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EXPERT PANEL FOR THE ALCOHOL
POLICY INFORMATION SYSTEM

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
August 11, 2006
Rockville, Maryland


Executive Summary

An Expert Panel meeting was held on August 11, 2006 to review the Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) contract. Experts included persons with legal research, alcohol research, and policy research backgrounds. They were asked to give advice on a set of questions that had been submitted in advance. The resulting discussion was wide ranging, but had some important common themes. There was general support for the utility of APIS as a research tool. However, APIS is in its infancy, and realizing it's full value may require a long-term perspective. There was also general agreement that the methodology used on the project produced an accurate and authoritative product. However, a number of suggestions for improving the system were offered.

Key Findings:

  • New policy topics should be ones with the greatest public health significance and potential for saving lives, such as:
       i.    traffic safety, seat belts, provisional licensing, alcohol and violence, guns.
       ii.   policies to regulate manufacture and sale of alcohol.
       iii.  price and alcohol taxes.
       iv.  tobacco regulations.
       v.   policies related to treatment and insurance.
  • The availability of long term longitudinal data on established topics is preferable to inaugurating new "hot" topics. Data spanning 2-3 years have little value.
  • While advisors agreed longer data series would be desirable, historic research in most policies prior to 1998 would be too labor intensive and costly. It is feasible to track traffic laws back to 1988 and possibly back to 1982.
  • The original criteria for policy selection outlined by Greg Bloss were appropriate.
  • Eliminating topics entirely is not advisable as there is little cost to keeping data already collected posted on the web site.
  • Topics for discontinuation or less frequent updates include alcohol and motor vehicle insurance and alcohol and pregnancy.
  • The value of text excerpts is limited. A web based approach that presents citations and offers text on request is appropriate and more cost effective.
  • The expense of including case law on a widespread basis online would be disproportionate to its value. Researchers can focus on case law as needed on their own.
  • The quality of data in APIS is fine and superior to prior systems or similar legal data systems currently available
  • Efforts are needed to stimulate wider use of APIS by researchers. These might include:
       i.    RFAs and PAs.
       ii.   conference presentations.
       iii.  research notes and short articles
       iv.  publication of a summary article on APIS
       v.   reciprocal links with other data sets on the APIS home page.
  • Most policy researchers are not prepared to do the legal work provided by APIS. Legal training is needed to do this work and it is more cost effective to have it done by APIS.
  • LexisNexis and Westlaw provide access to statutes, but a researcher must interpret these data. APIS adds value by providing this service.

Participants

An expert advisory panel for the Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) convened on August 11, 2006, at the Fishers Lane Conference Center in Rockville, Maryland. Ralph Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H., presided over the day-long meeting. Invited experts included Thomas Babor, Ph.D.; Frank Chaloupka, Ph.D.; Heidi Coleman, J.D.; David Hemenway, Ph.D.; Stephen Teret, J.D., M.P.H.; and Alex Wagenaar, Ph.D. CDM Incorporated (contractor) staff included Michael Klitzner, Ph.D.; James Mosher, J.D.; Charles R. Tremper, J.D., Ph.D.; and Rose Urban, M.S.W., J.D., LCSW, CCAS, CSAC. In addition to Dr. Hingson, NIAAA staff included the Honorable Linda Chezem, J.D.; Howard Moss, M.D.; Mike Hilton, Ph.D.; and Greg Bloss, M.A. See appendix for affiliations of the experts.

I. Initial Presentations and Discussions

The meeting began with a series of initial presentations to familiarize panelists with the purpose, history, and features of APIS. A presentation by the former project officer described the purpose and concept of the APIS system and a presentation by the contractor gave details on the project from the contractor's perspective; and a presentation by the new project officer outlined the cost constraints in the NIAAA budget. Following this there was a chance for the contractor staff to engage in discussion on issues raised the expert panel. The contractor staff then left the room. Following this, new project officer gave a presentation outlining the cost constraints in the NIAAA budget, and this was followed by additional discussion among the panel members.

Welcome and Charge to the Panel

Dr. Ralph Hingson welcomed participants and explained that the meeting's aim was to seek strategic advice on APIS-individual recommendations, not necessarily consensus. As part of an NIAAA-wide process to review its contracts and grants in an environment of shrinking budgets, advisors focused on whether and how APIS can accomplish its objectives at lower cost and which topic areas might be added, expanded, or scaled back.

Purpose and Concept of APIS

APIS Alternate Project Officer Gregory Bloss established the context for the discussion. APIS aims to encourage and facilitate research on the effects and effectiveness of alcohol-related public policies. APIS provides researchers with authoritative, detailed, and comparable information on federal and state alcohol-related laws and regulations. The APIS website (www.alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov) provides public access, offering multiple levels of detail.

Mr. Bloss described the developmental process that led to the APIS project, which included a feasibility study, examination of extant models for policy data systems, and an expert meeting leading to development of the Statement of Work and competitive solicitation and award of the contract (in 2001 to CDM Group and subcontractors Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and Urban Planet). Priorities and limits established for the project specified inclusion of state and federal, but not local, policies; statutes and regulations, but not case law; enacted policies only (i.e., no tracking of proposed legislation); comprehensive representation of all new alcohol-related bills and regulations (work on this activity has now been suspended); detailed comparisons of policy status and history for selected policy topics; and emphasis on quality assurance.

Each of APIS's 36 policy topics is presented on the website in a structured, linked framework. Common elements across policy topics include Policy Description; Definitions; Explanatory Notes and Limitations; Variables definitions; Federal law summary; and Selected References. Comparison Tables present the most detailed data using three separate views: Policies in Effect on a Specific Date; Policy Changes Over Time, and Timeline View of Policy Changes. Maps and charts present overviews of policy variation across states and over time.

Criteria for topic selection include public health significance, research salience, recent or anticipated policy-making activity, relatively straightforward legal research requirements for adequate characterization, and diversity in terms of topic areas addressed. Recent work has increased the focus on establishing more comprehensive coverage of policies pertaining to underage drinking.

Using a sample topic, Mr. Bloss demonstrated APIS's functionality. He pointed out that APIS's presentation of explanatory notes and limitations distinguishes the resource from other sources. Comparison tables represent the essence of APIS information. Data presented in APIS tables include citations and excerpts of legal codes that provide documentation to support decisions and interpretations made in coding. Researchers can examine cross-sectional and longitudinal variation; most topics have data from 1998. Comparison tables can be downloaded for reading into statistical software. Related policy topics are linked; an example is the underage drinking constellation. A recent pilot project developed state-by-state presentations of 11 underage drinking policy topics, with synopses of the policies in each area.

The Enacted Bills and Adopted Regulations section of APIS offers a search tool for a database of all bills and regulations with some relevance to alcohol; work on this aspect has been suspended due to limited resources. The Enforcement and Compliance section identifies data sources and provides scholarly literature reviews from several disciplinary perspectives. Selected information dating to 1988 from NHTSA's Digest of State Alcohol-Highway Safety Related Legislation has been formatted and posted on the Internet for the first time to leverage high-quality legal research done by others, a practice that might be expanded.

APIS solicits feedback from users. To date, more than 80 requests for information on research-related questions have been received by email and through the APIS web site. Conversations between APIS project staff and researchers has shown that researchers often do not automatically find the information they seek.

APIS's key challenges include translating legal provisions into useful, quantifiable information for social science researchers; devising useful data structures and displays; overcoming obstacles to needed information; and performing ongoing quality assurance. Additional obstacles include legal research tools that are not designed to deal with historical research and the economical acquisition of full-text excerpts of laws from commercial vendors.

Panel Discussion of Mr. Bloss's Presentation

  • Regarding interest among potential users about model laws and proposed legislation, it has been difficult to know who uses APIS and how. However, it is possible to identify the domains of website users, and inquiries offer clues. About 20 percent of information requests comes from state governments; no information has been sought on model laws per se.
  • APIS may be used as an instrument to translate research into public health practice and to document whether or not such transfer is happening.
  • A system that asks users to log in prior to accessing data may help to identify users, but the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would require clearance.

CDM Presentation

Ms. Rose M. Urban stated that APIS's challenge is to balance researchers' interests and needs with NIAAA's mission and priorities, within the constraints of legal research and social science realities, while maintaining accuracy, cost-efficiency, and timeliness. An additional concern is whether or not to expand the website's audience beyond the research community.

Ms. Urban explained the approach and procedures for developing new policies and updating policies. Among the key issues is time-intensiveness; CDM is experimenting with streamlined updating procedures that may cut the time required by up to half. Over the past year, CDM has allocated approximately 64 percent of APIS resources for updating activities- reflecting the expanding need to update new policies as they are developed-and highlighting the need for decision making to streamline the updating process. Developing new policies engaged 23 percent of resources; information technology, 11 percent; and other activities, 2 percent. Ms. Urban indicated that the state by state annual updates rather than policy by policy annual updates (the proposed streamlined updating methodology) could reduce updating costs 25% - 50%, which is a reduction in total project costs of 17% - 33%.

CDM staff members view APIS as the premier source for alcohol policy information, a tool similar to FARS or Monitoring the Future. Although APIS's time line is short, its robustness, nuances, and dimensions bode well for its long-term impact and the types of research projects possible.

CDM staff addressed NIAAA's focal questions: Dr. Michael Klitzner addressed social science policy; Mr. James Mosher discussed legal aspects of the website; and Ms. Urban addressed performance issues. Their remarks appear with the relevant questions in the Content section below.

Panel Discussion of CDM Presentation

  • The public health significance of tax policy makes updates to tax policy data a high priority. Attention is needed to determine how to handle the large, complex, expensive task-and how to balance that task with such competing priorities as developing data for the underage drinking topic. Advisors can help guide as to how to use and display complex information.
  • In determining new policy topics, it may be easier to focus on the Alcohol Policy Classification System rather than the APIS policy topics. Policy work should be directed toward policies that produce the greatest savings of lives-for example, traffic safety, alcohol and violence, and policies to control behaviors of alcohol manufacturers or retailers.
  • Including the research community in decisions about assessment of priorities and choice of criteria that guide systems design and topic selection may be important. In addition, big research questions may be driven by popular kinds of questions that legislators like to ask, such as, do drunk-driving laws or increasing the drinking age save lives?
  • Advisors suggested behavioral and social science theories guide the process from the raw data level to development of the constructs and variables to be applied to answer economic or sociological questions. Theories include deterrence theory and availability theory.
  • Policies abound but are not necessarily linked to evidence of effectiveness. Ratings of the extent to which policies were supported by evidence can be helpful in assessing policies' public health impact and in guiding the design and content of systems.
  • The timing of updates for the various policy topics currently is inconsistent. CDM will propose strategies to NIAAA to promote timeliness in updating data, particularly in blood alcohol content and the ALR statute, and including certain nonalcoholic policies, conspicuous in their absence from APIS, such as graduated license and primary seat belt.
  • Laws regarding driving, guns, tobacco, and information on alcohol-related violence, assaults, and homicides are important to incorporate into APIS. The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation has a project on drunk-driving statues across states. NHTSA publishes Digests on occupant protection issues, including primary belt and motorcycle helmet laws, and on speed and aggressive driving, but the NHTSA Digests do not provide monthly data points or enactment dates. (Some of that information may nonetheless be in NHTSA files.)
  • High levels of reliability and validity are important.
  • The availability in APIS of long-term longitudinal data on established topics is preferable to inaugurating new "hot" topics. Data spanning only 2 to 3 years have little value to science.
  • Case law, based on specific sets of facts, is difficult to interpret broadly. Challenges to incorporating data on case law include lawyers' reluctance to rely on rulings by courts of original jurisdiction; they wait for appellate court rulings. One issue is how much to weight, and how to code, levels of courts. Although Supreme Court rulings are definitive, appellate courts have significant impacts.
  • It may be possible to deal selectively with analysis of case law, but across the board, it represents great expense for little gain.

Tasks and Structure of Panel Discussions

Dr. Mike Hilton noted the high cost of APIS and its modest research payoff to date. Three grants have been awarded; three applications are undergoing revision; six peer-reviewed publications have appeared; and three manuscripts are under review. Advisors reported several additional projects. NIAAA's contract with CDM extends through September 2007, when the contract will be re-competed.

Panel Discussion of Dr. Hilton's Presentation

  • A cross cutting theme across all three of the initial discussions was that attention is needed to defining the audiences of APIS users and to shaping the project to reflect the needs of these groups.
  • Advisors were asked how the APIS project should be shaped to maximize its potential as a research tool and how to stimulate better use. They suggested:
        i.  Secure access to commercial resources for data.
        ii.  Link APIS with compilers of similar data in Northern Europe to facilitate cross-national comparisons
        iii. Encourage secondary audiences with overlapping interests and possible funding resources to share the funding burden.

II. Discussion of Focal Questions

The bulk of the day was spent discussing a series of Focal Questions which had been circulated to the participants in advance. These were designed to elicit the panel's advice on the key decisions shaping the evolution of the project. While the first sixteen of these Focal Questions were circulated in advance, participants were invited to nominate additional items for discussion, which resulted in the addition of five more questions (Questions 17 through 21).

Question 1. What criteria should be used to determine which policies are covered by APIS?

a. The original criteria were appropriate (see Bloss presentation on pages 1-3). Public health significance represents the driving consideration for APIS.
b. Content should reflect relevance to public health and prevention theory; an understanding of underlying mechanisms would facilitate development of better policies.
c. Developing theory in public health a priori is difficult, but it would be advantageous to operationalize decision rules.
d. Tracking bills to identify emerging issues and potential for policy making may be useful.
e. New alcohol policy data collection opportunities may reside in the newly developed National Violent Death Registry. Seventeen states are piloting a system to test homicides and suicides consistently for alcohol.

Question 2. What should be the balance between adding new topics and updating existing ones?

a. It is beneficial to develop and maintain long data series.
b. However, some new topics should be added.
c. General enthusiasm was expressed for a more cost-effective updating process.
d. Indexing of policies (with appropriate caveats surrounding the construction of those indices) should be pursued, but it is likely to be costly to do indexing well. An alternative approach would be to inform APIS users that an index has been developed by others.

Question 3. Which topics currently in APIS are most important to researchers?

The following topics are important to researchers:

a. Manufacturing, distribution, and alcohol beverage control systems.
b. Regulation of retail sales policy (for which APIS currently has limited content).
c. Policies on underage drinking .
d. Taxation and pricing.
e. Expanded coverage of health services issues, insurance policies, and policies governing treatment system and allocation of funding.
f. Topics of potential public health significance.
g. Uniform Policy Provision Laws (UPPL)

Question 4. Which new policy topics should be considered for inclusion in APIS?

a. Policies related to the alcohol manufacturing and distribution system.
b. State advertising regulations.
c. Bans on happy hours and on advertising happy hours.
d. Policies related to treatment, including screening and insurance.
e. State policies for allocating treatment funds.
f. Drinking-and-driving statutes. (Working with NHTSA and other transportation organizations may help to engage researchers in those areas to use APIS.)
g. The close relationship between traffic and alcohol laws warrant inclusion in APIS of topics related to underage drinking, such as safety belt laws and provisional licenses.
h. Some advisors advocated avoiding the integration of tobacco, drug, or firearm laws into APIS, but rather establishing reciprocal links with organizations that focus on those and other related issues.
i. Other comments:

i.  Constructing an index with many policy components should improve utility of the data. This activity can be done through grant mechanisms and by the scientific community, if all data elements are provided by APIS. However, prepackaged indices would  avoid duplication of effort, create standardization, and be helpful to the research field.
ii. The needs of both epidemiologists and other types of public health researchers must be considered.
iii. Understanding of certain topics, such as dram shop liability or sobriety checkpoints, requires case law.
iv. Identify proposed state laws regarding alcohol control to allow researchers to track and analyze the policy-making process, including monitoring industry's influence on the process and tracking progress of social movements. Although tracking all proposed legislation might overwhelm the system, identifying specific topics for tracking, such as exemptions related to underage drinking, appears worthwhile.

Question 5. Which topics should be updated less frequently or no longer updated?

a. Advancement of research in any area depends on the availability of long data series.
b. APIS should be conservative and not overly eager to drop (or add) topics.
c. Eliminating data entirely is not advisable as there is little cost to keeping data already collected and posted on the website.
d. Specific topics discussed for discontinuation or less frequent updating:

     i.  Motor vehicle insurance, which has changed very little over time.
     ii. Biennial updating of alcohol and pregnancy data, which are not linked to a set of state-level outcome data nationwide that might produce a good research study, would conserve resources.

e.The APIS website can provide links to external organizations that track enactment of new and proposed alcohol-related legislation (e.g., MADD, NTSB), with the disclaimer that only APIS data has been verified by trained legal staff.
f. Combinations of evidence-based policies probably will have the most impact; so documenting all can be useful.

Question 6. In developing a new policy topic, what considerations should govern how much detail to incorporate?

a. Decisions should be made by persons with expertise in the policy area who can identify key elements and help to determine appropriate level of detail.
b. Levels of detail can be described in explanatory notes on APIS.
c. The value of text excerpts is limited; a Web-based approach that presents citations and offers text on request is appropriate and more cost-effective. It should be possible for researchers to request information that permits them to examine modifications to legislation over time.
d. Limited information in tax areas makes APIS less useful.
e. Avoid costs of publishing text excerpts on the Internet.

Question 7. How much would less frequent updating be a problem for researchers?

a. For APIS's primary researcher audience, it would not be a problem if outcome databases lagged a couple of years; an(economically sound) biennial retrospective update of monthly data could meet 80 percent of needs.
b. For audiences other than researchers (including, for example, policy advocates and legislative staff), biennial updating does not permit knowledge of the current state of the law. However, operational decisions regarding APIS ought to reflect the requirements of the primary target audience, researchers.
c. For audiences other than researchers (including, for example, the advocacy and legislative fields), biennial updating does not permit knowledge of the current state of the law.
d. Given the above, operational decisions regarding APIS ought to reflect the requirements of the primary target audience, researchers.

Question 8. Should APIS include case law?

e. APIS should include case law on an as-requested basis in limited domains where case law is critical. Examples might include traffic safety, sobriety checkpoints, dram shop liability.
f. The expense of including case law on a widespread basis online would be disproportionate to its value.
g. Advisors agreed that it is inappropriate for APIS to offer a thorough analysis of case law.
h. APIS can post advisories that certain topics (for example, furnishing alcohol to minors) are associated with rich case law.
i. Researchers can examine relevant case law as needed on their own.

Question 9. Should we extend APIS to include coverage prior to 1998?

a. While advisors agreed that longer data series would be desirable, it was recognized that historic research prior to 1998 on most policies would be too labor intensive and costly.
b. It is feasible to track traffic laws back to 1988, possibly back to 1982.
c. When new topics are added, retrospective data should be included back at least to 1998 to facilitate studies that examine multiple policies. Practically speaking, however, some data is not available in electronic format before 2003.

Question 10. What is the legal and policy validity of the information in APIS?

a. APIS quality is fine. It is much more sophisticated than prior systems. Collecting this data is difficult, unattractive work. Good quote: "You are lucky to have the legal talent you have obtained to do this work."
b. The methodology used to achieve validity is sound, and the legal experts engaged in the work are talented.
c. Advisors concurred that APIS offers better data than systems that preceded it or than similar legal data systems currently available.
d. In order to demonstrate APIS's sophistication, the contractor might compare legal policy studies done prior to the availability of APIS, examining whether the information on which they relied had inadequate data-which would impact the literature demonstrating effectiveness of a policy.
e. NIAAA might consider issuing an RFA or PA that encourages assessment of the validity of various available tools.

Question 11. Is APIS adequately used by the research community?

a. Advisors concurred that APIS is not adequately used, but that slow ramp-up may be the nature of the beast.
b. One should compare the results of APIS usage with the number of studies undertaken and articles published in the 3-year period after FARS data became available (or longer time spans) to assess expected usage and to project future APIS usage rates.
c. Inadequate numbers of researchers are aware of APIS.
d. Improved coverage of tax policy might stimulate increased usage.

Question 12. What efforts should be made to stimulate greater use of APIS by researchers?

a. Publicize APIS as a source of alcohol policy data to a broader range of researchers and others. This would include publication in newsletters and general news media outlets as well as notices posted through the American Public Health Association and the CDC Injury Prevention Centers.
b. Establish reciprocal linkages with other data sets on the APIS home page.
c. Focus NIAAA PAs and RFAs on APIS use.
d. Continue to sponsor sessions at RSA built on policy research using APIS.
e. Host a technical assistance workshop on proposal writing.
f.  Present APIS to professional groups, such as political scientists, sociologists, economists, researchers in traffic safety and alcohol, suicidologists, and addiction researchers (in Addiction Journal), possibly with emphasis on relevant PAs and RFAs. Continue to present APIS at conferences and outreach to new organizations, e.g. Life Savers conference, RSA conference, Transportation Research Board, International Council on Alcohol Drugs and Traffic Safety, and Society for Prevention Research.
g. Coordinate multiple outreach activities simultaneously.
h. Identify research topics critical to a better understanding of alcohol policy that have high payoff and high priority, e.g. policies influence alcohol related violent death as recorded in the National Violent Death Registry.
i. Collaborate with other Institutes to integrate findings.
j.  Generate and publish research notes or short articles to spark ideas among researchers on ways to use APIS.
k. Write and publish a summary paper on APIS describing the system and its potential research use.

Question 13. How can APIS better track the use that is made of the system?

a. APIS does not have adequate capability to monitor the reasons that users log on to the system.
b. Advisors recommended soliciting feedback on home page.
c. Monitoring click counts for links to related websites might offer some clues to usage.
d. Imperfect search engines bring individuals to APIS who seek information outside its purview, but the trend is diminishing.
e. Registration could offer the added value of building data sets online and saving searches.
f. Improve solicitation of e-mails for updates to the APIS website as an inducement for registration.
g. Examine how other government agencies track usage of their databases (for example, CDC [Smoking Attributable Mortality, Morbidity, and Economic Costs] and the National Cancer Institute [State Cancer Legislative Database].)

Question 14. What outcome databases would be appropriate to use with APIS? Can any of these be improved to add value to APIS?

a. Databases appropriate for links include the ADS project, FARS, Monitoring the Future Surveys, National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health, CDC Youth Risk Behavior State Surveys, CDC Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, National Violent Death Registry, and possibly, Annie E. Casey Kids Count. Functionality should be built into APIS to make the links.
b. Lack of geo codes in public-use versions of some data sets represents a barrier to linkage. Examples include Monitoring the Future, Household Survey, and the Health Interview Survey. Decisions must be made in advance on the cost-effectiveness of merging APIS with a specific data system. Such links would be expected to encourage greater use of both APIS and the other databases.
c. Case-by-case technical assistance should be offered by the Alcohol Epidemiologic Data System (AEDS) contractor to help people make their desired linkages to and from APIS.
d. The most useful data are long-term monthly data on a state-by-state basis. Examples of such data are crash, hospital discharge, alcoholic beverage consumption data, and repeated cross-sectional data. NESARC data are the most difficult to use because of limited number of waves and because NESARC data are not designed with a probability sample for each state.
e. Information should be provided on the APIS website about relevant policy databases.
f.  A database of outcome indicators might spark research ideas.
g. Promoting APIS usage might be achieved by promoting the addition to surveys of more detailed questions and better measures of alcohol usage, behaviors, and consequences, including second-hand effects such as assaults and date rapes. Advisors were asked to offer explicit advice on desired measures and questions that do not appear in public-use data sets. An example is where do people buy their alcohol?-which would point out the degree to which direct sales are an issue.

Question 15. How much effort should be devoted to improving the Web-based interface through which APIS information is delivered?

a. Advisors differed on the degree of user-friendliness of the Web-based interface.
b. A formal usability assessment could be valuable.

Question 16. Should APIS revive its earlier coverage of "Enacted Bills and Adopted Regulations"?

a. Enacted bills remain lower in research priority than comparison data, and coverage may be too expensive for the value added.
b. "Enacted bills" may not constitute the best terminology; "enacted legislation" or "enacted statutes" were suggested.
c. Broader definitions of polices beyond legal statutes and regulatory policy, such as amount of enforcement and decisions on allocation of funds, might be useful.
d. If coverage is revived, APIS should capture underage drinking more broadly.

Question 17. Can researchers do legal research themselves? What are the costs and benefits of APIS versus individual researchers doing legal work?

a. Legal training is necessary to do legal research properly. Good quote: "Having persons who lack legal training do this would be like performing dental surgery on oneself."
b. Legal research is expensive and time consuming, and, in the absence of APIS, duplicates effort and wastes resources.
c. A system of peer review, perhaps commissioned papers on particular topics of interest, might address questions about reliability of legal interpretation. NIAAA's responsibility includes providing periodic reviews using high-quality standards and appropriate descriptions.
d. Government should engage in creating good data for others to use.

Question 18. How can APIS be more cost-effective in accomplishing its objectives?
Can other organizations be enlisted in the data-gathering process?

a. Link and integrate APIS with other government policy-tracking activities (see Question 13). Additional tracking activities are underway on physical activity, food/environment policies, drugs and driving law, state tobacco-policy, and nutrition and physical activity. NIH's databases include the National Library of Medicine's emerging public health website.
b. A variety of databases maintained by public agencies and private firms appear to obtain the same information from the same sources; integration can lead to economies of scale.

Question 19. Does APIS add value over such commercial sources as LexisNexis and WestLaw?

a. LexisNexis and Westlaw provide access to statutes, but a researcher must do a search to find answers. APIS adds value.
b. Good quote: "If I need a new house for my family, I don't just go to Home Depot because it has all the parts."

Question 20. Should APIS link with international policy information systems?

a. Communication to create linkages or stimulate parallel complementary efforts would enable acquisition of a broader cross-section of alcohol policies.
b. Examples of organizations with which to link policy systems include Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, European Union, NGOs, WHO, and PAHO.

Question 21. Should APIS attract other audiences beyond researchers in data and resource sharing?

a. Secondary audiences:

i. May be considered in promotion or marketing of APIS.
ii. May offer sources of support and resources for APIS.

b. Outreach to SAMHSA and NIDA suggested:

i. NIAAA should extend an invitation to SAMHSA to join the APIS advisory panel.
ii. SAMHSA may be especially interested in the UPPL alcohol/insurance exception provisions and the potential for treatment laws or regulations.
iii. NIDA may be interested in APIS relative to its coverage of drugs and driving law. NIDA and NHTSA have expressed interest, but few states collect drug data on fatally injured drivers.
iv. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has published a paper documenting 40 aspects of state treatment policies and processes.

c. NHTSA and the Walsh Group are looking at drug per se and other drug laws.

 

Appendix:
Expert Panel for the
Alcohol Policy Information System

Invited Experts

Heidi Coleman, J.D.
Chief, Impaired Driving Division
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Stephen Teret, J.D., MPH
Director, Center for Law and the Public's Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Alex Wagenaar, Ph.D.
College of Medicine
University of Florida

Frank Chaloupka, Ph.D.
Department of Economics
University of Illinois at Chicago

Thomas Babor, Ph.D.
Department of Community Medicine
University of Connecticut Health Center

David Hemenway, Ph.D.
Harvard School of Public Health
Health Policy and Management

NIAAA Staff

Ralph Hingson, Sc.D.
Director, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The Honorable Linda Chezem, J.D.
Office of the Director
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Howard Moss, M.D.
Associate Director
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Mike Hilton, Ph.D.
Division on Epidemiology and Prevention Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Greg Bloss, M.A.
Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

CDM Incorporated Staff

Rose Urban, M.S.W., J.D., LCSW, CCAS, CSAC
The CDM Group, Incorporated

Michael Klitzner, Ph.D.
Klitzner & Associates
The CDM Group, Incorporated

Charles R. Tremper, J.D., Ph.D.
CDM Group, Incorporated

James Mosher, J.D.
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
and CDM Group, Incorporated

 



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