Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro to Address Yale Conference on Tobacco and Alcohol Abuse

Researchers at Yale, community leaders, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro and State Representative Patricia Dillon will lead a conference on alcohol and tobacco use on Saturday November 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hill Regional Career High School, 140 Legion Ave.

The conference will help address the problem of tobacco and alcohol use among adolescents and dependence among adults. It is sponsored by the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center at Yale, led by Stephanie O’Malley, professor of psychiatry at Yale; and the Yale Center for Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism, led by John Krystal, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Yale.

“Drinking and smoking are enormous causes of illness and disability in our society,” said Krystal. “The use of alcohol and drugs often goes together, and the use of one might lead to the use of the other. Of further concern is the role these substances play as gateways to other substance abuse, including cocaine and opiates.”

De Lauro and Dillon will address the community leaders who have made extensive effort to support initiatives in these areas. Dean Wilkerson, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, will describe efforts to advocate for specific legislation designed to reduce the number of drinking related driving fatalities, utilizing arguments based on research findings. The conference is supported by David Kessler, dean of the Yale School of Medicine, who is well known for his concerns about tobacco.

“They will learn how research translates into practice, both at the clinical and policy level,” said O’Malley. “Participants will find out what we know about alcohol and tobacco use in adolescents, and the latest findings on prevention will be presented. We’ll talk about who gets into trouble and the difference between experimenting and getting hooked.”

O’Malley said the conference focuses on tobacco and alcohol because the two tend to be used together and the use of one can alter the way the other substance affects the body.

“These are the most frequently used substances by adolescents and the most prevalent substance abuse problems in this country,” she said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over five million children under age 18 in the United States are regular smokers and about 35 percent of all high school students are daily smokers. When it comes to alcohol, 49 percent of ninth-graders reported having consumed alcohol before they were 13, and 41 percent of ninth-graders reported drinking in the past month. Almost one-fourth of ninth graders reported binge drinking in the past month.

The community conference will present information on medical and psychiatric complications that are related to use of alcohol and tobacco. Topics will include current information about risks of lung cancer, liver disease, birth defects, changes in sex hormones and effects on brain size and function. Presenters will explain effects, based on age of onset and duration of use. The effectiveness of various types of treatment interventions, behavioral and those using medications, will be explained. Attendees will have an opportunity for questions and informal discussions with the researchers.

Community participants will also be presented with information about ongoing and upcoming Yale studies that can help people with alcohol and tobacco problems. At the same time, these studies will provide important information to research investigating these problems.

Community leaders are invited to participate in the conference with their colleagues, along with any interested community residents. To make a reservation or obtain more information, please contact CTNA@Yale.Edu or 203-932-5711, ext. 5318.

The Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism was formed to create links between basic research advances and the development of new treatments for alcoholism. It receives funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center was created to tackle the problem of people who find it hard to quit smoking. It is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Cancer Institute and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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