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1.  Psychosocial Interventions for Alcohol Use Among Problem Drug Users: Protocol for a Feasibility Study in Primary Care 
JMIR Research Protocols  2013;2(2):e26.
Background
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.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.2196/resprot.2678
PMCID: PMC3742410  PMID: 23912883
complex intervention; screening; brief intervention; alcohol; methadone maintenance; primary health care; general practice; substance-related disorders
2.  The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of opportunistic screening and stepped care interventions for older hazardous alcohol users in primary care (AESOPS) – A randomised control trial protocol 
Background
There is a wealth of evidence regarding the detrimental impact of excessive alcohol consumption. In older populations excessive alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke and a range of cancers. Alcohol consumption is also associated with an increased risk of falls, early onset of dementia and other cognitive deficits. Physiological changes that occur as part of the ageing process mean that older people experience alcohol related problems at lower consumption levels. There is a strong evidence base for the effectiveness of brief psychosocial interventions in reducing alcohol consumption in populations identified opportunistically in primary care settings. Stepped care interventions involve the delivery of more intensive interventions only to those in the population who fail to respond to less intensive interventions and provide a potentially resource efficient means of meeting the needs of this population.
Methods/design
The study design is a pragmatic prospective multi-centre two arm randomised controlled trial. The primary hypothesis is that stepped care interventions for older hazardous alcohol users reduce alcohol consumption compared with a minimal intervention at 12 months post randomisation. Potential participants are identified using the AUDIT questionnaire. Eligible and consenting participants are randomised with equal probability to either a minimal intervention or a three step treatment approach. The step treatment approach incorporates as step 1 behavioural change counselling, step 2 three sessions of motivational enhancement therapy and step 3 referral to specialist services. The primary outcome is measured using average standard drinks per day and secondary outcome measures include the Drinking Problems Index, health related quality of life and health utility. The study incorporates a comprehensive economic analysis to assess the relative cost-effectiveness of the interventions.
Discussion
The paper presents a protocol for the first pragmatic randomised controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of stepped care interventions for older hazardous alcohol users in primary care.
Trial registration
ISRCTN52557360
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-129
PMCID: PMC2442836  PMID: 18549492
3.  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
4.  Barriers and Facilitators in Implementing “Prevention for Positives” Alcohol Reduction Support: The Perspectives of Directors and Providers in Hospital-Based HIV Care Centers 
HIV-infected patients have considerable need for alcohol reduction support, and HIV care providers are strategically placed to implement a “prevention for positives” alcohol reduction approach through alcohol screening and brief interventions (SBIs). To facilitate this approach, we provided alcohol SBI education and training to HIV care providers in four hospital-based, New York City HIV Care Centers in 2007. Interviews with the medical directors and 14 of the HIV care providers who attended the training identified barriers to implementing alcohol SBIs. These included limited time for alcohol screening, patients’ incomplete disclosure of alcohol use, providers’ perceptions that alcohol use is not a major problem for their patients, and provider specialization that assigns patients with problematic alcohol use to specifically designated providers. Identified facilitators for alcohol SBI implementation included adequate time to conduct the SBI; availability of information, tools, and key points to emphasize with HIV-infected patients; and use of a brief alcohol screening tool.
doi:10.1016/j.jana.2011.03.001
PMCID: PMC3157576  PMID: 21570321
alcohol; barriers and facilitators; brief intervention; HIV; prevention for positives
5.  Do Health Educator Telephone Calls Reduce At-risk Drinking Among Older Adults in Primary Care? 
Background
Alcohol screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol use has not been consistently delivered in primary care as part of preventive healthcare.
Objective
To explore whether telephone-based intervention delivered by a health educator is efficacious in reducing at-risk drinking among older adults in primary care settings.
Design
Secondary analyses of data from a randomized controlled trial.
Participants
Subjects randomized to the intervention arm of the trial (n = 310).
Interventions
Personalized risk reports, advice from physicians, booklet about alcohol and aging, and up to three telephone calls from a health educator. All interventions were completed before the three-month follow-up.
Measurements
Risk outcomes (at-risk or not at-risk) at 3 and 12 months after enrollment.
Main results
In univariate analyses, compared to those who remained at risk, those who achieved not at-risk outcome at 3 months were more likely to be women, Hispanic or non-white, have lower levels of education, consume less alcohol, drink less frequently, and have lower baseline number of risks. In mixed-effects logistic regression models, completing all three health educator calls increased the odds of achieving not at-risk outcome compared to not completing any calls at 3 months (OR 5.31; 95% CI 1.92–14.7; p = 0.001), but not at 12 months (OR 2.01; 95% CI 0.71–5.67; p = 0.18).
Conclusions
Telephone-based intervention delivered by a health educator was moderately efficacious in reducing at-risk drinking at 3 months after enrollment among older adults receiving a multi-faceted intervention in primary care settings; however, the effect was not sustained at 12 months.
doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1223-2
PMCID: PMC2842558  PMID: 20101471
alcohol; telephone intervention; health educator; at-risk drinking
6.  Screening in brief intervention trials targeting excessive drinkers in general practice: systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;327(7414):536-542.
Objective To determine the effectiveness of programmes of screening in general practice for excessive alcohol use and providing brief interventions.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials that used screening as a precursor to brief intervention.
Setting General practice.
Main outcome measures Number needed to treat, proportion of patients positive on screening, proportion given brief interventions, and effect of screening.
Results The eight studies included for meta-analysis all used health questionnaires for screening, and the brief interventions included feedback, information, and advice. The studies contained several sources of bias that might lead to overestimates of the effects of intervention. External validity was compromised because typically three out of four people identified by screening as excessive users of alcohol did not qualify for the intervention after a secondary assessment. Overall, in 1000 screened patients, 90 screened positive and required further assessment, after which 25 qualified for brief intervention; after one year 2.6 (95% confidence interval 1.7 to 3.4) reported they drank less than the maximum recommended level.
Conclusions Although even brief advice can reduce excessive drinking, screening in general practice does not seem to be an effective precursor to brief interventions targeting excessive alcohol use. This meta-analysis raises questions about the feasibility of screening in general practice for excessive use of alcohol.
PMCID: PMC192891  PMID: 12958114
7.  Screening for alcohol and drug use disorders among adults in primary care: a review 
Background
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 supports integration of substance abuse interventions and treatments into the mainstream health care system. Thus, effective screening and intervention for substance use disorders in health care settings is a priority.
Objective
This paper reviews the prevalence of alcohol and drug use disorders (abuse or dependence) in primary care settings and emergency departments, as well as current screening tools and brief interventions.
Methods
MEDLINE was searched using the following keywords: alcohol use, alcohol use disorder, drug use, drug use disorder, screening, primary care, and emergency departments. Using the related-articles link, additional articles were screened for inclusion. This review focuses on alcohol and drug use and related disorders among adults in primary care settings.
Conclusion
Screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment are feasible and effective in primary care settings, provided that funding for screening is available, along with brief interventions and treatment facilities to which patients can be referred and treated promptly.
doi:10.2147/SAR.S30057
PMCID: PMC3339489  PMID: 22553426
brief intervention; emergency departments
8.  Screening for alcohol and drug use disorders among adults in primary care: a review 
Background
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 supports integration of substance abuse interventions and treatments into the mainstream health care system. Thus, effective screening and intervention for substance use disorders in health care settings is a priority.
Objective
This paper reviews the prevalence of alcohol and drug use disorders (abuse or dependence) in primary care settings and emergency departments, as well as current screening tools and brief interventions.
Methods
MEDLINE was searched using the following keywords: alcohol use, alcohol use disorder, drug use, drug use disorder, screening, primary care, and emergency departments. Using the related-articles link, additional articles were screened for inclusion. This review focuses on alcohol and drug use and related disorders among adults in primary care settings.
Conclusion
Screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment are feasible and effective in primary care settings, provided that funding for screening is available, along with brief interventions and treatment facilities to which patients can be referred and treated promptly.
doi:10.2147/SAR.S30057
PMCID: PMC3339489  PMID: 22553426
brief intervention; emergency departments
9.  Health on the web: randomised trial of work-based online screening and brief intervention for hazardous and harmful drinking 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:505.
Background
Alcohol misuse is a significant international public health problem. Screening and brief intervention (SBI) in primary care reduces alcohol consumption by about 15 – 30%, sustained over 12 months in hazardous or harmful drinkers but implementation has proved difficult leading to growing interest in exploring the effectiveness of SBI in other settings, including the workplace. Computerised interventions for alcohol misuse can be as effective as traditional face-to-face interventions and may have advantages, including anonymity, convenience and availability.
Methods/design
Individually randomised controlled trial to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of offering online screening and brief intervention for alcohol misuse in a workplace. Participants: adults (aged 18 or over) employed by participating employers scoring 5 or more on a three item screen for alcohol misuse (the AUDIT-C) indicating possible hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption, recruited through the offer of an online health check providing screening for a range of health behaviours with personalised feedback. Participants who accept the health check and score 5 or more on the alcohol screen will be randomised to receiving immediate feedback on their alcohol consumption and access to an online intervention offering support in reducing alcohol consumption (Down Your Drink) or delayed feedback and access to Down Your Drink after completion of follow-up data at three months. All employees who take the online health check will receive personalised feedback on other screened health behaviours including diet, physical activity, smoking, and body mass index. The primary outcome is alcohol consumption in the past week at three months; secondary outcomes are the AUDIT, EQ-5D, days off work, number and duration of hospital admissions, costs and use of the intervention. A sample size of 1,472 participants (736 in each arm) provides 90% power with 5% significance to determine a 20% reduction in alcohol consumption. Outcomes between groups at three months will be compared following the intention to treat principle and economic analyses will follow NICE guidance.
Discussion
This innovative design avoids recruitment bias by not mentioning alcohol in the invitation and avoids reactivity of assessment by not collecting baseline data on alcohol consumption.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-505
PMCID: PMC3671166  PMID: 23706155
Alcohol-related disorders; Alcohol; Screening and brief intervention; Internet; Randomised; Controlled trial; Workplace; Health promotion
10.  Brief Alcohol Intervention Among At-Risk Drinkers with Diabetes 
Twenty-eight patients with diabetes who screened positive for at-risk drinking were assigned to brief alcohol intervention (BAI) (n = 14) or standard care (SC) (n = 14) treatment conditions. All participants completed a baseline interview and one-, three, and six-month follow-up interviews. Across the six-month follow-up period, there was a significantly greater reduction in quantity of alcohol consumed in the BAI group. At the six-month follow-up, the BAI group had a greater reduction in quantity of alcohol consumed, percentage of heavy drinking days, and frequency of drinking. Reductions in alcohol use were associated with improved adherence in certain components of diabetes self-care behavior. The results of this study suggest that brief alcohol interventions are efficacious in reducing alcohol use among at-risk drinkers with diabetes and that reductions in alcohol use may result in some improvements in adherence to diabetes self-care behavior.
PMCID: PMC2841352  PMID: 20305798
diabetes; at-risk drinking; brief alcohol intervention
11.  Brief Alcohol Intervention Among At-Risk Drinkers with Diabetes 
Twenty-eight patients with diabetes who screened positive for at-risk drinking were assigned to brief alcohol intervention (BAI) (n = 14) or standard care (SC) (n = 14) treatment conditions. All participants completed a baseline interview and one-, three, and six-month follow-up interviews. Across the six-month follow-up period, there was a significantly greater reduction in quantity of alcohol consumed in the BAI group. At the six-month follow-up, the BAI group had a greater reduction in quantity of alcohol consumed, percentage of heavy drinking days, and frequency of drinking. Reductions in alcohol use were associated with improved adherence in certain components of diabetes self-care behavior. The results of this study suggest that brief alcohol interventions are efficacious in reducing alcohol use among at-risk drinkers with diabetes and that reductions in alcohol use may result in some improvements in adherence to diabetes self-care behavior.
PMCID: PMC2841352  PMID: 20305798
diabetes; at-risk drinking; brief alcohol intervention
12.  Efficacy of an ED-Based Multicomponent Intervention for Smokers with Substance Use Disorders 
The efficacy of brief emergency department (ED)-based interventions for smokers with concurrent alcohol or substance use is unknown. We performed a subgroup analysis of a trial enrolling adult smokers in an urban ED, focusing on subjects who screened positive for alcohol abuse or illicit drug use. Subjects receiving Usual Care (UC) were given a smoking cessation brochure; those receiving Enhanced Care (EC) got the brochure, a brief negotiated interview, 6 weeks of nicotine patches, and a phone call. Follow-up occurred at 3 months. Of 340 subjects in the parent study, 88 (25.9%) reported a substance use disorder. At 3 months, substance users receiving EC were more likely to be tobacco-abstinent than those receiving UC (14.6% v. 0%, P = 0.015), and to self-identify as nonsmokers (12.5% v. 0%, P = 0.03). This finding suggests that concurrent alcohol or substance use should not prevent initiation of tobacco dependence treatment in the ED.
doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2012.05.005
PMCID: PMC3465634  PMID: 22763199
smoking; smoking cessation; motivational interviewing; emergency department; brief interventions
13.  Feasibility of a computer-assisted alcohol SBIRT program in an urban emergency department: patient and research staff perspectives 
Objectives
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.
Methods
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).
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1940-0640-8-2
PMCID: PMC3554507  PMID: 23324597
Computerized alcohol screening; Brief intervention; Emergency department; SBIRT
14.  Alcohol misuse 
Clinical Evidence  2009;2009:1017.
Introduction
Alcohol use is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity internationally, and is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the top five risk factors for disease burden. Without treatment, approximately 16% of hazardous or harmful alcohol users will progress to more dependent patterns of alcohol consumption. This review covers interventions in hazardous or harmful, but not dependent, alcohol users.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions in hazardous or harmful drinkers in the primary-care setting? What are the effects of interventions in hazardous or harmful drinkers in the emergency-department setting? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to February 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 18 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions in primary care and in emergency departments: brief intervention (single- or multiple-session); universal screening plus brief interventions; and targeted screening plus brief interventions.
Key Points
Alcohol use is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity internationally, and is ranked by the WHO as one of the top five risk factors for disease burden. Without treatment, approximately 16% of hazardous or harmful alcohol users will progress to more dependent patterns of alcohol consumption.
This review covers interventions in hazardous or harmful (but not dependent) alcohol users. Hazardous alcohol consumption is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that increases the individual's risk of alcohol-related harm, but is not currently causing alcohol-related harm.Harmful alcohol consumption is a pattern of consumption likely to have already led to alcohol-related harm.
Single- or multiple-session brief intervention reduces alcohol consumption over 1 year in hazardous drinkers treated in the primary-care setting, but we don't know how it affects mortality.
Brief intervention (single- or multiple-session) is also effective at reducing alcohol consumption in people treated in the emergency department, although the evidence is not as strong.
Adding universal screening to brief intervention enhances its benefits when given in primary care. We don't know how effectiveuniversal screening in emergency departments is, as we found no data.We don't know whether targeted screening is effective, as we found no data assessing its use in primary or emergency care.
PMCID: PMC2907792  PMID: 21718573
15.  Alcohol misuse 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1017.
Introduction
Alcohol use is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity internationally, and is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the top 5 risk factors for disease burden. Without treatment, approximately 16% of hazardous or harmful alcohol users will progress to more dependent patterns of alcohol consumption. This review covers interventions in hazardous or harmful, but not dependent, alcohol users.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions in hazardous or harmful drinkers in the primary-care setting? What are the effects of interventions in hazardous or harmful drinkers in the emergency-department setting? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to September 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 21 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions in primary care and in emergency departments: brief intervention (single or multiple session), universal screening plus brief interventions, and targeted screening plus brief interventions.
Key Points
Alcohol use is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity internationally, and is ranked by the WHO as one of the top 5 risk factors for disease burden. Without treatment, approximately 16% of hazardous or harmful alcohol users will progress to more dependent patterns of alcohol consumption.
This review covers interventions in hazardous or harmful (but not dependent) alcohol users. Hazardous alcohol consumption is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that increases the individual's risk of alcohol-related harm, but is not currently causing alcohol-related harm.Harmful alcohol consumption is a pattern of consumption likely to have already led to alcohol-related harm.
Single- or multiple-session brief intervention reduces alcohol consumption over 1 year in hazardous drinkers treated in the primary-care setting, but we don't know how it affects mortality.
Brief intervention (single or multiple session) is also effective at reducing alcohol consumption in people treated in the emergency department, although the evidence is not as strong.
Adding universal screening to brief intervention enhances its benefits when given in primary care. We found insufficient RCT evidence to assess whether universal screening and brief intervention is any more effective than usual care in emergency departments.We don't know whether targeted screening is effective, as we found no RCT evidence assessing its use in primary or emergency care.
PMCID: PMC3275317  PMID: 21426592
16.  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.
Background
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.
Discussion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-287
PMCID: PMC2734851  PMID: 19664255
17.  Extreme College Drinking and Alcohol-Related Injury Risk 
Background
Despite the enormous burden of alcohol-related injuries, the direct connection between college drinking and physical injury has not been well understood. The goal of this study is to assess the connection between alcohol consumption levels and college alcohol-related injury risk.
Methods
12,900 college students seeking routine care in 5 college health clinics completed a general Health Screening Survey. 2,090 of these students exceeded at-risk alcohol use levels and participated in a face-to-face interview to determine eligibility for a brief alcohol intervention trial. The eligibility interview assessed past 28-day alcohol use and alcohol-related injuries in the past 6 months. Risk of alcohol-related injury was compared across daily drinking quantities and frequencies. Logistic regression analysis and the Bayesian Information Criterion were applied to compute the odds of alcohol-related injury based on daily drinking totals after adjusting for age, race, site, body weight and sensation seeking.
Results
Male college students in the study were 19% more likely (95% CI: 1.12–1.26) to suffer an alcohol-related injury with each additional day of consuming 8 or more drinks. Injury risks among males increased marginally with each day of consuming 5–7 drinks (Odds ratio=1.03, 95% CI: 0.94–1.13). Female participants were 10% more likely (95% CI: 1.04–1.16) to suffer an alcohol-related injury with each additional day of drinking 5 or more drinks. Males (OR=1.69, 95% CI: 1.14–2.50) and females (OR=1.81, 95% CI: 1.27–2.57) with higher sensation seeking scores were more likely to suffer alcohol-related injuries.
Conclusions
College health clinics may want to focus limited alcohol injury prevention resources on students who frequently engage in extreme drinking, defined in this study as 8+M/5+F drinks per day, and score high on sensation seeking disposition.
doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.00981.x
PMCID: PMC2757258  PMID: 19485974
Alcohol; College drinking; Injury; Heavy drinking; Sensation-seeking
18.  A randomised controlled trial of extended brief intervention for alcohol dependent patients in an acute hospital setting (ADPAC) 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:528.
Background
Alcohol dependence affects approximately 3% of the English population, and accounts for significant medical and psychiatric morbidity. Only 5.6% of alcohol-dependent individuals ever access specialist treatment and only a small percentage ever seek treatment. As people who are alcohol dependent are more likely to have experienced health problems leading to frequent attendance at acute hospitals it would seem both sensible and practical to ensure that this setting is utilised as a major access point for treatment, and to test the effectiveness of these treatments.
Methods/Design
This is a randomised controlled trial with a primary hypothesis that extended brief interventions (EBI) delivered to alcohol-dependent patients in a hospital setting by an Alcohol Specialist Nurse (ASN) will be effective when compared to usual care in reducing overall alcohol consumption and improving on the standard measures of alcohol dependence. Consecutive patients will be screened for alcohol misuse in the Emergency Department (ED) of a district general hospital. On identification of an alcohol-related problem, following informed written consent, we aim to randomize 130 patients per group. The ASN will discharge to usual clinical care all control group patients, and plan a programme of EBI for treatment group patients. Follow-up interview will be undertaken by a researcher blinded to the intervention at 12 and 24 weeks. The primary outcome measure is level of alcohol dependence as determined by the Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ) score. Secondary outcome measures include; Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) score, quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption, health-related quality of life measures, service utilisation, and patient experience. The trial will also allow an assessment of the cost-effectiveness of EBI in an acute hospital setting. In addition, patient experience will be assessed using qualitative methods.
Discussion
This paper presents a protocol for a RCT of EBI delivered to alcohol dependent patients by an ASN within an ED. Importantly; the trial will also seek to understand patients' perceptions and experiences of being part of a RCT and of receiving this form of intervention.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN: ISRCTN78062794
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-528
PMCID: PMC3141470  PMID: 21726445
19.  Alcohol consumption screening of newly-registered patients in primary care: a cross-sectional analysis 
The British Journal of General Practice  2013;63(615):e706-e712.
Background
Although screening and brief intervention is effective at reducing alcohol consumption in primary care and is recommended by guidelines, there are numerous barriers to its delivery. Screening newly-registered patients for alcohol-use disorders provides an opportunity for systematic collection of alcohol consumption data.
Aim
To examine how alcohol screening data are recorded in primary care, the extent to which they are recorded, and whether reported levels of consumption differ from general population data.
Design and setting
Cross-sectional analysis, with data collected from patients in the year after registration.
Method
Data on alcohol consumption were collected from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) primary care database from patients aged ≥18 years, newly registered with a general practice in 2007 to 2009, and compared with the Office for National Statistics Opinions (ONS Omnibus) survey.
Results
A total of 292 376 (76%) of the 382 609 newly-registered patients had entries for alcohol consumption (units a week, Read Codes for level of consumption, and/or screening test). Only 25 975 (9%) were recorded as completing a validated screening test, most commonly AUDIT/AUDIT-C (16 004, 5%) or FAST (9419, 3%). Alcohol-use disorders are underreported in primary care (for example, higher risk drinking 1% males, 0.5% females) in comparison with the Opinions survey (8% males, 7% females).
Conclusion
Alcohol screening data are collected from most patients within 1 year of registration with a GP practice; however, use of a validated screening test is rarely documented and alcohol-use disorders are underreported. Further efforts are needed to encourage or incentivise the use of validated tests to improve the quality of data collected.
doi:10.3399/bjgp13X673720
PMCID: PMC3782804  PMID: 24152486
alcohol drinking; cross-sectional studies; ONS Opinions (Omnibus) survey; primary health care; The Health Improvement Network (THIN)
20.  Using Drink Size to Talk About Drinking During Pregnancy: A Randomized Clinical Trial of Early Start Plus 
Social work in health care  2009;48(1):90-103.
This clinical trial compared two brief alcohol use interventions in prenatal clinics: Early Start (ES), a substance abuse screening and treatment program integrated with prenatal care focused on abstention (n=298), and Early Start Plus (ESP), adding a computerized drink-size assessment tool and intervention focused on drinking less (n=266). Controls were untreated alcohol users (n=344). Controls had higher adverse neonatal and maternal outcome rates. Findings favored ESP for preterm labor and ES for low birth weight. No differences between ES and ESP were statistically significant. ESP provides clinicians with an innovative assessment tool that creates open dialogue about drinking during pregnancy.
doi:10.1080/00981380802451210
PMCID: PMC2814155  PMID: 19197768
computerized assessment; health services research; maternal outcomes; neonatal outcomes; prenatal alcohol abuse
21.  The Recovery Spectrum 
Alcohol Research & Health  2011;33(4):371-379.
Recent innovations in alcohol-focused interventions are aimed at closing the gap between population need and the currently uncommon use of alcohol treatment services. Guided by population data showing the heterogeneity of alcohol problems and the occurrence of natural remissions from problem drinking without treatment, alcohol services have begun to expand beyond clinical treatment to offer the untreated majority of individuals with alcohol-related problems accessible, less-intensive services that use the tools of public health practice. These services often are opportunistic, meaning they can be provided in primary-care or other unspecialized health care or community settings. They also can be delivered by nonspecialists, or can be used by people themselves to address problems with alcohol without entering the health care system. This developing spectrum of services includes screening and brief interventions, guided self-change programs, and telehealth options that often are targeted and tailored for high-risk groups (e.g., college drinkers). Other efforts aimed at reducing barriers to care and increasing motivation to seek help have utilized individual, organizational, and public health strategies. Together, these efforts have potential for helping the treatment field reach people who have realized that they have a drinking problem but have not yet experienced the severe negative consequences that may eventually drive them to seek treatment. Although the evidence supporting several innovations in alcohol services is preliminary, some approaches are well established, and collectively they form an emerging continuum of care for alcohol problems aimed at increasing service availability and improving overall impact on population health.
PMCID: PMC3860536  PMID: 23580021
Alcohol use disorders; alcohol and other drugs recovery; treatment; health care delivery; health service; help-seeking behavior; high-risk groups; screening; brief interventions; guided self-change; telehealth; continuum of care
22.  Alcohol screening and brief intervention in primary care: Absence of evidence for efficacy in people with dependence or very heavy drinking 
Drug and alcohol review  2010;29(6):631-640.
Issues
Although screening and brief intervention (BI) in the primary-care setting reduces unhealthy alcohol use, its efficacy among patients with dependence has not been established. This systematic review sought to determine whether evidence exists for BI efficacy among patients with alcohol dependence identified by screening in primary-care settings.
Approach
We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) extracted from eight systematic reviews and electronic-database searches published through September 2009. These RCTs compared outcomes among adults with unhealthy alcohol use identified by screening who received BI in a primary-care setting with those who received no intervention.
Key Findings
Sixteen RCTs including 6839 patients met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 14 excluded some or all persons with very heavy alcohol use or dependence; one in which 35% of 175 patients had dependence found no difference in an alcohol severity score between groups; and one in which 58% of 24 female patients had dependence showed no efficacy.
Conclusion and Implications
Alcohol screening and BI has efficacy in primary care for patients with unhealthy alcohol use but, there is no evidence for efficacy among those with very heavy use or dependence. Since alcohol screening identifies both dependent and non-dependent unhealthy use, the absence of evidence for the efficacy of BI among primary-care patients with screening-identified alcohol dependence raises questions regarding the efficiency of screening and BI, particularly in settings where dependence is common. The finding also highlights the need to develop new approaches to help such patients, particularly if screening and BI are to be disseminated widely.
doi:10.1111/j.1465-3362.2010.00217.x
PMCID: PMC2966031  PMID: 20973848
alcohol; alcohol dependence; primary care; brief intervention; systematic review
23.  Cost-Effectiveness of an Opportunistic Screening Programme and Brief Intervention for Excessive Alcohol Use in Primary Care 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5696.
Background
Effective prevention of excessive alcohol use has the potential to reduce the public burden of disease considerably. We investigated the cost-effectiveness of Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) for excessive alcohol use in primary care in the Netherlands, which is targeted at early detection and treatment of ‘at-risk’ drinkers.
Methodology and Results
We compared a SBI scenario (opportunistic screening and brief intervention for ‘at-risk’ drinkers) in general practices with the current practice scenario (no SBI) in the Netherlands. We used the RIVM Chronic Disease Model (CDM) to extrapolate from decreased alcohol consumption to effects on health care costs and Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) gained. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was employed to study the effect of uncertainty in the model parameters. In total, 56,000 QALYs were gained at an additional cost of €298,000,000 due to providing alcohol SBI in the target population, resulting in a cost-effectiveness ratio of €5,400 per QALY gained.
Conclusion
Prevention of excessive alcohol use by implementing SBI for excessive alcohol use in primary care settings appears to be cost-effective.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005696
PMCID: PMC2682644  PMID: 19479081
24.  Organizational Barriers to Adopting an Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in Community-Based Mental Health Organizations 
This paper examines two factors related to successfully implementing a brief alcohol screening throughout all community-based mental health organizations. The first issue is related to an organization’s internal structures, such as culture and climate that can impede evidenced-based practice implementation. There is literature suggesting that organizational culture and climate affect decisions about whether evidence-based practices are adopted and implemented within health care agencies. Following this literature review on organizational barriers, the history and successes of adopting an alcohol screening and brief intervention are reviewed. Studying, identifying, and understanding the organizational factors associated with the successful dissemination and implementation of best practices throughout community-based mental health organizations would contribute to increasing the likelihood that an alcohol screening and brief intervention are implemented throughout mental health organizations.
PMCID: PMC3953346  PMID: 24634639
alcohol screening; community-based mental health organization; evidenced-based practice; organizational culture and climate
25.  Care for hospitalized patients with unhealthy alcohol use: a narrative review 
There is increasing emphasis on screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for unhealthy alcohol use in the general hospital, as highlighted by new Joint Commission recommendations on SBIRT. However, the evidence supporting this approach is not as robust relative to primary care settings. This review is targeted to hospital-based clinicians and administrators who are responsible for generally ensuring the provision of high quality care to patients presenting with a myriad of conditions, one of which is unhealthy alcohol use. The review summarizes the major issues involved in caring for patients with unhealthy alcohol use in the general hospital setting, including prevalence, detection, assessment of severity, reduction in drinking with brief intervention, common acute management scenarios for heavy drinkers, and discharge planning. The review concludes with consideration of Joint Commission recommendations on SBIRT for unhealthy alcohol use, integration of these recommendations into hospital work flows, and directions for future research.
doi:10.1186/1940-0640-8-11
PMCID: PMC3679958  PMID: 23738519
Alcohol drinking; Alcoholism; Hospitalization; Patient discharge

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