Ethical Considerations

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A number of codes and regulations agreed on by scientists and the lay public provide norms for the conduct of research and testing with human volunteers. In general, they require a clear statement, understandable to the volunteer, of the risks and benefits of the testing procedure, as well as an explicit consent document in written form. After it is clear that the participant thoroughly appreciates all that is involved and the potential consequences of participation, the volunteer signs the consent form in the presence of a witness who is not associated with the research. These required procedures ensure both the autonomy and the protection of volunteers for drug-abuse-liability testing.

(SEE ALSO: Abuse Liability of Drugs: Testing in Animals; Research: Animal Model)


Brady, J. V., & Lukas, S. E. (1984). Testing drugs for physical dependence potential and abuse liability. NIDA Research Monograph 52. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Flschman, M. W., & Mello, N. K. (1989). Testing for abuse liability of drugs in humans. NIDA Research Monograph, 92, No. 89-1613. Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.

Joseph V. Brady

ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES FROM ALCOHOL Trauma (bodily injury) is a major social and medical problem in both developed and developing countries. Injuries are among the leading cause of death and disability in the world, and affect all populations, regardless of age, sex, income, or geographic region. In 1998 about 5.8 million people died of injuries worldwide, and injuries caused 16 percent of the global burden of disease (Krug, et al, 2000). In developed countries injuries are the leading cause of death between the ages of one and forty, and in the U.S. population it is the fourth leading cause of death (exceeded only by heart disease, stroke, and cancer). Of all deaths from injury in the United States, about 65 percent are classified as unintentional (which excludes deaths from suicide, homicide, and other criminal offenses); of these, about half result from motor vehicle accidents. Trauma also accounts for high rates of morbidity (number of sick to well). In the United States, the rate of serious injury is estimated to be at least three hundred times the death rate.

The first documentation of alcohol's involvement in injury dates to 1500 B.C.E., with an Egyptian papyrus warning that excessive drinking leads to falls and broken bones. The scientific study of alcohol and injuries has been the subject of much investigation throughout the twentieth century. Data from both coroner and emergency room stud-

Roslyn Cappiello, president of the Omaha, Nebraska, chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was paralyzed from the neck down in an accident caused by a drunk driver. (AP Photo/ Nati Harnik)

ies indicate that a large proportion of victims of both fatal and nonfatal injuries test positive for blood alcohol—this proportion is greater than one would expect to find in the general population on any given day. The consumption of alcohol (etha-nol) has been highly associated with fatalities and serious injuries, but this may be the result of other high-risk behaviors on the part of the drinking accident victim, such as not using seat belts or motorcycle helmets. Studies of alcohol, injury, and risk-taking dispositions in the general population have found risk-taking, impulsivity, and sensationseeking to be associated with both injury occurrence and alcohol consumption. Those who scored high on risk-taking and sensation-seeking were twice as likely to report an injury for which treatment was obtained during the last year, and were also more likely to report heavier drinking

(Cherpitel, 1999). Although alcohol cannot be said to actually cause the accident in most cases, alcohol consumption is thought to contribute to both fatal and nonfatal injury occurrence, primarily because it is known to diminish motor coordination and balance and to impair attention, perception, and judgment with regard to behavior, placing the drinker at a higher risk of accidental injury than the nondrinker. The residual or hangover effects of alcohol consumption may also contribute to injury occurrence.

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Alcohol No More

Alcohol No More

Do you love a drink from time to time? A lot of us do, often when socializing with acquaintances and loved ones. Drinking may be beneficial or harmful, depending upon your age and health status, and, naturally, how much you drink.

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