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Friday, November 19, 2010

More on a possible reorganization of NIDA and NIAAA into a new addiction Institute

Yesterday, NIH Director Francis Collins issued a statement regarding a possible reorganization of NIDA and NIAAA indicating he had received the formal reccommendation from the Scientific Management Review Board to formulate a new addiction research Institute.

The statement indicated that a task force is being formed to determine which programs among NIH's 27 Institutes would be moved to the new Institute, and which programs currently within the portfolios of NIDA and NIAAA would be moved to other Institutes.

Drug Monkey published a interesting discussion of the process.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

FDA Issues Warning Letters to Manufacturers of Several Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages

Today, the Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to 4 manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, indicating that their products present a public health concern and violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FFDCA), because the manufacturers have not shown that their beverage combinations of caffeine and alcohol are generally recognized as safe.

Warning letters were sent to Charge Beverages Corp. (for Core High Gravity HG, Core High Gravity HG Orange, and Lemon Lime Core Spiked), New Century Brewing Co., LLC (Moonshot), United Brands Company Inc. (Joose and Max), and Phusion Projects, LLC (Four Loko).  Four Loko has been the subject of prior posts on this blog.

These companies were given 15 days to document that they have implemented steps to "remedy the violation and prevent its recurrence".

The action could result in seizure of these products under federal law.

Phusion Projects, LLC already has indicated that they will remove caffeine from Four Loko.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Report: FDA Soon To Take Action on Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages Including Four Loko

A report in today's New York Times online indicates that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is about to take action on caffeinated alcoholic beverages, such as Four Loko.

It has been over a year since the FDA began collecting data from the companies that market these beverages to determine whether the addition of caffeine to alcohol-containing beverages is generally recognized as safe.

The Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was quoted in the New York Times article as saying “To be very blunt, there’s just no excuse for the delay in applying standards that clearly should bar this kind of witch’s brew”.

The maker of Four Loko, Phusion Projects, states on their website that “The FDA does not currently regulate caffeinated alcoholic beverages; the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, (TTB), a division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) does.”

A statement posted on the TTB website in reference to this issue indicates that the TTB and the FDA both have jurisdication over different aspects of alcoholic beverages, and that the FDA enforces provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and determines safety of additives used in the production of alcoholic beverages.

According to the TTB statement, the FDA did not raise objections to caffeine levels in beverages up to 200 parts per million (ppm), the limit set for cola products.

Although Four Loko does not currently list the caffeine content on its product label, if it exceeds 139 mg (200 ppm in a 23.5 fluid ounce serving), a concentration at the low end of the range of caffeine concentrations present in 8 oz servings of generic brewed coffee, then this may exceed the limit that has been allowed by the FDA.

Stay tuned for updates.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Substance Abuse Problems in Veterans

On this Veteran’s Day, we salute the men and women of our armed forces, past and present, for their service to our country.

Substance abuse professionals have been studying the prevalence and effects of substance abuse in active duty soldiers and veterans.  Unfortunately, the statistics are quite sobering.  There is evidence that the prevalence of substance abuse (alcohol and drug abuse) disorders among veterans of the post-Vietnam conflict era is more than 50% higher than among the general population, as is tobacco use.

Other statistics show that among soldiers who have been deployed and have experienced combat situations, new-onset alcohol problem prevalence rates are higher than nondeployed soldiers, with the youngest deployed soldiers at highest risk for developing alcohol problems.

Today, R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), issued a statement reaffirming the nation’s commitment to provide access to high quality treatment for addiction and other mental health disorders to active duty service members and veterans, in whom the prevalence of prescription drug misuse now is more than double that of the non-military population.

This is timely given the fact that there are major unmet needs for alcohol and substance abuse treatment among veterans.

A new means to reach out to veterans in need of substance abuse treatment capitalizes on technology developed by the Veterans Administration (VA) to enhance internal medicine care: Tele-health In-Home Messaging Device internet technology.  An abstract presented at the CPDD 2010 meeting by Santa Ana and colleagues (www.cpdd.vcu.edu/, 2010 Abstract Book PDF, p. 145, abstract 578) described initial efforts to develop the IHMD to conduct remote substance abuse risk assessments, treatment sessions, and to determine whether respondents should be contacted by health professionals for additional follow up.

Should the system work, it might provide a means to assess, monitor, and treat veterans who do not have easy access to VA or other substance abuse treatment centers.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More on Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks

In follow up to the last posting on caffeinated alcoholic beverages, more states and colleges have enacted or are considering bans of these types of beverages.  The State of Michigan now has banned sales of these drinks effective next month, the State of Oklahoma halted sales of Four Loko and similar beverages, and the State of New York State Liquor Authority is considering modifying the state law so they can ban these types of drinks.  These are in addition to the State of Utah, which never permitted sales of these types of beverages.  In addition, the University of Rhode Island has banned these beverages.

Some feel that these beverages are marketed in such a way that they are attractive to adolescent drinkers, in whom the combination of caffeine and alcohol may be particularly problematic.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.