The study objective was to assess the feasibility of a computerized alcohol-screening interview (CASI) program to identify at-risk alcohol users among adult emergency department (ED) patients. The study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a computerized screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) program within a busy urban ED setting, to report on accurate deployment of alcohol screening results, and to assess comprehension and satisfaction with CASI from both patient and research staff perspectives.
Research assistants (RAs) screened a convenience sample of medically stable ED patients. The RAs brought CASI to patients’ bedsides, and patients entered their own alcohol consumption data. The CASI intervention consisted of an alcohol use screening identification test, a personalized normative feedback profile, NIAAA low-risk drinking educational materials, and treatment referrals (when indicated).
Five hundred seventeen patients were enrolled. The median age of participants was 37 years (range, 21-85 years); 37% were men, 62% were Hispanic, 7% were Caucasian, 30% were African American, and 2% were multiracial. Eighty percent reported regular use of computers at home. Eighty percent of patients approached consented to participate, and 99% of those who started CASI were able to complete it. Two percent of interviews were interrupted for medical tests and procedures, however, no patients required breaks from using CASI for not feeling well. The CASI program accurately provided alcohol risk education to patients 100% of the time. Thirty-two percent of patients in the sample screened positive for at-risk drinking. Sixty percent of patients reported that CASI increased their knowledge of safe drinking limits, 39% reported some likeliness to change their alcohol use, and 28% reported some intention to consult a health care professional about their alcohol use as a result of their screening results. Ninety-three percent reported CASI was easy to use, 93% felt comfortable receiving alcohol education via computer, and 89% liked using CASI. Ninety percent of patients correctly identified their alcohol risk level after participating in CASI. With regard to research staff experience, RAs needed to provide standby assistance to patients during <1% of CASI administrations and needed to troubleshoot computer issues in 4% of interviews. The RAs distributed the correct alcohol risk normative profiles to patients 97% of the time and provided patients with treatment referrals when indicated 81% of the time. The RAs rated patients as “not bothered at all” by using CASI 94% of the time.
This study demonstrates that an ED-based computerized alcohol screening program is both acceptable to patients and effective in educating patients about their alcohol risk level. Additionally, this study demonstrates that few logistical problems related to using computers for these interventions were experienced by research staff: in most cases, staff accurately deployed alcohol risk education to patients, and in all cases, the computer provided accurate education to patients. Computer-assisted SBIRT may represent a significant time-saving measure, allowing EDs to reach larger numbers of patients for alcohol intervention without causing undue clinical burden or interruptions to clinical care. Future studies with follow-up are needed to replicate these results and assess drinking reductions post-intervention.
Computerized alcohol screening; Brief intervention; Emergency department; SBIRT
Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) is an effective approach for managing alcohol and other drug misuse in primary care; however, uptake into routine care has been limited. Uptake of SBIRT by healthcare providers may be particularly problematic for disadvantaged populations exhibiting alcohol and other drug problems, and requires creative approaches to enhance patient engagement. This knowledge translation project developed and evaluated a group of patient and health care provider resources designed to enhance the capacity of health care providers to use SBIRT and improve patient engagement with health care.
A nonrandomized, two-group, pre-post, quasi-experimental intervention design was used, with baseline, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups. Low income patients using alcohol and other drugs and who sought care in family medicine and emergency medicine settings in Edmonton, Canada, along with physicians providing care in these settings, were recruited. Patients and physicians were allocated to the intervention or control condition by geographic location of care. Intervention patients received a health care navigation booklet developed by inner city community members and also had access to an experienced community member for consultation on health service navigation. Intervention physicians had access to online educational modules, accompanying presentations, point of care resources, addiction medicine champions, and orientations to the inner city. Resource development was informed by a literature review, needs assessment, and iterative consultation with an advisory board and other content experts. Participants completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires (6 months for patients, 6 and 12 months for physicians) and administrative health service data were also retrieved for consenting patients. Control participants were provided access to all resources after follow-up data collection was completed. The primary outcome measure was patient satisfaction with care; secondary outcome measures included alcohol and drug use, health care and addiction treatment use, uptake of SBIRT strategies, and physician attitudes about addiction.
Effective knowledge translation requires careful consideration of the intended knowledge recipient’s context and needs. Knowledge translation in disadvantaged settings may be optimized by using a community-based participatory approach to resource development that takes into account relevant patient engagement issues.
Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre #30094
Addiction; Screening; Brief intervention; Family medicine; Emergency medicine; Underserved patients; Patient engagement
Introduction: Visits to settings such as emergency departments (EDs) may present a “teachable moment” in that a patient may be more open to feedback and suggestions regarding their risky alcohol and illicit drug-use behaviors. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an 'opportunistic' public health approach that targets low-risk users, in addition to those already dependent on alcohol and/or drugs. SBIRT programs provide patients with comprehensive screening and assessments, and deliver interventions of appropriate intensity to reduce risks related to alcohol and drug use.
Methods: This study used a single group pre-post test design to assess the effect of the California SBIRT service program (i.e., CASBIRT) on 6 substance-use outcomes (past-month prevalence and number of days of binge drinking, illegal drug use, and marijuana use). Trained bilingual/bicultural Health Educators attempted to screen all adult patients in 12 EDs/trauma centers (regardless of the reason for the patient's visit) using a short instrument, and then delivered a brief motivational intervention matched to the patient's risk level. A total of 2,436 randomly selected patients who screened positive for alcohol and/or drug use consented to be in a 6-month telephone follow-up interview. Because of the high loss to follow-up rate, we used an intention-to-treat approach for the data analysis.
Results: Results of generalized linear mixed models showed modest reductions in all 6 drug-and alcohol-use outcomes. Men (versus women), those at relatively higher risk status (versus lower risk), and those with only one substance of misuse (versus both alcohol and illicit drug misuse) tended to show more positive change.
Conclusion: These results suggest that SBIRT services provided in acute care settings are associated with modest changes in self-reported recent alcohol and illicit drug use.
Recent years have seen increased diffusion of the Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment Initiative (SBIRT) in healthcare environments. This study examined the relationship between substance use outcomes and service variables within the SBIRT model.
Over 55,000 adult patients were screened for substance misuse at rural health clinics throughout New Mexico during the SBIRT Initiative. This naturalistic pre-post services study used administrative baseline, 6 month follow-up, and services data for adult participants in the New Mexico SBIRT evaluation (n=1,208). Changes in self-reported frequency of illicit drug use, alcohol use, and alcohol intoxication were examined as a function of service level (brief intervention– BI versus brief treatment/referral– BT/RT) and number of service sessions.
Participants reported decreased frequency of illicit drug use, alcohol use, and alcohol intoxication 6 months after receipt of SBIRT services (p<.001 for each). Compared to those who received BI, participants who received BT/RT had sharper reductions in frequency of drinking (IRR=.78; p<.05) and alcohol intoxication (IRR=.75; p<.05). Number of service sessions was associated with reduced frequency of alcohol use (IRR=.84; p<.01) and intoxication (IRR=.82; p<.05), but only among those who received BI.
Substance-using patients with disparate levels of use may benefit from SBIRT. In a real-world, multi-site rural SBIRT program, services of higher intensity and (within the BI modality) frequency were associated with greater magnitude of change in drinking behaviors. Reductions in illicit drug use, while substantial, did not differ significantly based on service variables. Future studies should identify the preferred service mix in the SBIRT model as it continues to expand.
Screening; Brief Intervention; Brief Treatment; SBIRT; Services; Rural Healthcare
Although brief intervention (BI) for alcohol and other drug problems has been associated with subsequent decreased levels of self-reported substance use, there is little information in the extant literature as to whether individuals with co-occurring hazardous substance use and mental illness would benefit from BI to the same extent as those without mental illness. This is an important question, as mental illness is estimated to co-occur in 37% of individuals with an alcohol use disorder and in more than 50% of individuals with a drug use disorder. The goal of this study was to explore differences in self-reported alcohol and/or drug use in patients with and without mental illness diagnoses six months after receiving BI in a hospital emergency department (ED).
This study took advantage of a naturalistic situation where a screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) program had been implemented in nine large EDs in the US state of Washington as part of a national SBIRT initiative. A subset of patients who received BI was interviewed six months later about current alcohol and drug use. Linear regression was used to assess whether change in substance use measures differed among patients with a mental illness diagnosis compared with those without. Data were analyzed for both a statewide (n = 828) and single-hospital (n = 536) sample.
No significant differences were found between mentally ill and non-mentally ill subgroups in either sample with regard to self-reported hazardous substance use at six-month follow-up.
These results suggest that BI may not have a differing impact based on the presence of a mental illness diagnosis. Given the high prevalence of mental illness among individuals with alcohol and other drug problems, this finding may have important public health implications.
Brief intervention; Comorbid substance use and mental illness; Mental illness; Alcohol use; Binge drinking; Illicit drug use
Alcohol screening and brief interventions in medical settings can significantly reduce alcohol use. Corresponding data for illicit drug use is sparse. A Federally funded Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) service program, the largest of its kind to date, was initiated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in a wide variety of medical settings. We compared illicit drug use at intake and six months after drug screening and interventions were administered.
SBIRT services were implemented in a range of medical settings across six states. A diverse patient population (Alaska Natives, American Indians, African-Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics), was screened and offered score-based progressive levels of intervention (brief intervention, brief treatment, referral to specialty treatment). In this secondary analysis of the SBIRT service program, drug use data was compared at intake and at a six month follow-up, in a sample of a randomly selected population (10%) that screened positive at baseline.
Of 459,599 patients screened, 22.7% screened positive for a spectrum of use (risky/problematic, abuse/addiction). The majority were recommended for a brief intervention (15.9%), with a smaller percentage recommended for brief treatment (3.2%) or referral to specialty treatment (3.7%). Among those reporting baseline illicit drug use, rates of drug use at 6 month follow-up (4 of 6 sites), were 67.7% lower (p < 0.001) and heavy alcohol use was 38.6% lower (p < 0.001), with comparable findings across sites, gender, race/ethnic, age subgroups. Among persons recommended for brief treatment or referral to specialty treatment, self-reported improvements in general health (p < 0.001), mental health (p < 0.001), employment (p < 0.001), housing status (p < 0.001), and criminal behavior (p < 0.001) were found.
SBIRT was feasible to implement and the self-reported patient status at six months indicated significant improvements over baseline, for illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use, with functional domains improved, across a range of health care settings and a range of patients.
services; treatment; prescription drug abuse; preventive medicine; marijuana; cocaine; heroin; methamphetamine; CPT® codes; primary health care; trauma centers
Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) approaches to reducing hazardous alcohol and illicit drug use have been assessed in a variety of health care settings, including primary care, trauma centers, and emergency departments. A major methodological concern in these trials, however, is “assessment reactivity,” the hypothesized impact of intensive research assessments to reduce alcohol and drug use and thus mask the purported efficacy of the interventions under scrutiny. Thus, it has been recommended that prospective research designs take assessment reactivity into account. The present article describes the design of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network protocol, Screening, Motivational Assessment, Referral, and Treatment in Emergency Departments (SMART-ED), which addresses the potential bias of assessment reactivity.
The protocol employs a 3-arm design. Following an initial brief screening, individuals identified as positive cases are consented, asked to provide demographic and locator information, and randomly assigned to one of the three conditions: minimal screening only, screening + assessment, or screening + assessment + brief intervention. In a two-stage process, the randomization procedure first reveals whether or not the participant will be in the minimal-screening-only condition. Participants in the other two groups receive a more extensive baseline assessment before it is revealed whether they have been randomized to also receive a brief intervention. Comparing the screening only and screening + assessment conditions will allow determination of the incremental effect of assessment reactivity.
Assessment reactivity is a potential source of bias that may reduce and/or lead to an underestimation of the purported effectiveness of brief interventions. From a methodological perspective, it needs to be accounted for in research designs. The SMART-ED design offers an approach to minimize assessment reactivity as a potential source of bias. Elucidating the role of assessment reactivity may offer insights into the mechanisms underlying SBIRT as well as suggest clinical options incorporating assessment reactivity as a treatment adjunct.
Assessment reactivity; Brief intervention; SBIRT; Clinical trials; Research design
The aim of this study is to examine the longitudinal relationship of readiness to change, drinking pattern, amount of alcohol consumed, and alcohol-related negative consequences among at-risk and dependent drinkers enrolled in a Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) trial in an emergency department in southern Poland. The study examined 299 patients randomized to either an assessment or intervention condition and followed at 3 and 12 months after initial presentation. Patients indicating a readiness or were unsure of changing drinking behavior were significantly more likely to decrease the maximum number of drinks per occasion and the usual number of drinks in a sitting in the 3-months following study entry when compared to those that rated changing drinking behavior as unimportant. Readiness to change was not predictive of outcomes between the baseline and 12-month follow-up. Drinking outcomes and negative consequences by readiness and research condition were non-significant. This is the first Polish study utilizing SBIRT to enable patients to identify their hazardous drinking and reduce alcohol consumption. While some drinking outcomes improved with motivation, these improvements were not maintained at 12-months following SBIRT. Attention to additional constructs of readiness to change and drinking patterns may augment the effectiveness of SBIRT.
Medical settings such as emergency departments (EDs) present an opportunity to identify and provide services for individuals with substance use problems who might otherwise never receive any form of assessment, referral, or intervention. Although Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) models have been extensively studied and are considered effective for individuals with alcohol problems presenting in emergency departments and other medical settings, the efficacy of such interventions has not been established for drug users presenting in EDs.
This paper describes the design of a NIDA Clinical Trials Network protocol testing the efficacy of an SBIRT model in medical EDs, highlighting considerations that that are pertinent to the design of other studies targeting substance use behaviors in medical treatment settings.
The protocol is described, and critical design decisions are discussed.
Design challenges included defining treatment conditions, study population, and site characteristics; developing the screening process; choosing the primary outcome; balancing brevity and comprehensiveness of assessment; and selecting the strategy for statistical analysis.
Many of the issues arising in the design of this study will be relevant to future studies of interventions for addictions in medical settings.
Optimal trial design is critical to determining how best to integrate substance abuse interventions into medical care.
Rates of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for alcohol and drug use by physicians remain low, despite evidence of efficacy. Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) may be a promising means to help physicians resolve ambivalence about intervening with alcohol and drug users and take advantage of educational opportunities. In the present study, nine internal medicine residents received brief MET prior to standard education in SBIRT. Residents’ self-reported SBIRT attitudes and behaviors were measured before the intervention and at a five week follow-up point. Changes in SBIRT attitudes and behaviors all occurred in the expected direction, although, due to the small sample size, none reached statistical significance. Results suggest that MET may enhance educational opportunities and lead to changes in SBIRT behavior.
medical education; screening; brief intervention; alcohol; drug
A major barrier to actualizing the public health impact potential of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is the suboptimal development and implementation of evidence-based training curricula for healthcare providers. As part of a federal grant to develop and implement SBIRT training in medical residency programs, we assessed 95 internal medicine residents before they received SBIRT training to identify self-reported characteristics and behaviors that would inform curriculum development. Residents’ confidence in their SBIRT skills significantly predicted SBIRT practice. Lack of experience dealing with alcohol or drug problems and discomfort in dealing with these issues were significantly associated with low confidence. To target these barriers, we revised our SBIRT curriculum to increase resident confidence in their skills and developed an innovative SBIRT Proficiency Checklist and Feedback Protocol for skills practice observations. Qualitative feedback suggests that, despite the discomfort residents experience in being observed, a proficiency checklist and feedback protocol appear to boost learner confidence.
SBIRT; curriculum; observation; feedback; confidence; graduate medical education
A randomized clinical controlled trial of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for drinking and related problems among at-risk and dependent drinkers, using nurse interventionists, was undertaken in an emergency room (ER) in Sosnowiec, Poland, the first level-one trauma center in that country. This study was the first outside of the U.S. to test protocols developed in a 14-site collaborative SBIRT study. Because Poland has both a pattern of heavy drinking and a highly accessible specialized alcohol treatment system, it offered a key setting for cultural translation of SBIRT to the international context of a new and emerging health care system. It also offered the opportunity to test the effectiveness of SBIRT with both at-risk and dependent drinkers, and to test the feasibility of using ER nursing staff to provide the brief intervention, serving as a potential model for ongoing implementation of SBIRT in ER settings. Findings suggest that the U.S.-based SBIRT protocols can be successfully translated to other cultures, and that nurses can be successfully trained to provide brief intervention for problem drinking in the ER setting.
Nearly eight million emergency department (ED) visits are attributed to alcohol every year in the United States. A substantial proportion is due to trauma. In 2005, 16,885 people were killed as a result of alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. Patients with alcohol-use problems (AUPs) are not only more likely to drive after drinking but are also at greater risk for serious alcohol-related illness and injury. Emergency departments have an important and unique opportunity to identify these patients and intervene during the “teachable moment” of an ED visit. The American College of Emergency Physicians, Emergency Nurses Association, American College of Surgeons-Committee on Trauma, American Public Health Association, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, have identified Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) as a pivotal injury- and illness-prevention strategy to improve the health and well-being of ED patients. We provide a general overview of the basis and need for integrating SBIRT into EDs. Models of SBIRT, as well as benefits and challenges to its implementation, are also discussed.
A randomized controlled trial of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) among at-risk (based on average number of drinks per week, and drinks per drinking day) and dependent drinkers was conducted in an emergency department (ED) among 446 patients 18 and older in Sosnowiec, Poland. Patients were recruited over a 23-week period (4:00 pm to 12:00 midnight) and randomized to one of three conditions: screened-only (n=147), assessed (n=152), and intervention (n=147). Patients in the assessed and intervention conditions were blindly reassessed via a telephone interview at 3 months, and all three groups assessed at 12 months (screened only = 92, assessed = 99, intervention = 87). No difference was found across the three conditions in at-risk drinking at 12 months, as the primary outcome variable, or in decrease in the number of drinks per drinking day, with all three groups showing a significant reduction in both. Significant declines between baseline and 12 months in secondary outcomes of the RAPS4, number of drinking days per week and the maximum number of drinks on an occasion were seen only for the intervention condition, and in negative consequences for both the assessment and intervention conditions. Data suggest that improvements in drinking outcomes found in the assessment condition were not due to assessment reactivity, with both the screened and intervention conditions demonstrating greater (although non-significant) improvement than the assessed condition. Although group by time interaction effects were not found to be significant, findings show that declines in drinking measures for those receiving a brief intervention can be maintained at long-term follow-up.
A substantial body of research has established the effectiveness of brief interventions for problem alcohol use. Following these studies, national dissemination projects of screening, brief intervention (BI), and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for alcohol and drugs have been implemented on a widespread scale in multiple states despite little existing evidence for the impact of BI on drug use for non-treatment seekers. This article describes the design of a study testing the impact of SBIRT on individuals with drug problems, its contributions to the existing literature, and its potential to inform drug policy.
The study is a randomized controlled trial of an SBIRT intervention carried out in a primary care setting within a safety net system of care. Approximately 1,000 individuals presenting for scheduled medical care at one of seven designated primary care clinics who endorse problematic drug use when screened are randomized in a 1:1 ratio to BI versus enhanced care as usual (ECAU). Individuals in both groups are reassessed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after baseline. Self-reported drug use and other psychosocial measures collected at each data point are supplemented by urine analysis and public health-related data from administrative databases.
This study will contribute to the existing literature by providing evidence for the impact of BI on problem drug use based on a broad range of measures including self-reported drug use, urine analysis, admission to drug abuse treatment, and changes in utilization and costs of health care services, arrests, and death with the intent of informing policy and program planning for problem drug use at the local, state, and national levels.
Problem drug use; Screening; Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT); Motivational Interviewing (MI); Addiction Severity Index (ASI); Safety net; Public health benefit; Cost effectiveness
Alcohol screening and brief intervention (BI) is an effective primary care preventive service, but implementation rates are low. Automating BI using interactive voice response (IVR) may be an efficient way to expand patient access to needed information and advice.
To develop IVR-based BI and pilot test it for feasibility and acceptability.
Single-group pre-post feasibility study.
Primary care patients presenting for an office visit.
IVR-BI structured to correspond to the provider BI method recommended by NIAAA: (1) Ask about use; (2) Assess problems; (3) Advise and Assist for change, and (4) Follow up for continued support. Advice was tailored to patient readiness and preferences.
Utilization rate, call duration, and patients’ subjective reports of usefulness, comfort and honesty with the IVR-BI. Pre-post evaluation of motivation to change and change in alcohol consumption as measured by Timeline Follow Back.
Call duration ranged from 3–7 minutes. Subjective reactions were generally positive or neutral. About 40% of subjects indicated IVR-BI had motivated them to change. About half of the patients had discussed drinking with their provider at the visit. These tended to be heavier drinkers with greater concerns about drinking. Patients who reported a provider-delivered BI and called the IVR-BI endorsed greater comfort and honesty with the IVR-BI. On average, a 25% reduction in alcohol use was reported two weeks after the clinic visit.
Using IVR technology to deliver BI in a primary care setting is feasible and data suggest potential for efficacy in a larger trial.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1233-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
alcohol screening; brief intervention; primary care; IVR technology
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 supports integration of substance abuse interventions and treatments into the mainstream health care system. Thus, effective screening and intervention for substance use disorders in health care settings is a priority.
This paper reviews the prevalence of alcohol and drug use disorders (abuse or dependence) in primary care settings and emergency departments, as well as current screening tools and brief interventions.
MEDLINE was searched using the following keywords: alcohol use, alcohol use disorder, drug use, drug use disorder, screening, primary care, and emergency departments. Using the related-articles link, additional articles were screened for inclusion. This review focuses on alcohol and drug use and related disorders among adults in primary care settings.
Screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment are feasible and effective in primary care settings, provided that funding for screening is available, along with brief interventions and treatment facilities to which patients can be referred and treated promptly.
brief intervention; emergency departments
There is increasing emphasis on screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for unhealthy alcohol use in the general hospital, as highlighted by new Joint Commission recommendations on SBIRT. However, the evidence supporting this approach is not as robust relative to primary care settings. This review is targeted to hospital-based clinicians and administrators who are responsible for generally ensuring the provision of high quality care to patients presenting with a myriad of conditions, one of which is unhealthy alcohol use. The review summarizes the major issues involved in caring for patients with unhealthy alcohol use in the general hospital setting, including prevalence, detection, assessment of severity, reduction in drinking with brief intervention, common acute management scenarios for heavy drinkers, and discharge planning. The review concludes with consideration of Joint Commission recommendations on SBIRT for unhealthy alcohol use, integration of these recommendations into hospital work flows, and directions for future research.
Alcohol drinking; Alcoholism; Hospitalization; Patient discharge
Aims: This study examines whether the severity of baseline alcohol consumption/consequences moderates the effect of an alcohol brief intervention (BI) in the emergency department (ED). Methods: Injured patients (N = 494) were recruited from an ED, randomly assigned to receive brief advice or not and completed a 12-month follow-up interview. Results: A significant interaction was found between severity of baseline alcohol consumption (i.e. average weekly, binge drinking) and receipt of a BI on alcohol consumption at 12 months. The form of this interaction indicates that the BI group tended to report lower alcohol consumption at follow-up than the untreated group especially in those who had reported high baseline consumption. Severity of alcohol consequences at baseline did not significantly impact the effect of the BI on 12-month outcomes. Conclusion: ED patients with higher alcohol consumption benefit from BI. In some cases, the BI's effects may be enhanced for patients who are heavier drinkers, perhaps due to a greater opportunity to develop a discrepancy between current behavior and future goals.
To determine the effects of a brief psychological intervention (brief psychodynamic interpersonal therapy) for patients after deliberate self poisoning compared with usual treatment. To compare the impact of the active intervention and usual treatment on patients' satisfaction with care.
Randomised controlled trial.
119 adults who had deliberately poisoned themselves and presented to the emergency department of a teaching hospital.
Community based study.
Four sessions of therapy delivered in the patient's home. Control patients received “treatment as usual,” which in most cases consisted of referral back to their general practitioner.
Severity of suicidal ideation six months after treatment as assessed by the Beck scale for suicidal ideation. Secondary outcome measures at six month follow up included depressive symptoms as measured by the Beck depression inventory, patient satisfaction with treatment, and self reported subsequent attempts at self harm.
Participants randomised to the intervention had a significantly greater reduction in suicidal ideation at six month follow up compared with those in the control group (reduction in the mean (SD) Beck scale 8.0 v 1.5). They were more satisfied with their treatment and were less likely to report repeated attempts to harm themselves at follow up (proportion repeating 9% v 28% in control group; difference 19%, 95% confidence interval 9% to 30 %, P=0.009).
Brief psychodynamic interpersonal therapy may be a valuable treatment after people have deliberately tried to poison themselves.
What is already known on this topicDeliberate self poisoning is one of the commonest reasons for admission to hospital in the United Kingdom and up to 15% of patients who poison themselves eventually kill themselvesThere are no interventions of proved efficacy for these patientsMost episodes of self poisoning are precipitated by some form of interpersonal problemWhat this study addsCompared with usual treatment four sessions of psychodynamic interpersonal therapy reduced suicidal ideation and self reported attempts at self harmThe intervention also improved patients' satisfaction with care
Evaluate moderators and mediators of brief alcohol interventions conducted in the Emergency Department.
Patients (18–24 years; N = 172) in an Emergency Department received a motivational interview with personalized feedback (MI) or feedback only (FO), with 1- and 3-month booster sessions and 6- and 12-month follow ups. Gender, alcohol status/severity group (ALC+ Only, AUDIT+ Only, ALC+/AUDIT+), attribution of alcohol in the medical event, aversiveness of the event, perceived seriousness of the event, and baseline readiness to change alcohol use were evaluated as moderators of intervention efficacy. Readiness to change also was evaluated as a mediator of intervention efficacy, as were perceived risks/benefits of alcohol use, self-efficacy, and alcohol treatment seeking.
Alcohol status, attribution, and readiness moderated intervention effects such that patients who had not been drinking prior to their medical event, those who had low or medium attribution for alcohol in the event, and those who had low or medium readiness to change showed lower alcohol use 12 months after receiving MI compared to FO. In the AUDIT+ Only group those who received MI showed lower rates of alcohol-related injury at follow up than those who received FO. Patients who had been drinking prior to their precipitating event did not show different outcomes in the two interventions, regardless of AUDIT status. Gender did not moderate intervention efficacy and no significant mediation was found.
Findings may help practitioners target patients for whom brief interventions will be most effective. More research is needed to understand how brief interventions transmit their effects.
Alcohol; Brief Intervention; Emergency Room
The Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) service for unhealthy alcohol use has been shown to be one of the most cost-effective medical preventive services and has been associated with long-term reductions in alcohol use and health care utilization. Recent studies also indicate that SBIRT reduces illicit drug use. In 2008 and 2009, the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration funded 17 grantees to develop and implement medical residency training programs that teach residents how to provide SBIRT services for individuals with alcohol and drug misuse conditions. This paper presents the curricular activities associated with this initiative.
We used an online survey delivery application (Qualtrics) to e-mail a survey instrument developed by the project directors of 4 SBIRT residency programs to each residency grantee's director. The survey included both quantitative and qualitative data.
All 17 (100%) grantees responded. Respondents encompassed residency programs in emergency medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, psychiatry, surgery, and preventive medicine. Thirteen of 17 (76%) grantee programs used both online and in-person approaches to deliver the curriculum. All 17 grantees incorporated motivational interviewing and validated screening instruments in the curriculum. As of June 2011, 2867 residents had been trained, and project directors reported all residents were incorporating SBIRT into their practices. Consistently mentioned challenges in implementing an SBIRT curriculum included finding time in residents' schedules for the modules and the need for trained faculty to verify resident competence.
The SBIRT initiative has resulted in rapid development of educational programs and a cohort of residents who utilize SBIRT in practice. Skills verification, program dissemination, and sustainability after grant funding ends remain ongoing challenges.
Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for individuals at risk of developing substance use disorders (SUDs) and those who have already developed these disorders. SBIRT can be flexibly applied; therefore, it can be delivered in many clinical care settings. SBIRT has been adapted for use in hospital emergency settings, primary care centers, office- and clinic-based practices, and other community settings, providing opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users before more severe consequences occur. In addition, SBIRT interventions can include the provision of brief treatment for those with less severe SUDs and referrals to specialized substance abuse treatment programs for those with more severe SUDs. Screening large numbers of individuals presents an opportunity to engage those who are in need of treatment. However, additional research is needed to determine how best to implement SBIRT.
brief intervention; referral to treatment; SBIRT; screening; substance use disorders
To determine efficacy of emergency practitioner performed brief intervention for hazardous/harmful drinkers in reducing alcohol consumption and negative consequences in an Emergency Department (ED) setting.
A randomized clinical trial (Project ED Health) was conducted in an urban ED from 5/2002 to 11/2003 for hazardous/harmful drinkers. Patients ≥ 18 who screened above National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism guidelines for “low risk” drinking or presented with an injury in the setting of alcohol ingestion were eligible. The mean number of drinks per week and binge drinking episodes over the past 30 days were collected at 6 and 12-months; negative consequences and use of treatment services at 12-months. A Brief Negotiation Interview (BNI) performed by emergency practitioners was compared to scripted discharge instructions (DI).
A total of 494 hazardous/harmful drinkers were studied. The two groups were similar with respect to baseline characteristics. In the BNI group the mean number of drinks per week at 12 months was 3.8 less than the 13.6 reported at baseline. The DI group decreased 2.6 from 12.4 at baseline. Likewise, binge drinking episodes per month decreased by 2.0 from a baseline of 6.0 in the BNI group and 1.5 from 5.4 in the DI group. For each outcome the time effect was significant and the treatment effect was not. Conclusion: Among ED patients with hazardous/harmful drinking, we did not detect a difference in efficacy between emergency practitioner-performed BNI and DI. Further studies to test the efficacy of brief intervention in the ED are needed.
Heavy episodic (binge) drinking is common among young adults and can lead to injury and illness. Young adults who seek care in the Emergency Department (ED) may be disproportionately affected with binge drinking behavior, therefore provide an opportunity to reduce future risk through screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT). Mobile phone text messaging (SMS) is a common form of communication among young adults and has been shown to be effective at providing behavioral support to young adult drinkers after ED discharge. Efficacy of SMS programs to reduce binge drinking remains unknown.
We will conduct a three parallel arm, randomized trial. A convenience sample of adults aged 18 to 25 years attending three EDs in Pittsburgh, PA and willing to participate in the study will be screened for hazardous alcohol consumption. Participants identified as hazardous drinkers will then be allocated to either 12 weeks of weekly SMS drinking assessments with feedback (SA+F), SMS drinking assessments without feedback (SA), or a control group. Randomization will be via an independent and remote computerized randomization and will be stratified by study site. The SA+F group will be asked to provide pre-weekend drinking intention as well as post-weekend consumption via SMS and will receive feedback messages focused on health consequences of alcohol consumption, personalized normative feedback, protective drinking strategies and goal setting. Follow-up data on alcohol use and injury related to alcohol will be collected through a password-protected website three, six and nine months later. The primary outcome for the study is binge drinking days (≥4 drinks for women; ≥5 drinks for men) during the previous month, and the main secondary outcome is the proportion of participants who report any injury related to alcohol in the prior three months.
This study will test the hypothesis that a mobile phone text-messaging program will result in immediate and durable reductions in binge drinking among at-risk young adults. By testing an intervention group to an assessment-only and control group, we will be able to separate the effect of assessment reactivity. By collecting pre-weekend drinking intentions and post-weekend consumption data in the SA+F group, we will be able to better understand mechanism of change.
Alcohol misuse; Intervention; Randomized controlled trial; Effectiveness