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The first European trial of an emergency department brief alcohol intervention being implemented nationally in the USA found no significant impacts either short term or a year later, but in Britain and elsewhere, different types of interventions have worked.
This US study found that different types of heavy-drinking college students responded best to different types of brief intervention to promote moderation; a novel finding was that the thinkers among them were most affected by being led to reflect on how their drinking compared to that of the average student.
Dutch general practice patients at risk of cardiovascular disease did not further reduce their risks (including drinking and smoking) in response to motivational counselling from the practice nurse. Why did a well worked out, multi-session intervention fail to better usual care? The probable answer is among the common factors which transcend therapies.
Can repeat drink-driving offenders be swayed by just 30 minutes with a therapist, and would those minutes best be spent in motivational interviewing or providing information on alcohol? This Canadian study hints that 'Yes' is the answer to both questions – but only hints.
STUDY 2012 HTM file
Alcohol screening and brief intervention in primary health care
The primary health arm of the largest alcohol screening and brief intervention study yet conducted in Britain found that the proportion of risky drinkers fell just as much after the most minimal of screening and intervention methods as after more sophisticated and longer (but still brief) alternatives.
Even dependent drinkers among Taiwanese hospital patients substantially cut back their drinking after being identified and offered brief advice, findings from a study which provides one of the most convincing demonstrations yet that brief intervention can work in this setting.
Aged 16 and smoking cannabis or drinking coming up to one day in three, US youngsters identified as substance users by their schools substantially cut back in response to just two motivational counselling sessions, and even more when a third session addressed the parents at home.
STUDY 2010 HTM file
A brief alcohol intervention for hazardously drinking incarcerated women
Could just two motivational interviewing sessions moderate the drinking of very heavy drinking US women prisoners? The surprise was not that there were few benefits, but that there were some, especially after the reinforcing session usually conducted after the prisoners' release.
STUDY 2012 HTM file
Alcohol screening and brief intervention in probation
The probation arm of the largest alcohol screening and brief intervention study yet conducted in Britain found that the proportion of offenders drinking at risky levels fell just as much after the most minimal of screening and intervention methods as after more sophisticated and longer (but still brief) alternatives.
‘Do just the minimum’ seems the message of the emergency department arm of the largest alcohol screening and brief intervention study yet conducted in Britain; the proportion of risky drinkers fell no less after a brief warning than after more sophisticated and longer interventions.
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