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1.  Brief alcohol intervention in a psychiatric outpatient setting: a randomized controlled study 
Although brief alcohol intervention (BI) is widely studied, studies from psychiatric outpatient settings are rare. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of two variants of BI in psychiatric outpatients. By using clinical psychiatric staff to perform the interventions, we sought to collect information of the usefulness of BI in the clinical setting.
Psychiatric outpatients with Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores indicating hazardous or harmful drinking were invited to participate in the study. The outpatients were randomized to minimal (assessment, feedback, and an informational leaflet) or BI (personalized advice added). Measurements were performed at baseline and at six and 12 months after the intervention. The primary outcome was change in AUDIT score at the 12-month follow-up.
In all, 150 patients were enrolled and received either a minimal intervention (n = 68) or BI (n = 82). At 12 months, there was a small reduction in AUDIT score in both groups, with no significant differences in outcome between groups. At 12-month follow-up, 21% of participants had improved from a hazardous AUDIT score level to a nonhazardous level, and 8% had improved from a harmful level to a hazardous level (8%).
Brief alcohol interventions may result in a reduction of AUDIT score to a small extent in psychiatric patients with hazardous or harmful alcohol use. Results suggest that BI may be of some value in the psychiatric outpatient setting. Still, more profound forms of alcohol interventions with risky-drinking psychiatric patients need elaboration.
PMCID: PMC3507638  PMID: 23186026
Brief intervention; Alcohol intervention; Hazardous use; Harmful use; Psychiatric outpatients
2.  Comparing two different methods of identifying alcohol related problems in the emergency department: a real chance to intervene? 
Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ  2001;18(2):112-115.
Objectives—To examine the feasibility of screening for alcohol problems in a representative flow sample of patients attending a busy UK emergency department. To compare two methods of identifying alcohol related problems in the emergency department.
Methods—Brief interview administered by the same interviewer to a representative flow sample of 429 patients attending a single accident and emergency department over a six week period. Measures included a CAGE questionnaire and assessments by the patient and staff as to whether the attendance was alcohol related.
Results—413 patients (96%) were successfully screened. Of these, 115 (28%) patients were considered to have an alcohol related attendance on the basis of the CAGE questionnaire or the staff assessment. Head injuries and psychiatric presentations were particularly likely to be associated with alcohol misuse. Compared with those identified by staff, patients scoring above threshold on the CAGE were more likely to attend during routine working hours and recognise they had an alcohol problem.
Conclusions—Emergency departments may provide an opportunity for the early prevention of alcohol related difficulties. However, patients with alcohol problems who present to the emergency department are not a homogenous group. Different screening methods identify different groups of patients, who in turn may respond to different forms of intervention. Further research examining the efficacy and feasibility of different alcohol treatment approaches is needed to enable us to target specific interventions to those patients who might most benefit.
PMCID: PMC1725533  PMID: 11300181
3.  Provider, Patient, and Family Perspectives of Adolescent Alcohol Use and Treatment in Rural Settings 
We examined rural primary care providers’ (PCPs) self-reported practices of screening, brief interventions, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) on adolescent alcohol use and examined PCPs’, adolescents’, and parents’ attitudes regarding SBIRT on adolescent alcohol use in rural clinic settings.
In 2007, we mailed surveys that inquired about alcohol-related knowledge, attitudes, and treatment practices of adolescent alcohol use to all PCPs in 8 counties in rural Pennsylvania who may have treated adolescents. We then conducted 7 focus groups of PCPs and their staffs (n = 3), adolescents (n = 2), and parents (n = 2) and analyzed the narratives using structured grounded theory, evaluating for consistent or discordant themes.
Twenty-seven PCPs from 7 counties returned the survey. While 92% of PCPs felt that routine screening for alcohol use should begin by age 14, 84% reportedly screened for alcohol use occasionally, and reportedly 32% screened all adolescent patients. The provider focus groups (n = 20 PCPs/staff) related that SBIRT for alcohol use for adolescents was not currently effective. Poor provider training, lack of alcohol screening tools, and lack of referral treatment options were identified barriers. Adolescents (n = 12) worried that physicians would not maintain confidentiality. Parents (n = 12) acknowledged a parental contribution to adolescent alcohol use. All groups indicated computer-based methods to screen for alcohol use among adolescents may facilitate PCP engagement.
Despite awareness that rural adolescent alcohol use is a significant problem, PCPs, adolescents, and parents recognize that SBIRT for adolescent alcohol use in rural PCP settings is ineffective, but it may improve with computer-based screening and intervention techniques.
PMCID: PMC3138630  PMID: 21204975
Access to care; adolescents; alcohol abuse; geography; patient assessment
4.  The Effectiveness of Community Action in Reducing Risky Alcohol Consumption and Harm: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001617.
In a cluster randomized controlled trial, Anthony Shakeshaft and colleagues measure the effectiveness of a multi-component community-based intervention for reducing alcohol-related harm.
The World Health Organization, governments, and communities agree that community action is likely to reduce risky alcohol consumption and harm. Despite this agreement, there is little rigorous evidence that community action is effective: of the six randomised trials of community action published to date, all were US-based and focused on young people (rather than the whole community), and their outcomes were limited to self-report or alcohol purchase attempts. The objective of this study was to conduct the first non-US randomised controlled trial (RCT) of community action to quantify the effectiveness of this approach in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms measured using both self-report and routinely collected data.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster RCT comprising 20 communities in Australia that had populations of 5,000–20,000, were at least 100 km from an urban centre (population ≥ 100,000), and were not involved in another community alcohol project. Communities were pair-matched, and one member of each pair was randomly allocated to the experimental group. Thirteen interventions were implemented in the experimental communities from 2005 to 2009: community engagement; general practitioner training in alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI); feedback to key stakeholders; media campaign; workplace policies/practices training; school-based intervention; general practitioner feedback on their prescribing of alcohol medications; community pharmacy-based SBI; web-based SBI; Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services support for SBI; Good Sports program for sports clubs; identifying and targeting high-risk weekends; and hospital emergency department–based SBI. Primary outcomes based on routinely collected data were alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions. Routinely collected data for the entire study period (2001–2009) were obtained in 2010. Secondary outcomes based on pre- and post-intervention surveys (n = 2,977 and 2,255, respectively) were the following: long-term risky drinking, short-term high-risk drinking, short-term risky drinking, weekly consumption, hazardous/harmful alcohol use, and experience of alcohol harm. At the 5% level of statistical significance, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the interventions were effective in the experimental, relative to control, communities for alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions, and for rates of risky alcohol consumption and hazardous/harmful alcohol use. Although respondents in the experimental communities reported statistically significantly lower average weekly consumption (1.90 fewer standard drinks per week, 95% CI = −3.37 to −0.43, p = 0.01) and less alcohol-related verbal abuse (odds ratio = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.35 to 0.96, p = 0.04) post-intervention, the low survey response rates (40% and 24% for the pre- and post-intervention surveys, respectively) require conservative interpretation. The main limitations of this study are as follows: (1) that the study may have been under-powered to detect differences in routinely collected data outcomes as statistically significant, and (2) the low survey response rates.
This RCT provides little evidence that community action significantly reduces risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms, other than potential reductions in self-reported average weekly consumption and experience of alcohol-related verbal abuse. Complementary legislative action may be required to more effectively reduce alcohol harms.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000123448
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
People have consumed alcoholic beverages throughout history, but alcohol use is now an increasing global public health problem. According to the World Health Organization's 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, alcohol use is the fifth leading risk factor (after high blood pressure and smoking) for disease and is responsible for 3.9% of the global disease burden. Alcohol use contributes to heart disease, liver disease, depression, some cancers, and many other health conditions. Alcohol also affects the well-being and health of people around those who drink, through alcohol-related crimes and road traffic crashes. The impact of alcohol use on disease and injury depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and the pattern of drinking. Most guidelines define long-term risky drinking as more than four drinks per day on average for men or more than two drinks per day for women (a “drink” is, roughly speaking, a can of beer or a small glass of wine), and short-term risky drinking (also called binge drinking) as seven or more drinks on a single occasion for men or five or more drinks on a single occasion for women. However, recent changes to the Australian guidelines acknowledge that a lower level of alcohol consumption is considered risky (with lifetime risky drinking defined as more than two drinks a day and binge drinking defined as more than four drinks on one occasion).
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2010, the World Health Assembly endorsed a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. This strategy emphasizes the importance of community action–a process in which a community defines its own needs and determines the actions that are required to meet these needs. Although community action is highly acceptable to community members, few studies have looked at the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. Here, the researchers undertake a cluster randomized controlled trial (the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities [AARC] project) to quantify the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms in rural communities in Australia. A cluster randomized trial compares outcomes in clusters of people (here, communities) who receive alternative interventions assigned through the play of chance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers pair-matched 20 rural Australian communities according to the proportion of their population that was Aboriginal (rates of alcohol-related harm are disproportionately higher among Aboriginal individuals than among non-Aboriginal individuals in Australia; they are also higher among young people and males, but the proportions of these two groups across communities was comparable). They randomly assigned one member of each pair to the experimental group and implemented 13 interventions in these communities by negotiating with key individuals in each community to define and implement each intervention. Examples of interventions included general practitioner training in screening for alcohol use disorders and in implementing a brief intervention, and a school-based interactive session designed to reduce alcohol harm among young people. The researchers quantified the effectiveness of the interventions using routinely collected data on alcohol-related crime and road traffic crashes, and on hospital inpatient admissions for alcohol dependence or abuse (which were expected to increase in the experimental group if the intervention was effective because of more people seeking or being referred for treatment). They also examined drinking habits and experiences of alcohol-related harm, such as verbal abuse, among community members using pre- and post-intervention surveys. After implementation of the interventions, the rates of alcohol-related crime, road traffic crashes, and hospital admissions, and of risky and hazardous/harmful alcohol consumption (measured using a validated tool called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) were not statistically significantly different in the experimental and control communities (a difference in outcomes that is not statistically significantly different can occur by chance). However, the reported average weekly consumption of alcohol was 20% lower in the experimental communities after the intervention than in the control communities (equivalent to 1.9 fewer standard drinks per week per respondent) and there was less alcohol-related verbal abuse post-intervention in the experimental communities than in the control communities.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide little evidence that community action reduced risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms in rural Australian communities. Although there was some evidence of significant reductions in self-reported weekly alcohol consumption and in experiences of alcohol-related verbal abuse, these findings must be interpreted cautiously because they are based on surveys with very low response rates. A larger or differently designed study might provide statistically significant evidence for the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption. However, given their findings, the researchers suggest that legislative approaches that are beyond the control of individual communities, such as alcohol taxation and restrictions on alcohol availability, may be required to effectively reduce alcohol harms. In other words, community action alone may not be the most effective way to reduce alcohol-related harm.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides detailed information about alcohol; its fact sheet on alcohol includes information about the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health provides further information about alcohol, including information on control policies around the world
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has information about alcohol and its effects on health
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website on alcohol and public health that includes information on the health risks of excessive drinking
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about drinking and alcohol, including information on the risks of drinking too much, tools for calculating alcohol consumption, and personal stories about alcohol use problems
MedlinePlus provides links to many other resources on alcohol
More information about the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities project is available
PMCID: PMC3949675  PMID: 24618831
5.  Alcohol brief interventions practice following training for multidisciplinary health and social care teams: A qualitative interview study 
Drug and Alcohol Review  2014;34(2):185-193.
Introduction and Aims
Few studies of the implementation of alcohol brief interventions (ABI) have been conducted in community settings such as mental health, social work and criminal justice teams. This qualitative interview study sought to explore the impact of training on ABI delivery by staff from a variety of such teams.
Design and Methods
Fifteen semi-structured telephone interviews were carried out with trained practitioners and with managers to explore the use of, perceived need for and approaches to ABI delivery and recording with clients, and compatibility of ABIs with current practice. Interviews were analysed thematically using an inductive approach.
Very few practitioners reported delivery of any ABIs following training primarily because they felt ABIs to be inappropriate for their clients. According to practitioners, this was either because they drank too much or too little to benefit. Practitioners reported a range of current activities relating to alcohol, and some felt that their knowledge and confidence were improved following training. One practitioner reported ABI delivery and was considered a training success, while expectations of ABIs did not fit with current practice including assessment procedures for the remainder.
Discussion and Conclusions
Identified barriers to ABI delivery included issues relating to individual practitioners, their teams, current practice and the ABI model. They are likely to be best addressed by strategic team- and setting-specific approaches to implementation, of which training is only one part. [Fitzgerald N, Molloy H, MacDonald F, McCambridge J. Alcohol brief interventions practice following training for multidisciplinary health and social care teams: A qualitative interview study. Drug Alcohol Rev 2015;34:185–93]
PMCID: PMC4405088  PMID: 25196713
alcohol consumption; brief intervention; training; qualitative; social work
6.  Brief screening for co-occurring disorders among women entering substance abuse treatment 
Despite the importance of identifying co-occurring psychiatric disorders in substance abuse treatment programs, there are few appropriate and validated instruments available to substance abuse treatment staff to conduct brief screen for these conditions. This paper describes the development, implementation and validation of a brief screening instrument for mental health diagnoses and trauma among a diverse sample of Black, Hispanic and White women in substance abuse treatment. With input from clinicians and consumers, we adapted longer existing validated instruments into a 14 question screen covering demographics, mental health symptoms and physical and sexual violence exposure. All women entering treatment (methadone, residential and out-patient) at five treatment sites were screened at intake (N = 374).
Eighty nine percent reported a history of interpersonal violence, and 70% reported a history of sexual assault. Eighty-eight percent reported mental health symptoms in the last 30 days. The screening questions administered to 88 female clients were validated against in-depth psychiatric diagnostic assessments by trained mental health clinicians. We estimated measures of predictive validity, including sensitivity, specificity and predictive values positive and negative. Screening items were examined multiple ways to assess utility. The screen is a useful and valid proxy for PTSD but not for other mental illness.
Substance abuse treatment programs should incorporate violence exposure questions into clinical use as a matter of policy. More work is needed to develop brief screening tools measures for front-line treatment staff to accurately assess other mental health needs of women entering substance abuse treatment
PMCID: PMC1570455  PMID: 16959041
7.  Predictors of Outcome in Brief Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Schizophrenia 
Schizophrenia Bulletin  2009;35(5):859-864.
Antipsychotic medications, while effective, often leave patients with ongoing positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Guidelines recommend using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) with this group. Clearly, mental health professionals require training and supervision to deliver CBT-based interventions. This study tested which antipsychotic-resistant patients were most likely to respond to brief CBT delivered by psychiatric nurses. Staff were trained over 10 consecutive days with ongoing weekly supervision. Training for carers in the basic principles of CBT was also provided. This article represents the secondary analyses of completer data from a previously published randomized controlled trial (Turkington D, Kingdon D, Turner T. Effectiveness of a brief cognitive-behavioural therapy intervention in the treatment of schizophrenia. Br J Psychiatry. 2002;180:523–527) (n = 354) to determine whether a number of a priori variables were predictive of a good outcome with CBT and treatment as usual. Logistic regression was employed to determine whether any of these variables were able to predict a 25% or greater improvement in overall symptoms and insight. In the CBT group only, female gender was found to strongly predict a reduction in overall symptoms (P = .004, odds ratio [OR] = 2.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.33, 4.30) and increase in insight (P = .04, OR = 1.84, 95% CI = 1.03, 3.29). In addition, for individuals with delusions, a lower level of conviction in these beliefs was associated with a good response to brief CBT (P = .02, OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.51, 0.95). Women with schizophrenia and patients with a low level of conviction in their delusions are most likely to respond to brief CBT and should be offered this routinely alongside antipsychotic medications and other psychosocial interventions.
PMCID: PMC2728819  PMID: 19571248
psychosis; CBT; psychiatric nurses; psychosocial interventions; insight; carers
8.  Effectiveness of alcohol brief intervention delivered by community pharmacists: study protocol of a two-arm randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:152.
There is strong evidence to support the effectiveness of Brief Intervention (BI) in reducing alcohol consumption in primary healthcare.
Methods and design
This study is a two-arm randomised controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of BI delivered by community pharmacists in their pharmacies. Eligible and consenting participants (aged 18 years or older) will be randomised in equal numbers to either a BI delivered by 17 community pharmacists or a non-intervention control condition. The intervention will be a brief motivational discussion to support a reduction in alcohol consumption and will take approximately 10 minutes to deliver. Participants randomised to the control arm will be given an alcohol information leaflet with no opportunity for discussion. Study pharmacists will be volunteers who respond to an invitation to participate, sent to all community pharmacists in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Participating pharmacists will receive 7 hours training on trial procedures and the delivery of BI. Pharmacy support staff will also receive training (4 hours) on how to approach and inform pharmacy customers about the study, with formal trial recruitment undertaken by the pharmacist in a consultation room. At three month follow up, alcohol consumption and related problems will be assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) administered by telephone.
The UK Department of Health’s stated aim is to involve community pharmacists in the delivery of BI to reduce alcohol harms. This will be the first RCT study to assess the effectiveness of BI delivered by community pharmacists. Given this policy context, it is pragmatic in design.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN95216873
PMCID: PMC3583737  PMID: 23419053
Alcohol; Brief intervention; Community pharmacist; Community pharmacy; Hazardous and harmful drinking
9.  Applying knowledge translation tools to inform policy: the case of mental health in Lebanon 
Many reform efforts in health systems fall short because the use of research evidence to inform policy remains scarce. In Lebanon, one in four adults suffers from a mental illness, yet access to mental healthcare services in primary healthcare (PHC) settings is limited. Using an “integrated” knowledge framework to link research to action, this study examines the process of influencing the mental health agenda in Lebanon through the application of Knowledge Translation (KT) tools and the use of a KT Platform (KTP) as an intermediary between researchers and policymakers.
This study employed the following KT tools: 1) development of a policy brief to address the lack of access to mental health services in PHC centres, 2) semi-structured interviews with 10 policymakers and key informants, 3) convening of a national policy dialogue, 4) evaluation of the policy brief and dialogue, and 5) a post-dialogue survey.
Findings from the key informant interviews and a comprehensive synthesis of evidence were used to develop a policy brief which defined the problem and presented three elements of a policy approach to address it. This policy brief was circulated to 24 participants prior to the dialogue to inform the discussion. The policy dialogue validated the evidence synthesized in the brief, whereby integrating mental health into PHC services was the element most supported by evidence as well as participants. The post-dialogue survey showed that, in the following 6 months, several implementation steps were taken by stakeholders, including establishing national taskforce, training PHC staff, and updating the national essential drug list to include psychiatric medications. Relationships among policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders were strengthened as they conducted their own workshops and meetings after the dialogue to further discuss implementation, and their awareness about and demand for KT tools increased.
This case study showed that the use of KT tools in Lebanon to help generate evidence-informed programs is promising. This experience provided insights into the most helpful features of the tools. The role of the KTP in engaging stakeholders, particularly policymakers, prior to the dialogue and linking them with researchers was vital in securing their support for the KT process and uptake of the research evidence.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12961-015-0018-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4461900  PMID: 26047619
Evidence-informed policymaking; Knowledge translation; Mental health; Mental illness; Primary healthcare
10.  Feasibility and acceptability of a bar-based sexual risk reduction intervention for bar patrons in Tshwane, South Africa 
Sahara J  2014;11(1):1-9.
Alcohol consumption is a recognised risk factor for HIV infection. Alcohol serving establishments have been identified as appropriate venues in which to deliver HIV prevention interventions. This paper describes experiences and lessons learnt from implementing a combined HIV prevention intervention in bar settings in one city- and one township-based bar in Tshwane, South Africa. The intervention consisted of peer-led and brief intervention counselling sub-components. Thirty-nine bar patrons were recruited and trained, and delivered HIV and alcohol risk reduction activities to their peers as peer interventionists. At the same time, nine counsellors received training and visited the bars weekly to provide brief motivational interviewing counselling, advice, and referrals to the patrons of the bars. A responsible server sub-component that had also been planned was not delivered as it was not feasible to train the staff in the two participating bars. Over the eight-month period the counsellors were approached by and provided advice and counselling for alcohol and sexual risk-related problems to 111 bar patrons. The peer interventionists reported 1323 risk reduction interactions with their fellow bar patrons during the same period. The intervention was overall well received and suggests that bar patrons and servers can accept a myriad of intervention activities to reduce sexual risk behaviour within their drinking settings. However, HIV- and AIDS-related stigma hindered participation in certain intervention activities in some instances. The buy-in that we received from the relevant stakeholders (i.e. bar owners/managers and patrons, and the community at large) was an important contributor to the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention.
PMCID: PMC4272098  PMID: 24750106
HIV prevention; bar-based intervention; server intervention; peer intervention; brief intervention; motivational interviewing; prévention VIH; intervention dans des bars; intervention des serveurs; intervention des pairs; brève intervention; entretien de motivation
11.  Psychosocial Interventions for Alcohol Use Among Problem Drug Users: Protocol for a Feasibility Study in Primary Care 
JMIR Research Protocols  2013;2(2):e26.
Alcohol use is an important issue among problem drug users. Although screening and brief intervention (SBI) are effective in reducing problem alcohol use in primary care, no research has examined this issue among problem drug users.
The objective of this study is to determine if a complex intervention including SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users is feasible and acceptable in practice. This study also aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention in reducing the proportion of patients with problem alcohol use.
Psychosocial intervention for alcohol use among problem drug users (PINTA) is a pilot feasibility study of a complex intervention comprising SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users with cluster randomization at the level of general practice, integrated qualitative process evaluation, and involving general practices in two socioeconomically deprived regions. Practices (N=16) will be eligible to participate if they are registered to prescribe methadone and/or at least 10 patients of the practice are currently receiving addiction treatment. Patient must meet the following inclusion criteria to participate in this study: 18 years of age or older, receiving addiction treatment/care (eg, methadone), or known to be a problem drug user. This study is based on a complex intervention supporting SBI for problem alcohol use among problem drug users (experimental group) compared to an “assessment-only” control group. Control practices will be provided with a delayed intervention after follow-up. Primary outcomes of the study are feasibility and acceptability of the intervention to patients and practitioners. Secondary outcome includes the effectiveness of the intervention on care process (documented rates of SBI) and outcome (proportion of patients with problem alcohol use at the follow-up). A stratified random sampling method will be used to select general practices based on the level of training for providing addiction-related care and geographical area. In this study, general practitioners and practice staff, researchers, and trainers will not be blinded to treatment, but patients and remote randomizers will be unaware of the treatment.
This study is ongoing and a protocol system is being developed for the study. This study may inform future research among the high-risk population of problem drug users by providing initial indications as to whether psychosocial interventions for problem alcohol use are feasible, acceptable, and also effective among problem drug users attending primary care.
This is the first study to examine the feasibility and acceptability of complex intervention in primary care to enhance alcohol SBI among problem drug users. Results of this study will inform future research among this high-risk population and guide policy and service development locally and internationally.
PMCID: PMC3742410  PMID: 23912883
complex intervention; screening; brief intervention; alcohol; methadone maintenance; primary health care; general practice; substance-related disorders
12.  Prevention of Alcohol-Related Crime and Trauma (PACT): brief interventions in routine care pathway – a study protocol 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:49.
Globally, alcohol-related injuries cause millions of deaths and huge economic loss each year . The incidence of facial (jawbone) fractures in the Northern Territory of Australia is second only to Greenland, due to a strong involvement of alcohol in its aetiology, and high levels of alcohol consumption. The highest incidences of alcohol-related trauma in the Territory are observed amongst patients in the Maxillofacial Surgery Unit of the Royal Darwin Hospital. Accordingly, this project aims to introduce screening and brief interventions into this unit, with the aims of changing health service provider practice, improving access to care, and improving patient outcomes.
Establishment of Project Governance: The project governance team includes a project manager, project leader, an Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) and an Expert Reference Group (ERG).
Development of a best practice pathway: PACT project researchers collaborate with clinical staff to develop a best practice pathway suited to the setting of the surgical unit. The pathway provides clear guidelines for screening, assessment, intervention and referral.
Implementation: The developed pathway is introduced to the unit through staff training workshops and associate resources and adapted in response to staff feedback.
Evaluation: File audits, post workshop questionnaires and semi-structured interviews are administered.
This project allows direct transfer of research findings into clinical practice and can inform future hospital-based injury prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC3570309  PMID: 23331868
Alcohol-related trauma; Screening; Brief intervention; Dissemination
Indian Journal of Psychiatry  1997;39(4):300-303.
Out of 881 randomly selected outpatients in four rural district hospitals in Kenya who underwent a two stage screening procedure for a psychiatric disorder, 24.9 percent had psychiatric morbidity. Further analysis showed that 12.7 percent of them had an alcohol related disorder as defined by ICD-9 (WHO, 1978) under the categories 291 and 303. For the screening of alcoholic cases brief MAST was used. The author found this instrument a quick method for identifying potential alcoholics.
At present, such cases go undetected and untreated. Some important issues related to alcohol drinking in rural Kenya are discussed. Most of our patients drank the locally brewed alcoholic beverages of variable ethanol contents. The health planners and primary health workers (PHW) will have to pay more attention to the widely prevalent alcohol abuse which seems to masquerade in various forms of physical, social or psychological problems. Indeed, more intensive training of the PHWs in detecting and advising alcoholics maybe the best method in the rural setting.
PMCID: PMC2967162  PMID: 21584096
Alcoholism; outpatients; psychiatric morbidity; Kenya
14.  Disseminating Organizational Screening and Brief Intervention Services (DO-SBIS) for Alcohol at Trauma Centers Study Design 
General hospital psychiatry  2012;35(2):174-180.
In 2005 the American College of Surgeons passed a mandate requiring that Level I trauma centers have a mechanism to identify patients who are problem drinkers and have the capacity to provide an intervention for patients who screen positive. The aim of the Disseminating Organizational Screening and Brief Intervention Services (DO-SBIS) cluster randomized trial is to test a multilevel intervention targeting the implementation of high quality alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) services at trauma centers.
Twenty sites selected from all US Level I trauma centers were randomized to participate in the trial. Intervention site providers receive a combination of workshop training in evidence-based motivational interviewing (MI) interventions and organizational development activities prior to conducting trauma center-based alcohol SBI with blood alcohol positive injured patients. Control sites implement care as usual. Provider MI skills, patient alcohol consumption, and organizational acceptance of SBI implementation outcomes are assessed.
The investigation has successfully recruited provider, patient, and trauma center staff samples into the study and outcomes are being followed longitudinally.
When completed, the DO-SBIS trial will inform future American College of Surgeons’ policy targeting the sustained integration of high quality alcohol SBI at trauma centers nationwide.
PMCID: PMC3594343  PMID: 23273831
Acute care medical trauma centers; Injury; Alcohol; Screening and brief intervention; American College of Surgeons
15.  Nationwide Survey of Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention Practices at US Level I Trauma Centers 
In 2007, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma implemented a requirement that Level I trauma centers must have a mechanism to identify patients who are problem drinkers and the capacity to provide an intervention for patients who screen positive. Although the landmark alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) mandate is anticipated to impact trauma practice nationwide, a literature review revealed no studies that have systematically documented SBI practice pre-ACS requirement.
Trauma programs at all US Level I trauma centers were contacted and asked to complete a survey about pre-ACS requirement trauma center SBI practice.
One hundred forty-eight of 204 (73%) Level I trauma centers responded to the survey. More than 70% of responding centers routinely used laboratory tests (eg, blood alcohol concentration) to screen patients for alcohol and 39% routinely used a screening question or standardized screening instrument. Screen-positive patients received a formal alcohol consult or had an informal alcohol discussion with staff members approximately 25% of the time.
The investigation observed marked variability across Level I centers in the percentage of patients screened and in the nature and extent of intervention delivery in screen-positive patients. In the wake of the ACS Committee on Trauma requirement, future research could systematically implement and evaluate training in the delivery of evidence-based alcohol interventions and training in development of trauma center organizational capacity for sustained delivery of SBI.
PMCID: PMC3104599  PMID: 18954773
16.  Patient and practitioner characteristics predict brief alcohol intervention in primary care. 
BACKGROUND: The effectiveness of an evidence-based health care intervention depends on it being delivered consistently to appropriate patients. Brief alcohol intervention is known to be effective at reducing excessive drinking and its concomitant health and social problems. However, a recent implementation trial reported partial delivery of brief alcohol intervention by general practitioners (GPs) which is likely to have reduced its impact. AIM: To investigate patient-practitioner characteristics influencing brief alcohol intervention in primary care. DESIGN OF STUDY: Cross-sectional analysis of 12,814 completed Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) screening questionnaires. SETTING: Eighty-four GPs who had implemented a brief alcohol intervention programme in a previous trial based in the Northeast of England. METHOD: GPs were requested to screen all adults (aged over 16 years) presenting to their surgery and follow a structured protocol to give a brief intervention (five minutes of advice plus an information booklet) to all 'risk' drinkers. Anonymized carbon copies of the screening questionnaire were collected from all practices after a three-month implementation period. RESULTS: Although AUDIT identified 4080 'risk' drinkers, only 2043 (50%) received brief intervention. Risk drinkers that were most likely to receive brief intervention were males (58%), unemployed (61%), and technically-trained patients (55%). Risk drinkers that were least likely to receive brief intervention were females (44%), students (38%), and university educated patients (46%). Logistic regression modelling showed that patients' risk status was the most influential predictor of brief intervention. Also, GPs' experience of relevant training and longer average practice consultations predicted brief intervention. However, personal characteristics relating to patients and GPs also predicted brief intervention in routine practice. CONCLUSION: Interpersonal factors relating to patients and practitioners contributed to the selective provision of brief alcohol intervention in primary care. Ways should be found to remedy this situation or the impact of this evidence-based intervention may be reduced when implemented in routine practice.
PMCID: PMC1314128  PMID: 11677706
17.  Treatment in hospital for alcohol-dependent patients decreases attentional bias 
Background and objectives:
Previous studies in alcohol-dependent patients have shown an attentional bias (AB) under related substance cues, which can lead to relapse. This AB can be evaluated by the alcohol Stroop test (AST). The AST is a modified Stroop task in which participants have to name the color of an alcohol-related word or a neutral word. AB is the response-time difference between these two types of words. The goal of the current study was to examine modification of AB during specialized hospitalization for alcohol dependence, with the suppression of a training bias that could be present in within-subject design.
Individuals with alcohol-dependence disorders (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition) and admitted for withdrawal in the addiction unit of the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand (test group, n = 42) and persons with no alcohol or psychiatric disorder (control group, n = 16), recruited among colleagues and friends of the staff, performed the AST. A subgroup of the test group performed the AST in admission (admission group, n = 19), and another subgroup undertook the test immediately before discharge (discharge group, n = 23).
Results showed an AB only for patients seen at admission (F[1,55] = 3.283, P = 0.075). Moreover, we observed that the AB in the admission group (mean = 34 ms, standard deviation [SD] = 70.06) was greater than the AB in the control group (mean = 23 ms, SD = 93.42), itself greater than the AB in the discharge group (mean = −12 ms, SD = 93.55) (t[55] = −1.71; P = 0.09).
Although the results are preliminary, the present study provides evidence for changes in the AB during alcohol-addiction treatment and for the value of these methods to diminish AB during detoxification.
PMCID: PMC3682808  PMID: 23785237
alcohol Stroop test; addiction; attentional bias
18.  Feasibility of a computer-assisted alcohol SBIRT program in an urban emergency department: patient and research staff perspectives 
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.
PMCID: PMC3554507  PMID: 23324597
Computerized alcohol screening; Brief intervention; Emergency department; SBIRT
19.  Screening and brief interventions for hazardous alcohol use in accident and emergency departments: a randomised controlled trial protocol 
There is a wealth of evidence regarding the detrimental impact of excessive alcohol consumption on the physical, psychological and social health of the population. There also exists a substantial evidence base for the efficacy of brief interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption across a range of healthcare settings. Primary research conducted in emergency departments has reinforced the current evidence regarding the potential effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Within this body of evidence there is marked variation in the intensity of brief intervention delivered, from very minimal interventions to more intensive behavioural or lifestyle counselling approaches. Further the majority of primary research has been conducted in single centre and there is little evidence of the wider issues of generalisability and implementation of brief interventions across emergency departments.
The study design is a prospective pragmatic factorial cluster randomised controlled trial. Individual Emergency Departments (ED) (n = 9) are randomised with equal probability to a combination of screening tool (M-SASQ vs FAST vs SIPS-PAT) and an intervention (Minimal intervention vs Brief advice vs Brief lifestyle counselling). The primary hypothesis is that brief lifestyle counselling delivered by an Alcohol Health Worker (AHW) is more effective than Brief Advice or a minimal intervention delivered by ED staff. Secondary hypotheses address whether short screening instruments are more acceptable and as efficient as longer screening instruments and the cost-effectiveness of screening and brief interventions in ED. Individual participants will be followed up at 6 and 12 months after consent. The primary outcome measure is performance using a gold-standard screening test (AUDIT). Secondary outcomes include; quantity and frequency of alcohol consumed, alcohol-related problems, motivation to change, health related quality of life and service utilisation.
This paper presents a protocol for a large multi-centre pragmatic factorial cluster randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of screening and brief interventions for hazardous alcohol users attending emergency departments.
Trial Registration
ISRCTN 93681536
PMCID: PMC2712466  PMID: 19575791
20.  A Validation Study of the Brief Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT): A Brief Screening Tool Derived from the AUDIT 
The prevalence of alcohol use disorder (AUD) is very high in Korea. To identify AUD in the busy practice setting, brevity of screening tools is very important. We derived the brief Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and evaluated its performance as a brief screening test.
One hundred male drinkers from Kangbuk Samsung Hospital primary care outpatient clinic and psychiatric ward for alcoholism treatment completed questionnaires including the AUDIT, cut down, annoyed, guilty, eye-opener (CAGE), and National Alcoholism Screening Test (NAST) from April to July, 2007. AUD (alcohol abuse and dependence), defined by a physician in accordance with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV, was used as a diagnostic criteria. To derive the brief AUDIT, factor analysis was performed using the principal component extraction method with a varimax rotated solution. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed to investigate the discrimination ability of the brief AUDIT. Areas under the ROC curve were compared performance of screening questionnaires with 95% confidence intervals.
The derived brief AUDIT consists of 4 items: frequency of heavy drinking (item 3), impaired control over drinking (item 4), increased salience of drinking (item 5), and alcohol-related injury (item 9). Brief AUDIT exhibited an AUD screening accuracy better than CAGE, and equally to that of NAST. Areas under the ROC curves were 0.87 (0.80-0.94), 0.76 (0.66-0.85), and 0.81 (0.73-0.90) for the brief AUDIT, CAGE, and NAST for AUD, and 0.97 (0.95-0.99), 0.93 (0.88-0.98) and 0.93 (0.88-0.98) for alcohol dependence.
The new brief AUDIT seems to be effective in detecting male AUD in the primary care setting in Korea. Further evaluation for women and different age groups is needed.
PMCID: PMC3560334  PMID: 23372901
Alcohol; Mass Screening; Primary Health Care
21.  Screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful alcohol use in primary care: a cluster randomised controlled trial protocol 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:287.
There have been many randomized controlled trials of screening and brief alcohol intervention in primary care. Most trials have reported positive effects of brief intervention, in terms of reduced alcohol consumption in excessive drinkers. Despite this considerable evidence-base, key questions remain unanswered including: the applicability of the evidence to routine practice; the most efficient strategy for screening patients; and the required intensity of brief intervention in primary care. This pragmatic factorial trial, with cluster randomization of practices, will evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different models of screening to identify hazardous and harmful drinkers in primary care and different intensities of brief intervention to reduce excessive drinking in primary care patients.
Methods and design
GPs and nurses from 24 practices across the North East (n = 12), London and South East (n = 12) of England will be recruited. Practices will be randomly allocated to one of three intervention conditions: a leaflet-only control group (n = 8); brief structured advice (n = 8); and brief lifestyle counselling (n = 8). To test the relative effectiveness of different screening methods all practices will also be randomised to either a universal or targeted screening approach and to use either a modified single item (M-SASQ) or FAST screening tool. Screening randomisation will incorporate stratification by geographical area and intervention condition. During the intervention stage of the trial, practices in each of the three arms will recruit at least 31 hazardous or harmful drinkers who will receive a short baseline assessment followed by brief intervention. Thus there will be a minimum of 744 patients recruited into the trial.
The trial will evaluate the impact of screening and brief alcohol intervention in routine practice; thus its findings will be highly relevant to clinicians working in primary care in the UK. There will be an intention to treat analysis of study outcomes at 6 and 12 months after intervention. Analyses will include patient measures (screening result, weekly alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, public service use and quality of life) and implementation measures from practice staff (the acceptability and feasibility of different models of brief intervention.) We will also examine organisational factors associated with successful implementation.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN06145674.
PMCID: PMC2734851  PMID: 19664255
22.  Psychometric Evaluation of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and Short Drug Abuse Screening Test with Psychiatric Patients in India 
The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and the short Drug Abuse Screen Test (DAST-10) are brief self-report screens for alcohol and drug problems that have not been evaluated for use with psychiatric patients in developing countries. This study was designed to evaluate the feasibility, factor structure, reliability, validity, and utility of the AUDIT and the DAST-10 in an Indian psychiatric hospital.
Consecutive inpatient admissions from April to December 2001 were sampled. Patients were diagnosed with substance use disorders or psychiatric disorders according to ICD-10 criteria. All patients completed both the AUDIT and the DAST-10 during their intake evaluation.
Of the 2286 admissions to the hospital, 1349 were enrolled in the study (30% women); 361 patients (27%) had primary substance use disorders and 988 patients (73%) had primary psychiatric disorders. Both the AUDIT and the DAST-10 were unidimensional and internally consistent. Total scores significantly differentiated the subsamples with primary substance use from those with primary psychiatric disorders (p < .0001). Using cut-off scores of ≥8 on the AUDIT and ≥3 on the DAST-10, only 10% (n = 100) of the psychiatric subsample exceeded either cut-off, whereas 99% (n = 358) of the substance abuse subsample exceeded one or both cut-offs. Within the primary psychiatric subsample, 77% (n = 65) of the patients who were identified as high risk on the AUDIT did not receive an additional alcohol use disorder diagnosis at discharge, and 59% (n = 16) of those identified as high risk on the DAST-10 did not receive an additional discharge diagnosis of drug use disorder.
The AUDIT and the DAST-10 demonstrate strong psychometric properties when used in an Indian psychiatric hospital. Routine use of these brief screens can facilitate detection of substance use disorders among psychiatric patients.
PMCID: PMC2441940  PMID: 12934976
substance abuse screening; alcohol use disorders; drug use disorders; psychiatric comorbidity
23.  Feasibility and acceptability of a novel, computerized screening and brief intervention (SBI) for alcohol and sweetened beverage use in pregnancy 
Recommended screening and brief intervention (SBI) for alcohol use during pregnancy is impeded by high patient loads and limited resources in public health settings. We evaluated the feasibility, acceptability and validity of a new self-administered, single-session, bilingual, computerized Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) program for alcohol and sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) use in pregnancy.
We developed and tested the computerized SBI program at a public health clinic with 290 pregnant women. Feasibility, acceptability, and validity measures were included in the program which had several modules, including those on demographics, health and beverage use. Time to complete the program and user experience items were used to determine program feasibility and acceptability. Validity analyses compared proportions of prenatal alcohol use identified by the program versus in-person screening by clinic staff.
Most program users (87%, n = 251) completed the entire program; 91% (n = 263) completed the key screening and brief intervention modules. Most users also completed the program in ten to fifteen minutes. Program users reported that the program was easy to use (97%), they learned something new (88%), and that they would share what they learned with others (83%) and with their doctors or clinic staff (76%). Program acceptability did not differ by age, education, or type of beverage intervention received. The program identified alcohol use in pregnancy among 21% of users, a higher rate than the 13% (p < .01) found via screening by clinic staff.
Computerized Screening and Brief Intervention for alcohol and SSB use in public health clinics is feasible and acceptable to English and Spanish speaking pregnant women and can efficiently identify prenatal alcohol use.
PMCID: PMC4255428  PMID: 25421637
Screening and brief intervention; Alcohol; Sugar sweetened beverages
24.  Putting the Screen in Screening 
Alcohol is strongly linked to the leading causes of adolescent and adult mortality and health problems, making medical settings such as primary care and emergency departments important venues for addressing alcohol use. Extensive research evidence supports the effectiveness of alcohol screening and brief interventions (SBIs) in medical settings, but this valuable strategy remains underused, with medical staff citing lack of time and training as major implementation barriers. Technology-based tools may offer a way to improve efficiency and quality of SBI delivery in such settings. This review describes the latest research examining the feasibility and efficacy of computer- or other technology-based alcohol SBI tools in medical settings, as they relate to the following three patient populations: adults (18 years or older); pregnant women; and adolescents (17 years or younger). The small but growing evidence base generally shows strong feasibility and acceptability of technology-based SBI in medical settings. However, evidence for effectiveness in changing alcohol use is limited in this young field.
PMCID: PMC4432859
Alcohol use, abuse, and dependence; screening and brief intervention; medical setting; primary care; emergency room; adult; adolescent; pregnant women; technology; computer-based screening and brief intervention; literature review
Journal of addictions nursing  2009;20(3):127-131.
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.
PMCID: PMC2800373  PMID: 20046538

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