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When a patient has screened positive for risky drinking, up pops a computerised prompt to remind the clinician to consider counselling, yet at a service for US ex-military personnel the reminder was rarely used and made no difference to patients' drinking. Why were results so different from those at other clinics?
Can you get away with asking just a single question to identify risky drinkers and even dependent drinkers? When the thresholds are suitably adjusted, asking either about frequency of heavy drinking or maximum single-occasion consumption worked remarkably well in the US general population.
In three years from 2008 Scottish national policy drove delivery of nearly 175,000 brief alcohol interventions, testament to what can be done when policy is backed by funding and infrastructure and incentive payments contingent on implementation. Leverage and acceptance were greatest in primary care, where the vast majority of the work took place.
DOCUMENT 2012 HTM file
Cost-of-alcohol studies as a research programme
Prominent alcohol expert argues that estimates that drinking imposes billions of pounds of costs on society are so value-laden and imprecise that their main value is as propaganda. Policies like increasing the price of drink may be justified on other grounds, but not by a misleadingly appealing total cost or cost reduction figure.
STUDY 2011 HTM file
South East Alcohol Innovation Programme: evaluation report
In the south east of England a bidding exercise spawned a spate of short-term innovative projects to reduce alcohol-related harm, from which five models were assessed as most promising and taken forward for further implementation and assessment the following year – a rapid and intensive test bed from which others can learn as well.
STUDY 2011 HTM file
Achieving positive change in the drinking culture of Wales
This research report usefully reflects evidence from reviews and recent and seminal studies, offering guidance not just on each intervention type, but on what the most effective mix might be in Wales and by extension in the UK as a whole if the aim is to affect drink-related harm at the level of the whole population.
Though drinking problems were widespread, Scottish probation and community service staff were unconvinced of the appropriateness of screening their offender clients for risky drinking and (if indicated) offering brief advice. Not a priority, was the common feeling.
STUDY 2012 HTM file
Screening for alcohol use in criminal justice settings: an exploratory study
At English prisons, police stations and probation offices, offenders and arrestees in this study usually scored as at least hazardous drinkers and over half as problematic on a drink problem survey; nearly all would have been identified by a much briefer screening method usually requiring just a single question.
Risky drinking was widespread among the disorder and assault suspects screened for alcohol problems and (as indicated) offered brief advice by civilian staff at a police station in north east England, but they constituted just a quarter of the arrestees intended to have been screened.
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.
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