alcohol

We've always known that people around the world smoke, drink and use illegal drugs. But we've never known just how much people abuse substances, nor have we known whether illegal or legal drugs do more harm to human health — until now.

"Remember the last time you had sex? Were you drinking? Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause lifelong problems for the child."

That's part of the warning on a poster in the women's bathroom at the Peanut Farm bar in Anchorage. It depicts the silhouette of a pregnant woman guzzling straight from a bottle. And it's affixed to a pregnancy test dispenser hanging on the wall.

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

After years of criticism over its Byzantine structure and the fact that funds collected are often diverted to other state needs, the Texas Drivers' Responsibility Surcharge Program may be ready for either a refurbish or the discard bin.

First passed 12 years ago, the program was intended to net drunk drivers, those without insurance or valid licenses. It would keep them on the hook for years, paying fees that would be channeled to Texas trauma centers.

The label promised that Bud Light was "the perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." But that's exactly the word that occurred to many people who say the message recalls alcohol's troublesome connection to sexual assaults.

Anheuser-Busch says the slogan is one of many messages it has printed on beer labels as part of its "UpForWhatever" ad campaign. But it acknowledges that it "missed the mark" with this one, saying that it has stopped making the label.

The thinking about alcohol dependence used to be black and white. There was a belief that there were two kinds of drinkers: alcoholics and everyone else.

"But that dichotomy — yes or no, you have it or you don't — is inadequate," says Dr. John Mariani, who researches substance abuse at Columbia University. He says that the thinking has evolved, and that the field of psychiatry recognizes there's a spectrum.

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