services reporter, can be reached at 745-7049 or at

Cover photo by HERMERA.

Cover photo illustration and design by CRAIG WHITE/The Herald

Post a comment about this story at

Health happenings ... 31-34

Less sex, but teens still on drugs

By Matthew Bigg

August 11, 2006 12:00

HIGH school students are having less sex, and the ones who do are less likely to have multiple partners, according to a new report.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found about 47 per cent of students said they engaged in sexual intercourse in a 2005 survey.

This figure was down from 54.1 per cent in 1991, according to the report.

In 2005, about 15 per cent of students said they had multiple partners, defined as sex with four different people during one's lifetime. In 1991, this level was up nearer 19 per cent.

The news gets even better: the number of students who say they used a condom the last time they had intercourse rose to 62.8 per cent in 2005, from a dangerously low 46.2 per cent in 1991, the survey said.

In today's global environment, Australian youth are increasingly alike American teenages on more fronts than ever before, such as attitudes and cultural tastes.

As such a large scale survey has not been conducted here, the results could have many applications in this country for sex and drug education.

The report was based on student responses to anonymous, self-administered questionnaires in public and private schools in every US state by the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.

One aim was to determine the extent to which U.S. students were at risk from HIV or other behavior-related illnesses.

About 2 per cent of students said they had injected illegal drugs at least once, the same as in 1995.

"During 1995-2005, the percentage of U.S. high school students who ever injected drugs remained less than 4 percent. However, many students still engage in HIV-related risk behaviors," the report said.

The report was published ahead of the 16th International AIDS conference, billed as the world's largest, which starts August 13 in Toronto, Canada.,22049,20092776-5006007,00.html
[Edited by MrPleasant]
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