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1.  Emergency Department–Initiated Buprenorphine/Naloxone Treatment for Opioid Dependence 
JAMA  2015;313(16):1636-1644.
Opioid-dependent patients often use the emergency department (ED) for medical care.
To test the efficacy of 3 interventions for opioid dependence: (1) screening and referral to treatment (referral); (2) screening, brief intervention, and facilitated referral to community-based treatment services (brief intervention); and (3) screening, brief intervention, ED-initiated treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone, and referral to primary care for 10-week follow-up (buprenorphine).
A randomized clinical trial involving 329 opioid-dependent patients who were treated at an urban teaching hospital ED from April 7, 2009, through June 25, 2013.
After screening, 104 patients were randomized to the referral group, 111 to the brief intervention group, and 114 to the buprenorphine treatment group.
Enrollment in and receiving addiction treatment 30 days after randomization was the primary outcome. Self-reported days of illicit opioid use, urine testing for illicit opioids, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk, and use of addiction treatment services were the secondary outcomes.
Seventy-eight percent of patients in the buprenorphine group (89 of 114 [95% CI, 70%-85%]) vs 37% in the referral group (38 of 102 [95% CI, 28%-47%]) and 45% in the brief intervention group (50 of 111 [95% CI, 36%-54%]) were engaged in addiction treatment on the 30th day after randomization (P < .001). The buprenorphine group reduced the number of days of illicit opioid use per week from 5.4 days (95% CI, 5.1-5.7) to 0.9 days (95% CI, 0.5-1.3) vs a reduction from 5.4 days (95% CI, 5.1-5.7) to 2.3 days (95% CI, 1.7-3.0) in the referral group and from 5.6 days (95% CI, 5.3-5.9) to 2.4 days (95% CI, 1.8-3.0) in the brief intervention group (P < .001 for both time and intervention effects; P = .02 for the interaction effect). The rates of urine samples that tested negative for opioids did not differ statistically across groups, with 53.8% (95% CI, 42%-65%) in the referral group, 42.9% (95% CI, 31%-55%) in the brief intervention group, and 57.6% (95% CI, 47%-68%) in the buprenorphine group (P = .17). There were no statistically significant differences in HIV risk across groups (P = .66). Eleven percent of patients in the buprenorphine group (95% CI, 6%-19%) used inpatient addiction treatment services, whereas 37% in the referral group (95% CI, 27%-48%) and 35% in the brief intervention group (95% CI, 25%-37%) used inpatient addiction treatment services (P < .001).
Among opioid-dependent patients, ED-initiated buprenorphine treatment vs brief intervention and referral significantly increased engagement in addiction treatment, reduced self-reported illicit opioid use, and decreased use of inpatient addiction treatment services but did not significantly decrease the rates of urine samples that tested positive for opioids or of HIV risk. These findings require replication in other centers before widespread adoption.
TRIAL REGISTRATION Identifier: NCT00913770
PMCID: PMC4527523  PMID: 25919527
2.  Willingness to treat drug dependence and depression: comparisons of future health professionals 
Stigma-related feelings, including degree of enthusiasm and willingness to work with alcohol, drug, and mental disorder (ADM) patients, as well as anticipated success in such work, will be required for the United States to be successful in its new initiatives for ADM screening, brief intervention, and effective referral to treatment and rehabilitation services (SBIRT). This study investigates students of medicine and social work with respect to their stigma-related feelings and degree of enthusiasm or willingness to treat patients affected by alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, or major depression. Inference is strengthened by an anonymous online survey approach, with use of randomized reinforcers to gain at least partial experimental control of nonparticipation biases that otherwise are present in student survey data.
Material and methods
All students on required course rosters were asked to participate in a two-part in-class and online assessment; 222 participated, with a gradient of participation induced via randomly drawn reinforcers for online survey participation. Between-group comparisons were made with a multivariate generalized linear model and generalized estimating equations approach that adjusts for covariates.
Medical and social work students did not differ from each other with respect to their willingness to treat patients affected by major depression, alcohol dependence, or nicotine dependence, but together were less willing to treat nicotine and alcohol dependence-affected patients as compared to depression-affected patients. Personal history was not associated with the students' willingness to treat, but men were less willing to treat. Drawing strength from the randomized reinforcer experimental design nested within this survey approach, the study evidence suggests potential nonparticipation bias in standard surveys on this topic.
These results indicate that future health professionals may prefer to treat depression as opposed to drug dependence conditions. For SBIRT success, curriculum change with educational interventions may be needed to increase willingness to treat patients with neuropsychiatric conditions such as drug dependence. Future research requires attention to a possible problem of nonparticipation bias in surveys of this type.
PMCID: PMC3124145  PMID: 21731413
alcohol dependence; nicotine dependence; depression; health professionals; stigma
3.  Willingness to treat drug dependence and depression: comparisons of future health professionals 
Stigma-related feelings, including degree of enthusiasm and willingness to work with alcohol, drug, and mental disorder (ADM) patients, as well as anticipated success in such work, will be required for the United States to be successful in its new initiatives for ADM screening, brief intervention, and effective referral to treatment and rehabilitation services (SBIRT). This study investigates students of medicine and social work with respect to their stigma-related feelings and degree of enthusiasm or willingness to treat patients affected by alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, or major depression. Inference is strengthened by an anonymous online survey approach, with use of randomized reinforcers to gain at least partial experimental control of nonparticipation biases that otherwise are present in student survey data.
Material and methods
All students on required course rosters were asked to participate in a two-part in-class and online assessment; 222 participated, with a gradient of participation induced via randomly drawn reinforcers for online survey participation. Between-group comparisons were made with a multivariate generalized linear model and generalized estimating equations approach that adjusts for covariates.
Medical and social work students did not differ from each other with respect to their willingness to treat patients affected by major depression, alcohol dependence, or nicotine dependence, but together were less willing to treat nicotine and alcohol dependence-affected patients as compared to depression-affected patients. Personal history was not associated with the students’ willingness to treat, but men were less willing to treat. Drawing strength from the randomized reinforcer experimental design nested within this survey approach, the study evidence suggests potential nonparticipation bias in standard surveys on this topic.
These results indicate that future health professionals may prefer to treat depression as opposed to drug dependence conditions. For SBIRT success, curriculum change with educational interventions may be needed to increase willingness to treat patients with neuropsychiatric conditions such as drug dependence. Future research requires attention to a possible problem of nonparticipation bias in surveys of this type.
PMCID: PMC3124145  PMID: 21731413
alcohol dependence; nicotine dependence; depression; health professionals; stigma
4.  Telephone referral education, and evidence of retention and transfer after six-months 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:38.
Effective communication between clinicians is essential for safe, efficient healthcare. We undertook a study to determine the longer-term effectiveness of an education session employing a structured method to teach referral-making skills to medical students.
All final year medical students received a forty-five minute education intervention consisting: discussion of effective telephone referrals; video viewing and critique; explanation, demonstration and practice using ISBAR; provision of a memory aid for use in their clinical work. Audio recordings were taken during a subsequent standardised simulation scenario and blindly assessed using a validated scoring system. Recordings were taken immediately before (control), several hours after (intervention), and at approximately six months after the education. Retention of the acronym and self-reports of transfer to the clinical environment were measured with a questionnaire at eight months.
Referral clarity at six months was significantly improved from pre-intervention, and referral content showed a trend towards improvement. Both measures were lower than the immediate post-education test. The ISBAR acronym was remembered by 59.4% (n = 95/160) and used by the vast majority of the respondents who had made a clinical telephone referral (n = 135/143; 94.4%).
A brief education session improved telephone communication in a simulated environment above baseline for over six months, achieved functional retention of the acronym over a seven to eight month period and resulted in self reports of transfer of the learning into practice.
PMCID: PMC3532389  PMID: 22676409
5.  Virtual Reality Skills Training for Health Care Professionals in Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention 
Educating physicians and other health care professionals to identify and treat patients who drink above recommended limits is an ongoing challenge.
An educational Randomized Control Trial (RCT) was conducted to test the ability of a stand alone training simulation to improve the clinical skills of health care professionals in alcohol screening and intervention. The “virtual reality simulation” combines video, voice recognition and non branching logic to create an interactive environment that allows trainees to encounter complex social cues and realistic interpersonal exchanges. The simulation includes 707 questions and statements and 1207 simulated patient responses.
A sample of 102 health care professionals (10 physicians; 30 physician assistants [PAs] or nurse practitioners [NPs]; 36 medical students; 26 pharmacy, PA or NP students) were randomly assigned to no training (n=51) or a computer based virtual reality intervention (n=51). Subjects in both groups had similar pre-test standardized patient alcohol screening skill scores – 53.2 (experimental) vs. 54.4 (controls), 52.2 vs. 53.7 alcohol brief intervention skills, and 42.9 vs. 43.5 alcohol referral skills. Following repeated practice with the simulation there were significant increases in the scores of the experimental group at 6 months post-randomization compared to the control group for the screening (67.7 vs. 58.1, p<.001) and brief intervention (58.3 vs. 51.6, p<.04) scenarios.
The technology tested in this trial is the first virtual reality simulation to demonstrate an increase in the alcohol screening and brief intervention skills of health care professionals.
PMCID: PMC2709742  PMID: 19587253
6.  A Randomized Trial of Two e-Learning Strategies for Teaching Substance Abuse Management Skills to Physicians 
To compare the educational effectiveness of two virtual patient (VP)-based e-learning strategies, versus no training, in improving physicians’ substance abuse management knowledge, attitudes, self-reported behaviors, and decision-making.
The 2011–12 study was a posttest-only, three-arm, randomized controlled trial in 90 resident and 30 faculty physicians from five adult medicine primary care training programs. The intervention was one of two 2-hour VP-based e-learning programs, designed by national experts to teach structured screening, brief interventions, referral, and treatment skills. One program used traditional problem-solving with feedback (unworked example) and the other incorporated an expert demonstration first, followed by problem-solving with feedback (worked example). The main outcome measure was performance on the Physician’s Competence in Substance Abuse Test (P-CSAT, maximum score = 315), a self-administered, previously validated measure of physicians’ competence in managing substance abuse. The survey was completed at the outset of the study and two months later.
Overall P-CSAT scores were virtually identical (202–211, P > .05) between both intervention groups and the no training control group at both times. Average faculty P-CSAT scores (221.9, 224.6) were significantly higher (P < .01) than resident scores (203.7, 202.5) at both times.
This study did not provide evidence that a brief worked example VP-based e-learning program or a traditional unworked VP-based e-learning program was superior to no training in improving physicians’ substance abuse management skills. The study did provide additional evidence that the P-CSAT distinguishes between physicians who should possess different levels of substance abuse management skills.
PMCID: PMC3769087  PMID: 23887001
7.  Screening, brief interventions, referral to treatment (SBIRT) for illicit drug and alcohol use at multiple healthcare sites: Comparison at intake and six months 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2008;99(1-3):280-295.
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.
PMCID: PMC2760304  PMID: 18929451
services; treatment; prescription drug abuse; preventive medicine; marijuana; cocaine; heroin; methamphetamine; CPT® codes; primary health care; trauma centers
8.  Important Variables When Screening for Students at Suicidal Risk: Findings from the French Cohort of the SEYLE Study 
Due to early detection of mental ill-health being an important suicide preventive strategy, the multi-centre EU funded “Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe” (SEYLE) study compared three school-based mental health promotion programs to a control group. In France, 1007 students with a mean age of 15.2 years were recruited from 20 randomly assigned schools. This paper explores the French results of the SEYLE’s two-stage screening program (ProfScreen) and of the cross-program suicidal emergency procedure. Two-hundred-thirty-five ProfScreen students were screened using 13 psychopathological and risk behaviour scales. Students considered at risk because of a positive finding on one or more scales were offered a clinical interview and, if necessary, referred for treatment. A procedure for suicidal students (emergency cases) was set up to detect emergencies in the whole cohort (n = 1007). Emergency cases were offered the same clinical interview as the ProfScreen students. The interviewers documented their reasons for referrals in a short report. 16,2% of the ProfScreen students (38/235) were referred to treatment and 2,7% of the emergency cases (27/1007) were also referred to treatment due to high suicidal risk. Frequent symptoms in those students referred for evaluation were depression, alcohol misuse, non-suicidal self-injuries (NSSI), and suicidal behaviours. According to the multivariate regression analysis of ProfScreen, the results show that the best predictors for treatment referral were NSSI (OR 2.85), alcohol misuse (OR 2.80), and depressive symptoms (OR 1.13). Analysis of the proportion for each scale of students referred to treatment showed that poor social relationships (60%), anxiety (50%), and suicidal behaviours (50%) generated the highest rate of referrals. Qualitative analysis of clinician’s motivations to refer a student to mental health services revealed that depressive symptoms (51%), anxiety (38%), suicidal behaviours (40%), and negative life events (35%) were the main reasons for referrals. Thus, not only the classical psychopathological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal behaviours, but also negative life events and poor social relationships (especially isolation) motivate referrals for treatment.
PMCID: PMC4626968  PMID: 26437422
suicide; prevention; psychopathology; professional screening; two-stage screening; adolescents; French SEYLE cohort; SEYLE
9.  Brief Motivational Intervention for College Drinking: The Synergistic Impact of Social Anxiety and Perceived Drinking Norms 
Despite the efficacy of Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS), students with higher social anxiety appear vulnerable to poorer outcomes. A possible explanation for these outcomes is that corrective normative feedback (an active component of BASICS) may be less effective for socially anxious students if their beliefs about others’ drinking are less malleable due to intense fear of negative evaluation for deviating from perceived drinking norms. This study evaluated whether socially anxious students demonstrated less change in perceived norms during BASICS. We also examined whether change in norm endorsement moderated the relation between social anxiety and BASICS outcomes. Undergraduates (N = 52) who underwent BASICS completed measures of drinking, social anxiety, and perceived norms at baseline and 4-weeks post-BASICS. Higher social anxiety was related to less change in norm endorsement after receiving BASICS. Change in perceived norms during treatment moderated the relation between social anxiety and follow-up drinking. Among students with smaller change in norm endorsement after BASICS, higher social anxiety was related to heavier follow-up drinking. Among students with greater changes to norm endorsement during BASICS, the effect of social anxiety was non-significant. Results suggest that corrective perceived norms interventions may be less effective among socially anxious students, contributing to continued heavy drinking. Development of social anxiety-specific BASICS components warrants attention.
PMCID: PMC3427392  PMID: 22612254
alcohol; brief motivational intervention; social anxiety; social norms; college students
10.  Providing Web-Based Feedback and Social Norms Information to Reduce Student Alcohol Intake: A Multisite Investigation 
Unhealthy alcohol use among university students is cause for concern, yet the level of help seeking behavior for alcohol use is low within the student population. Electronic brief interventions delivered via the Internet present an alternative to traditional treatments and could enable the delivery of interventions on a population basis. Further evidence is needed of the effectiveness of Internet-delivered interventions and of their generalizability across educational institutions.
Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness across 4 UK universities of a Web-based intervention for student alcohol use.
In total, 1112 participants took part. Participants were stratified by educational institution, gender, age group, year of study, and self-reported weekly consumption of alcohol and randomly assigned to either the control arm or to the immediate or delayed intervention arms. Intervention participants gained access to the intervention between weeks 1 to 7 or weeks 8 to 15, respectively. The intervention provided electronic personalized feedback and social norms information on drinking behavior accessed by logging on to a website. Participants registered interest by completing a brief screening questionnaire and were then asked to complete 4 further assessments across the 24 weeks of the study. Assessments included a retrospective weekly drinking diary, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and a readiness-to-change algorithm. The outcome variable was the number of units of alcohol consumed in the last week. The effect of treatment arm and time on units consumed last week and average units consumed per drinking occasion were investigated using repeated measures multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA). In addition, the data were modeled using a longitudinal regression with time points clustered within students.
MANCOVA revealed a main effect of time on units of alcohol consumed over the last week. A longitudinal regression model showed an effect of assessment across time predicting that participants who completed at least 2 assessments reduced their drinking. The model predicted an additional effect of being assigned to an intervention arm, an effect that increased across time. Regression analysis predicted that being male or being assigned to an intervention arm increased the odds of not completing all assessments. The number of units of alcohol consumed over the last week at registration, age, university educational institution, and readiness to change were not predictive of completion.
Delivering an electronic personalized feedback intervention to students via the Internet can be effective in reducing weekly alcohol consumption. The effect does not appear to differ by educational institution. Our model suggested that monitoring alone is likely to reduce weekly consumption over 24 weeks but that consumption could be further reduced by providing access to a Web-based intervention. Further research is needed to understand the apparent therapeutic effect of monitoring and how this can be utilized to enhance the effectiveness of brief Web-based interventions.
PMCID: PMC3057315  PMID: 21169171
Student; eHealth; brief intervention; alcohol; Web-based interventions
11.  Physician versus non-physician delivery of alcohol screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment in adult primary care: the ADVISe cluster randomized controlled implementation trial 
Unhealthy alcohol use is a major contributor to the global burden of disease and injury. The US Preventive Services Task Force has recommended alcohol screening and intervention in general medical settings since 2004. Yet less than one in six US adults report health care professionals discussing alcohol with them. Little is known about methods for increasing implementation; different staffing models may be related to implementation effectiveness. This implementation trial compared delivery of alcohol screening, brief intervention and referral to specialty treatment (SBIRT) by physicians versus non-physician providers receiving training, technical assistance, and feedback reports.
The study was a cluster randomized implementation trial (ADVISe [Alcohol Drinking as a Vital Sign]). Within a private, integrated health care system, 54 adult primary care clinics were stratified by medical center and randomly assigned in blocked groups of three to SBIRT by physicians (PCP arm) versus non-physician providers and medical assistants (NPP and MA arm), versus usual care (Control arm). NIH-recommended screening questions were added to the electronic health record (EHR) to facilitate SBIRT. We examined screening and brief intervention and referral rates by arm. We also examined patient-, physician-, and system-level factors affecting screening rates and, among those who screened positive, rates of brief intervention and referral to treatment.
Screening rates were highest in the NPP and MA arm (51 %); followed by the PCP arm (9 %) and the Control arm (3.5 %). Screening increased over the 12 months after training in the NPP and MA arm but remained stable in the PCP arm. The PCP arm had higher brief intervention and referral rates (44 %) among patients screening positive than either the NPP and MA arm (3.4 %) or the Control arm (2.7 %). Higher ratio of MAs to physicians was related to higher screening rates in the NPP and MA arm and longer appointment times to screening and intervention rates in the PCP arm.
Findings suggest that time frames longer than 12 months may be required for full SBIRT implementation. Screening by MAs with intervention and referral by physicians as needed can be a feasible model for increasing the implementation of this critical and under-utilized preventive health service within currently predominant primary care models.
Trial registration: Clinical Trials NCT01135654
PMCID: PMC4653951  PMID: 26585638
Alcohol screening; Brief intervention for alcohol misuse; Primary care; Unhealthy alcohol use; Cluster randomized trial; Implementation
12.  Effectiveness of brief interventions as part of the screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) model for reducing the non-medical use of psychoactive substances: a systematic review protocol 
Systematic Reviews  2012;1:22.
There is a significant public health burden associated with substance use in Canada. The early detection and/or treatment of risky substance use has the potential to dramatically improve outcomes for those who experience harms from the non-medical use of psychoactive substances, particularly adolescents whose brains are still undergoing development. The Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment model is a comprehensive, integrated approach for the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for individuals experiencing substance use-related harms, as well as those who are at risk of experiencing such harm.
This article describes the protocol for a systematic review of the effectiveness of brief interventions as part of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment model for reducing the non-medical use of psychoactive substances. Studies will be selected in which brief interventions target non-medical psychoactive substance use (excluding alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine) among those 12 years and older who are opportunistically screened and deemed at risk of harms related to psychoactive substance use. We will include one-on-one verbal interventions and exclude non-verbal brief interventions (for example, the provision of information such as a pamphlet or online interventions) and group interventions. Primary, secondary and adverse outcomes of interest are prespecified. Randomized controlled trials will be included; non-randomized controlled trials, controlled before-after studies and interrupted time series designs will be considered in the absence of randomized controlled trials. We will search several bibliographic databases (for example, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, CORK) and search sources for grey literature. We will meta-analyze studies where possible. We will conduct subgroup analyses, if possible, according to drug class and intervention setting.
This review will provide evidence on the effectiveness of brief interventions as part of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment protocol aimed at the non-medical use of psychoactive substances and may provide guidance as to where future research might be most beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3433383  PMID: 22587894
Brief intervention; Drug use; Psychoactive substance; Referral to treatment; SBIRT; Screening; Substance use; Systematic review
13.  Screening Mammography for Women Aged 40 to 49 Years at Average Risk for Breast Cancer 
Executive Summary
The aim of this review was to determine the effectiveness of screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years at average risk for breast cancer.
Clinical Need
The effectiveness of screening mammography in women aged over 50 years has been established, yet the issue of screening in women aged 40 to 49 years is still unsettled. The Canadian Task Force of Preventive Services, which sets guidelines for screening mammography for all provinces, supports neither the inclusion nor the exclusion of this screening procedure for 40- to 49-year-old women from the periodic health examination. In addition to this, 2 separate reviews, one conducted in Quebec in 2005 and the other in Alberta in 2000, each concluded that there is an absence of convincing evidence on the effectiveness of screening mammography for women in this age group who are at average risk for breast cancer.
In the United States, there is disagreement among organizations on whether population-based mammography should begin at the age of 40 or 50 years. The National Institutes of Health, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend against screening women in their 40s, whereas the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend screening mammograms for women aged 40 to 49 years. Furthermore, in comparing screening guidelines between Canada and the United States, it is also important to recognize that “standard care” within a socialized medical system such as Canada’s differs from that of the United States. The National Breast Screening Study (NBSS-1), a randomized screening trial conducted in multiple centres across Canada, has shown there is no benefit in mortality from breast cancer from annual mammograms in women randomized between the ages of 40 and 49, relative to standard care (i.e. physical exam and teaching of breast-self examination on entry to the study, with usual community care thereafter).
At present, organized screening programs in Canada systematically screen women starting at 50 years of age, although with a physician’s referral, a screening mammogram is an insured service in Ontario for women under 50 years of age.
International estimates of the epidemiology of breast cancer show that the incidence of breast cancer is increasing for all ages combined, whereas mortality is decreasing, though at a slower rate. These decreasing mortality rates may be attributed to screening and advances in breast cancer therapy over time. Decreases in mortality attributable to screening may be a result of the earlier detection and treatment of invasive cancers, in addition to the increased detection of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), of which certain subpathologies are less lethal. Evidence from the SEER cancer registry in the United States indicates that the age-adjusted incidence of DCIS has increased almost 10-fold over a 20-year period (from 2.7 to 25 per 100,000).
The incidence of breast cancer is lower in women aged 40 to 49 years than in women aged 50 to 69 years (about 140 per 100,000 versus 500 per 100,000 women, respectively), as is the sensitivity (about 75% versus 85% for women aged under and over 50, respectively) and specificity of mammography (about 80% versus 90% for women aged under and over 50, respectively). The increased density of breast tissue in younger women is mainly responsible for the lower accuracy of this procedure in this age group. In addition, as the proportion of breast cancers that occur before the age of 50 are more likely to be associated with genetic predisposition as compared with those diagnosed in women after the age of 50, mammography may not be an optimal screening method for younger women.
Treatment options vary with the stage of disease (based on tumor size, involvement of surrounding tissue, and number of affected axillary lymph nodes) and its pathology, and may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiotherapy.
Surgery is the first-line intervention for biopsy confirmed tumours. The subsequent use of radiation, chemotherapy, or hormonal treatments is dependent on the histopathologic characteristics of the tumor and the type of surgery. There is controversy regarding the optimal treatment of DCIS, which is noninvasive.
With such controversy as to the effectiveness of mammography and the potential risk associated with women being overtreated or actual cancers being missed, and the increased risk of breast cancer associated with exposure to annual mammograms over a 10-year period, the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee requested this review of screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years at average risk for breast cancer. This review is the first of 2 parts and concentrates on the effectiveness of screening mammography (i.e., film mammography, FM) for women at average risk aged 40 to 49 years. The second part will be an evaluation of screening by either magnetic resonance imaging or digital mammography, with the objective of determining the optimal screening modality in these younger women.
Review Strategy
The following questions were asked:
Does screening mammography for women aged 40 to 49 years who are at average risk for breast cancer reduce breast cancer mortality?
What is the sensitivity and specificity of mammography for this age group?
What are the risks associated with annual screening from ages 40 to 49?
What are the risks associated with false positive and false negative mammography results?
What are the economic considerations if evidence for effectiveness is established?
The Medical Advisory Secretariat followed its standard procedures and searched these electronic databases: Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment.
Keywords used in the search were breast cancer, breast neoplasms, mass screening, and mammography.
In total, the search yielded 6,359 articles specific to breast cancer screening and mammography. This did not include reports on diagnostic mammograms. The search was further restricted to English-language randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews, and meta-analyses published between 1995 and 2005. Excluded were case reports, comments, editorials, and letters, which narrowed the results to 516 articles and previous health technology policy assessments.
These were examined against the criteria outlined below. This resulted in the inclusion of 5 health technology assessments, the Canadian Preventive Services Task Force report, the United States Preventive Services Task Force report, 1 Cochrane review, and 8 RCTs.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles, and English and French-language health technology policy assessments, conducted by other organizations, from 1995 to 2005
Articles specific to RCTs of screening mammography of women at average risk for breast cancer that included results for women randomized to studies between the ages of 40 and 49 years
Studies in which women were randomized to screening with or without mammography, although women may have had clinical breast examinations and/or may have been conducting breast self-examination.
UK Age Trial results published in December 2006.
Exclusion Criteria
Observational studies, including those nested within RCTs
RCTs that do not include results on women between the ages of 40 and 49 at randomization
Studies in which mammography was compared with other radiologic screening modalities, for example, digital mammography, magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound.
Studies in which women randomized had a personal history of breast cancer.
Film mammography
Within RCTs, the comparison group would have been women randomized to not undergo screening mammography, although they may have had clinical breast examinations and/or have been conducting breast self-examination.
Outcomes of Interest
Breast cancer mortality
Summary of Findings
There is Level 1 Canadian evidence that screening women between the ages of 40 and 49 years who are at average risk for breast cancer is not effective, and that the absence of a benefit is sustained over a maximum follow-up period of 16 years.
All remaining studies that reported on women aged under 50 years were based on subset analyses. They provide additional evidence that, when all these RCTs are taken into account, there is no significant reduction in breast cancer mortality associated with screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years.
There is Level 1 evidence that screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years at average risk for breast cancer is not effective in reducing mortality.
Moreover, risks associated with exposure to mammographic radiation, the increased risk of missed cancers due to lower mammographic sensitivity, and the psychological impact of false positives, are not inconsequential.
The UK Age Trial results published in December 2006 did not change these conclusions.
PMCID: PMC3377515  PMID: 23074501
14.  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
15.  An Evidence-Based Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Curriculum for Emergency Department (ED) Providers Improves Skills and Utilization 
Emergency Departments (EDs) offer an opportunity to improve the care of patients with at-risk and dependent drinking by teaching staff to screen, perform brief intervention and refer to treatment (SBIRT). We describe here the implementation at 14 Academic EDs of a structured SBIRT curriculum to determine if this learning experience improves provider beliefs and practices.
ED faculty, residents, nurses, physician extenders, social workers, and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) were surveyed prior to participating in either a two hour interactive workshops with case simulations, or a web-based program ( A pre-post repeated measures design assessed changes in provider beliefs and practices at three and 12 months post-exposure.
Among 402 ED providers, 74% reported < 10 hours of prior professional alcohol-related education and 78% had < 2 hours exposure in the previous year. At 3-month follow-up, scores for self-reported confidence in ability, responsibility to intervene, and actual utilization of SBIRT skills all improved significantly over baseline. Gains decreased somewhat at 12 months, but remained above baseline. Length of time in practice was positively associated with SBIRT utilization, controlling for gender, race and type of profession. Persistent barriers included time limitations and lack of referral resources.
ED providers respond favorably to SBIRT. Changes in utilization were substantial at three months post-exposure to a standardized curriculum, but less apparent after 12 months. Booster sessions, trained assistants and infrastructure supports may be needed to sustain changes over the longer term.
PMCID: PMC3976968  PMID: 18077305
Brief intervention; alcohol screening; substance abuse; alcohol education
16.  Web-based SBIRT Skills Training for Health Professional Students and Primary Care Providers 
Substance Abuse  2012;33(3):316-320.
We have developed and assessed two innovative, case-based, interactive training programs on substance abuse, one for health professional students on alcohol and one for primary care providers on SBIRT. Both programs build skills in substance abuse screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT). Real-world effectiveness trials involving medical students (n=10); nursing students (n=60) were completed; trials involving primary care providers (n=65) are in progress during 2011. Medical students and nursing students had similarly low baseline scores on assessments that benefited from training: knowledge, confidence and clinical performance measured via an online standardized patient case and encounter note all improved post-training. Preliminary results indicate that practicing providers improved on knowledge, attitude, and brief intervention skill performance after a similar training. Results suggest that SBIRT skills can be improved with this model for case-based interactive training programs, and thus, that this training has the potential to impact patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3398837  PMID: 22738013
SBIRT; screening; brief intervention; referral to treatment; simulated clinical experience; simulated electronic medical record
17.  Brief Intervention for Drug Users Presenting in Emergency Departments (NIDA CTN Protocol 0047: SMART-ED) 
JAMA internal medicine  2014;174(11):1736-1745.
Medical treatment settings such as Emergency Departments (EDs) present important opportunities to address problematic substance use. Currently, EDs do not typically intervene beyond acute medical stabilization.
To contrast the effects of a brief intervention with telephone boosters (BI-B) to those of screening, assessment, and referral to treatment (SAR) and minimal screening only (MSO) among drug-using ED patients.
Between October 2010 and February 2012, 1285 patients were randomized to MSO (n = 431), SAR (n = 427), or BI-B (n = 427). Follow-up assessments were conducted at 3, 6, and 12 months by blinded interviewers.
EDs of six academic hospitals in the U.S.
Participants were adult ED patients scoring ≥ 3 on the 10-item Drug Abuse Screening Test (indicating moderate to severe problems related to drug use) and currently using drugs.
Following screening, MSO participants received only an informational pamphlet. SAR participants received assessment plus referral to addiction treatment if indicated. BI-B participants received assessment and referral as in SAR, plus a manual-guided counseling session based on motivational interviewing principles and up to 2 “booster” sessions by telephone during the month following the ED visit.
Outcomes evaluated at follow-up visits included self-reported days using the patient-defined primary problem drug, days using any drug, days of heavy drinking, and drug use based on analysis of hair samples.
Follow-up rates were 88%, 86%, and 81% at 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. There were no significant differences between groups in self-reported days using the primary drug, days using any drug, or heavy drinking days at 3, 6, or 12 months. At the 3-month follow-up, participants in the SAR group had a higher rate of hair samples positive for their primary drug of abuse (265/280, 95%) than did participants in the MSO group (253/287, 88%) or the BI-B group (244/275, 89%). Hair analysis differences between groups at other time points were not significant.
In this sample of drug users seeking emergency medical treatment, a relatively robust brief intervention did not improve substance use outcomes. More work is needed to determine how drug use disorders may be addressed effectively in the ED.
PMCID: PMC4238921  PMID: 25179753
18.  Changes in clients' care ratings after HIV prevention training of hospital workers in Malawi 
To examine the changes in clients' health-care ratings before and after hospital workers received an HIV prevention intervention in Malawi, which increased the workers' personal and work-related HIV prevention knowledge, attitudes and preventive behaviors.
Pre- and post-intervention client surveys.
A large urban referral hospital in Malawi.
Clients at purposefully selected inpatient and outpatient units on designated days (baseline, n = 310 clients; final, n = 683).
Ten-session peer-group intervention for health workers focused on HIV transmission, personal and work-related prevention, treating clients and families respectfully and incorporating HIV-related teaching.
Main Outcome Measures
Brief face-to-face clients' interview obtaining ratings of confidentiality of HIV, whether HIV-related teaching occurred and ratings of service quality.
Compared with baseline, at the final survey, clients reported higher confidence about confidentiality of clients' HIV status (83 vs. 75%, P < 0.01) and more clients reported that a health worker talked to them about HIV and AIDS (37 versus 28%, P< 0.01). More clients rated overall health services as ‘very good’ (five-item mean rating, 68 versus 59%, P< 0.01) and this was true for both inpatients and outpatients examined separately. However, there was no improvement in ratings of the courtesy of laboratory or pharmacy workers or of the adequacy of treatment instructions in the pharmacy.
HIV prevention training for health workers can have positive effects on clients' ratings of services, including HIV-related confidentiality and teaching, and should be scaled-up throughout Malawi and in other similar countries. Hospitals need to improve laboratory and pharmacy services.
PMCID: PMC3297367  PMID: 22215760
patient satisfaction; HIV; intervention studies; health personnel; Malawi
19.  The Effectiveness of Emergency Obstetric Referral Interventions in Developing Country Settings: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001264.
In a systematic review of the literature, Julia Hussein and colleagues seek to determine the effect of referral interventions that enable emergency access to health facilities for pregnant women living in developing countries.
Pregnancy complications can be unpredictable and many women in developing countries cannot access health facilities where life-saving care is available. This study assesses the effects of referral interventions that enable pregnant women to reach health facilities during an emergency, after the decision to seek care is made.
Methods and findings
Selected bibliographic databases were searched with no date or language restrictions. Randomised controlled trials and quasi experimental study designs with a comparison group were included. Outcomes of interest included maternal and neonatal mortality and other intermediate measures such as service utilisation. Two reviewers independently selected, appraised, and extracted articles using predefined fields. Forest plots, tables, and qualitative summaries of study quality, size, and direction of effect were used for analysis.
Nineteen studies were included. In South Asian settings, four studies of organisational interventions in communities that generated funds for transport reduced neonatal deaths, with the largest effect seen in India (odds ratio 0·48 95% CI 0·34–0·68). Three quasi experimental studies from sub-Saharan Africa reported reductions in stillbirths with maternity waiting home interventions, with one statistically significant result (OR 0.56 95% CI 0.32–0.96). Effects of interventions on maternal mortality were unclear. Referral interventions usually improved utilisation of health services but the opposite effect was also documented. The effects of multiple interventions in the studies could not be disentangled. Explanatory mechanisms through which the interventions worked could not be ascertained.
Community mobilisation interventions may reduce neonatal mortality but the contribution of referral components cannot be ascertained. The reduction in stillbirth rates resulting from maternity waiting homes needs further study. Referral interventions can have unexpected adverse effects. To inform the implementation of effective referral interventions, improved monitoring and evaluation practices are necessary, along with studies that develop better understanding of how interventions work.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, about 350,000 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications. Almost all of these “maternal” deaths occur in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR, the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) is 500 and a woman's life-time risk of dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 39. By contrast, the MMR in industrialized countries is 12 and women have a life-time risk of maternal death of 1 in 4,700. Most maternal deaths are caused by hemorrhage (severe bleeding after childbirth), post-delivery infections, obstructed (difficult) labor, and blood pressure disorders during pregnancy, all of which are preventable or treatable conditions. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict which women will develop pregnancy complications, many complications rapidly become life-threatening and, in developing countries, women often deliver at home, far from emergency obstetric services; obstetrics deals with the care of women and their children during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period.
Why Was This Study Done?
It should be possible to reduce maternal deaths (and the deaths of babies during pregnancy, childbirth, and early life) in developing countries by ensuring that pregnant women are referred to emergency obstetric services quickly when the need arises. Unfortunately, in such countries referral to emergency obstetric care is beset with problems such as difficult geographical terrain, transport costs, lack of vehicles, and suboptimal location and distribution of health care facilities. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers assess the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce the “phase II delay” in referral to emergency obstetric care in developing countries—the time it takes a woman to reach an appropriate health care facility once a problem has been recognized and the decision has been taken to seek care. Delays in diagnosis and the decision to seek care are phase I delays in referral, whereas delays in receiving care once a women reaches a health care facility are phase III delays.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 published studies that described 14 interventions designed to overcome phase II delays in emergency obstetric referral and that met their criteria for inclusion in their systematic review. About half of the interventions were organizational. That is, they were designed to overcome barriers to referral such as costs. Most of the remaining interventions were structural. That is, they involved the provision of, for example, ambulances and maternity waiting homes—placed close to a health care facility where women can stay during late pregnancy. Although seven studies provided data on maternal mortality, none showed a sustained, statistically significant reduction (a reduction unlikely to have occurred by chance) in maternal deaths. Four studies in South Asia in which communities generated funds for transport reduced neonatal deaths (deaths of babies soon after birth), but the only statistically significant effect of this community mobilization intervention was seen in India where neonatal deaths were halved. Three studies from sub-Saharan Africa reported that the introduction of maternity waiting homes reduced stillbirths but this reduction was only significant in one study. Finally, although referral interventions generally improved the utilization of health services, in one study the provision of bicycle ambulances to take women to the hospital reduced the proportion of women delivering in health facilities, probably because women felt that bicycle ambulances drew unwanted attention to them during labor and so preferred to stay at home.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that community mobilization interventions may reduce neonatal mortality and that maternity waiting rooms may reduce stillbirths. Importantly, they also highlight how referral interventions can have unexpected adverse effects. However, because the studies included in this systematic review included multiple interventions designed to reduce delays at several stages of the referral process, it is not possible to disentangle the contribution of each component of the intervention. Moreover, it is impossible at present to determine why (or even if) any of the interventions reduced maternal mortality. Thus, the researchers conclude, improved monitoring of interventions and better evaluation of outcomes is essential to inform the implementation of effective referral interventions, and more studies are needed to improve understanding of how referral interventions work.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provides information on maternal mortality, including the WHO/UNICEF./UNFPA/World Bank 2008 country estimates of maternal mortality
The World Health Organization provides information on maternal health, including information about Millennium Development Goal 5, which aims to reduce maternal mortality (in several languages); the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by world leaders in 2000, are designed to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide by 2015
Immpact is a global research initiative for the evaluation of safe motherhood intervention strategies
Veil of Tears contains personal stories from Afghanistan about loss in childbirth; the non-governmental health development organization AMREF provides personal stories about maternal health in Africa
Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis is a briefing paper published by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in March 2012
PMCID: PMC3393680  PMID: 22807658
20.  Brief intervention to reduce risky drinking in pregnancy: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:174.
Risky drinking in pregnancy by UK women is likely to result in many alcohol-exposed pregnancies. Studies from the USA suggest that brief intervention has promise for alcohol risk reduction in antenatal care. However, further research is needed to establish whether this evidence from the USA is applicable to the UK. This pilot study aims to investigate whether pregnant women can be recruited and retained in a randomized controlled trial of brief intervention aimed at reducing risky drinking in women receiving antenatal care.
The trial will rehearse the parallel-group, non-blinded design and procedures of a subsequent definitive trial. Over 8 months, women aged 18 years and over (target number 2,742) attending their booking appointment with a community midwife (n = 31) in north-east England will be screened for alcohol consumption using the consumption questions of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C). Those screening positive, without a history of substance use or alcohol dependence, with no pregnancy complication, and able to give informed consent, will be invited to participate in the trial (target number 120). Midwives will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio to deliver either treatment as usual (control) or structured brief advice and referral for a 20-minute motivational interviewing session with an alcohol health worker (intervention). As well as demographic and health information, baseline measures will include two 7-day time line follow-back questionnaires and the EuroQoL EQ-5D-3 L questionnaire. Measures will be repeated in telephone follow-ups in the third trimester and at 6 months post-partum, when a questionnaire on use of National Health Service and social care resources will also be completed. Information on pregnancy outcomes and stillbirths will be accessed from central health service records before the follow-ups. Primary outcomes will be rates of eligibility, recruitment, intervention delivery, and retention in the study population, to inform power calculations for a definitive trial. The health-economics component will establish how cost-effectiveness will be assessed, and examine which data on health service resource use should be collected in a main trial. Participants’ views on instruments and procedures will be sought to confirm their acceptability.
The study will produce a full trial protocol with robust sample-size calculations to extend evidence on effectiveness of screening and brief intervention.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43218782
PMCID: PMC3543230  PMID: 23006975
Pregnancy; Alcohol; Screening; Brief intervention; Trial; Midwife; Motivational interviewing; Public health
21.  Randomized Controlled Trial of BASICS for Heavy Drinking Mandated and Volunteer Undergraduates: 12-Month Outcomes 
This is the first randomized trial testing whether heavy drinking undergraduates mandated to the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) program following a campus alcohol violation would benefit as much as heavy drinking volunteers up to one year post-intervention using control groups with high-risk drinkers to model disciplinary-related and naturalistic changes in drinking. Participants (61% male; 51% mandated; 84% Caucasian; Mage = 20.14 years) were screened for heavy drinking and randomized to BASICS (n = 115) or assessment-only control (n = 110). Outcome measures (drinking, alcohol problems) were collected at baseline, 4 weeks, 3, 6, and 12 months post-intervention. At 4 weeks post-intervention, intent-to-treat multilevel longitudinal models showed that regardless of referral group (mandated or volunteer) BASICS significantly decreased weekly drinking, typical drinks, and peak drinks relative to controls (ds = .41-.92). BASICS had a large effect on decreases in alcohol problems (d = .87). At 12 months post-intervention, BASICS participants (regardless of referral group) reported significantly fewer alcohol problems (d = .56) compared to controls. Significant long-term intervention gains for peak and typical drinks were sustained in both referral groups relative to controls (ds = .42; .11). Referral group had no significant main effect and did not interact with intervention condition to predict outcomes. Given that BASICS was associated with less drinking and fewer alcohol problems (even among heavier drinking mandated students up to one year post-intervention), provision of BASICS-style programs within disciplinary settings may help reduce heavy and problematic drinking among at-risk students.
PMCID: PMC4388044  PMID: 25844834
alcohol abuse prevention; brief intervention; college drinking; mandated students; treatment outcome
22.  Providing competency-based family medicine residency training in substance abuse in the new millennium: a model curriculum 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:33.
This article, developed for the Betty Ford Institute Consensus Conference on Graduate Medical Education (December, 2008), presents a model curriculum for Family Medicine residency training in substance abuse.
The authors reviewed reports of past Family Medicine curriculum development efforts, previously-identified barriers to education in high risk substance use, approaches to overcoming these barriers, and current training guidelines of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and their Family Medicine Residency Review Committee. A proposed eight-module curriculum was developed, based on substance abuse competencies defined by Project MAINSTREAM and linked to core competencies defined by the ACGME. The curriculum provides basic training in high risk substance use to all residents, while also addressing current training challenges presented by U.S. work hour regulations, increasing international diversity of Family Medicine resident trainees, and emerging new primary care practice models.
This paper offers a core curriculum, focused on screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment, which can be adapted by residency programs to meet their individual needs. The curriculum encourages direct observation of residents to ensure that core skills are learned and trains residents with several "new skills" that will expand the basket of substance abuse services they will be equipped to provide as they enter practice.
Broad-based implementation of a comprehensive Family Medicine residency curriculum should increase the ability of family physicians to provide basic substance abuse services in a primary care context. Such efforts should be coupled with faculty development initiatives which ensure that sufficient trained faculty are available to teach these concepts and with efforts by major Family Medicine organizations to implement and enforce residency requirements for substance abuse training.
PMCID: PMC2885404  PMID: 20459842
23.  Mandated College Students’ Response to Sequentially-Administered Alcohol Interventions in a Randomized Clinical Trial Using Stepped Care 
Students referred to school administration for alcohol policies violations currently receive a wide variety of interventions. This study examined predictors of response to two interventions delivered to mandated college students (N = 598) using a stepped care approach incorporating a peer-delivered 15-minute BA session (BA; Step 1) and a 60–90 minute brief motivational intervention delivered by trained interventionists (BMI; Step 2).
Analyses were completed in two stages. First, three types of variables (screening variables, alcohol-related cognitions, mandated student profile) were examined in a logistic regression model as putative predictors of lower-risk drinking (defined as 3 or fewer heavy episodic drinking [HED] episodes and/or 4 or fewer alcohol-related consequences in the past month) six weeks following the BA session. Second, we used generalized estimating equations to examine putative moderators of BMI effects on HED and peak blood alcohol content (pBAC) compared to assessment-only control (AO) over the 3, 6, and 9 month follow-ups.
Participants reporting lower scores on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), more benefits to changing alcohol use, and those who fit the ‘Bad Incident’ profile at baseline were more likely to report lower risk drinking 6 weeks after the BA session. Moderation analyses revealed that ‘Bad Incident’ students who received the BMI reported more HED at 9-month follow up than those who received AO.
Current alcohol use as well as personal reaction to the referral event may have clinical utility in identifying which mandated students benefit from treatments of varying content and intensity.
PMCID: PMC4738020  PMID: 26460571
alcohol; brief advice; brief motivational intervention; peers
24.  Study design to examine the potential role of assessment reactivity in the Screening, Motivational Assessment, Referral, and Treatment in Emergency Departments (SMART-ED) protocol 
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. Identifier
PMCID: PMC3599426  PMID: 23186329
Assessment reactivity; Brief intervention; SBIRT; Clinical trials; Research design
25.  Reflections on How a University Binge Drinking Prevention Initiative Supports Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral for Student Alcohol Use 
What’s Your Cap: Know When to Put a Lid on Drinking (WYC) is a student-led and research-based binge-drinking prevention campaign at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. It was formed to encourage a culture of alcohol moderation on the university campus through peer-to-peer engagement that emphasizes promotional items and activities of interest to students. Since its development in 2011, WYC has been guided by a logic model that promotes: 1) perceived and actual student drinking norms on campus; 2) benefits of a student-led initiative; and 3) merits of working with community partners. With the release of a clinical guide in Canada for alcohol screening, brief intervention, and referral (SBIR) in 2013, WYC was prompted to consider whether it is a form of population-based SBIR. SBIR is commonly undertaken in the substance use field by health care practitioners, and this paper shares the potential for a student-based SBIR modification on a university campus.
PMCID: PMC4553656  PMID: 26339219
alcohol; university students; drinking norms; student-led initiative; community partnerships; SBIR

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