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Brief Chat With ER Docs Can Curb Problem Drinking
Date:1/4/2008

than 10 minutes.

The research team followed up with the participants after three months to find out whether they had changed their drinking habits. Those who went through the 10-minute interview reported drinking three fewer drinks per week than those who merely received a pamphlet; more than one in three people who were counseled one-on-one reported drinking at low-risk levels, compared with one in five of the participants who were given an informational pamphlet.

The results are published in the December edition of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

"These new findings underscore the importance of using the American Medical Association health-care codes for substance abuse screening and brief intervention," study co-author Terry Cline, administrator of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said in a prepared statement.

The American Medical Association develops codes for health services which are used to report procedures to public and private health insurance programs. In January, new codes will allow physicians to report services they provide to screen patients for alcohol problems and to provide a behavioral intervention for high-risk drinking.

"Using these new codes will increase the likelihood that an estimated 18.8 million Americans with serious alcohol abuse problems will receive effective intervention services that could possibly save their lives and promote well-being," said Cline.

More information

To learn more about alcohol abuse visit the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.



-- Madeline Vann



SOURCE: U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, news release, Dec. 26, 2007


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