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Steve Sumerel

Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong to the technological world we are becoming. I cannot boast that my phone is smarter than your phone, or that I have been befriended by more near strangers than you. I would win, however, any contest of whose eyes get more glazed when social networking jargon is bandied […] Read More

On Wednesday, the National Academy of Sciences, responding to a request of Congress, delivered a report on the impact of underage drinking. Included in the report is a strategy to address this national crisis. The report is a welcome contribution to the public’s understanding of the proportions of this public health, economic, and ethical issue […] Read More

I am often asked what to make of the widely reported health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. Many new branches of research have increasingly lifted these health advantages above the statistical noise of earlier studies about the dangers of alcohol. Although individual studies may have critics, the overwhelming body of evidence seems clear. Those who […] Read More

Substance abuse by older adults is not a new problem, but it is a problem on the rise. Currently, those who are 65 years or older comprise 13 percent of the population. In 30 years, this will rise to 21 percent. Through a picture-lined hallway, a woman looks toward the empty family room. The pain […] Read More

Recent research from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) points to deliberate and focused alcohol advertising to minors. In spite of alcohol’s place in Americana, the dangers of alcohol use by young people have led the country to restrict access to alcohol. However, few statutes restrict the advertising of alcohol to minors. The […] Read More

In the midst of the frenzy, the rush, the stress of the season, I wonder, “Why don’t we drink even more?” In the midst of this drunken state, I pondered the question, “In this high and holy Advent season, why do we consume so much alcohol?” It seemed terribly incongruent to bring into the “temple” […] Read More

There may be no greater gift to a young person than to let her know that her story is woven into the fabric of a larger narrative. Then, her point of decision is not an isolated instant, but a historic moment. Many variables come into play as one ponders the use of drugs, especially in […] Read More

It boils downs to a simple equation. In light of the potential dangers of alcohol use, do the benefits of use justify the risk? For the rest of my son’s life, the nuances of this simple statement will be examined and tested. What is a drug? Does the list of drugs include alcohol? What about […] Read More

A short parable: A man contemplates a pond some distance from his house. Dead fish are floating, lazily drifting in the gentle currents. It becomes clear to him that the water is not suited for the health of his fish. So, in a desperate plan to save the remaining fish the man attempts to fashion […] Read More

Is addiction a physiological disease having both a physical cause and cure? Is addiction a spiritual condition having roots in a concept called “sin”? How can science and faith communities best serve the addict when they answer those questions so differently? The story of the blind men trying to make sense of an elephant is […] Read More