Child Study Center Speaker Series
Katie Witkiewitz, Ph.D.
Area Head: Quantitative/Methodology, Department of Psychology
The University of New Mexico
Alcohol Harm Reduction is Health Promotion: A 15-year Journey Examining Patterns and Predictors of Alcohol Treatment Outcomes
Abstract: Abstinence from alcohol is often viewed as the most desirable and ideal outcome for individuals with alcohol use disorder. Yet, most individuals with alcohol use disorder do not want to abstain from drinking and do not seek treatment. Several studies of treatment seeking and population-based non-treatment seeking samples have found that significant reductions in alcohol use during and following treatment, or over time in the absence of treatment, are common among individuals with alcohol use disorder. Reductions in drinking are associated with significant improvements in health, quality of life, and other consequences of alcohol use disorder, and also stable over time. Over the past 15 years, there have been several significant methodological advances in studying patterns and predictors of alcohol use and drinking reductions, yet most of the work has not had a major influence on clinical practice, and has had no effect on regulatory guidance for clinical trials examining new medications for alcohol use disorder in the United States. The current talk will provide a broad overview of this literature and present new data on the validity of World Health Organization drinking risk levels as a harm reduction endpoint. Results from several recent studies provide evidence that reductions in World Health Organization drinking risk levels are a viable alternative to abstinence as a harm reduction strategy and as an endpoint for alcohol clinical trials. The talk will also highlight the importance of drinking reductions as a significant public health priority.
Co-sponsored with the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center
Wednesday, October 16 at 4:15pm
Memorial Lounge, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center