A new review on the efficacy of brief interventions have found they are effective in reducing alcohol use of people by about one alcohol consumption day per month.
Even small reductions in alcohol use accumulate over-time and have a positive effect on population health.

Brief interventions for alcohol use are short conversations lasting under an hour doctors can have with patients who have at-risk alcohol use. These interventions aim to motivate reductions in a patient’s high-risk alcohol use.  Brief interventions involve screening patients to identify heavy use, followed by a discussion targeted to the identified level of alcohol use problems before a referral for treatment or other substance-related services.

This study reviewed and analyzed data from 116 trials and 64,439 total participants to find out about the efficacy of brief interventions for alcohol and other drug use problems delivered in various types of medical settings.  

The review found that brief interventions delivered by general healthcare practitioners reduce alcohol use of patients by about one alcohol use day per month.

While the reduction may appear to be small, the authors say that small individual reductions in alcohol use can add up to a larger reduction at the population level.

A reduction of one [alcohol use] day per month may not sound like much, but small individual reductions can add up to a substantial reduction in population level harms,” said Emily Tanner-Smith, lead author and associate professor at the University of Oregon, as per Fox News.

Emily Tanner-Smith, lead author and associate professor, University of Oregon

Brief interventions worked best in general medical settings, like a primary care clinic. 

Findings were unclear whether brief interventions would work in emergency department and trauma centers. General medical settings are ideal to screen for alcohol and other drug use problems among people who are not seeking treatment for those issues since there is a wide range of patients of different ages.

Given their brevity, low cost, and minimal clinician effort, brief interventions may be a promising way to reduce alcohol use, one patient at a time,” said Ms Tanner-Smith, as per Fox News.

Emily Tanner-Smith, lead author and associate professor, University of Oregon

Movendi International has previously reported about scientific findings regarding the efficacy of brief interventions.

In a recent scientific perspective article, Dr. Chris Holmwood, Director of Clinical Partnerships at Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia, pointed out that brief interventions and tools for screening such as the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) are important for the clinician and the patient to understand and address alcohol problems of a patient. However, there is a lack of evidence that such interventions can reduce population level alcohol use.

Therefore, he suggested a more holistic approach addressing three key areas:

  1. On the clinical level, more emphasis on education and training for medical practitioners to enable clinicians to better respond to people who have alcohol use problems;
  2. On the health care structural level, changing remuneration arrangements to better support primary care treatment for people with alcohol-related problems; and
  3. On a policy level, increased advocacy for changes to policies that reduce [alcohol use] and related harms on a population level, with particular emphasis on high risk populations.

Source Website: Fox News