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REVIEW 2018 HTM file
Effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions in primary care populations
Update of a key document forming the basis of claims that brief interventions work in ‘real-world’ settings. Combined findings from randomised trials confirm that brief advice in primary care can reduce drinking, but will those reductions be realised in contemporary routine practice?
‘Inconclusive’ was the verdict of a review which aimed to assess the effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions among patients aged 11 to 21 attending for emergency care in the USA. Most promising targets seem to have been the more heavy or irresponsibly drinking among patients who were young adults rather than adolescents.
US trauma centres dealing with serious and often alcohol-related injuries ought to offer an environment conducive to brief alcohol interventions, but this first multi-site trial found motivational counselling more effective than minimal advice only when combined with a follow-up ‘booster’ phone call.
Analysis of the only four randomised trials of brief alcohol interventions among 18–24-years-olds seen at emergency departments after getting drunk tentatively suggested that booster sessions or later advice are needed to reduce drinking.
Based on research findings, a practical US government guide for trauma centres dealing with serious injuries on how to plan, implement and monitor a programme to identify risky drinking among their patients and to offer appropriate advice and referral.
REVIEW 2015 HTM file
A comparison of the efficacy of brief interventions to reduce hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption between European and non-European countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Amalgamation of results from relevant studies finds that in high-income nations brief alcohol advice to emergency or primary care patients remains effective whether trials take place in European or non-European drinking cultures and health service contexts. Impacts were however small and may not be duplicated in routine practice.
‘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.
STUDY 2012 HTM file
Alcohol screening and brief intervention in emergency departments
The emergency department 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.
Screening for risky drinking and offering brief advice slightly reduces later emergency department visits was the main finding of this review, suggesting these programmes can help ease pressure on overloaded departments. Adding to their attraction, some of the evidence comes from studies in the services set to benefit.
STUDY 1970 HTM file
Frontiers of alcoholism
Later to become founding director of the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in the late 1950s Dr Morris Chafetz of the Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a remarkable series of studies which proved that an alcohol clinic's intake and performance can be transformed by the simple application of empathy and organisation.
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