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Brief intervention helps emergency patients reduce drinking
Date:12/26/2007

Asking emergency department patients about their alcohol use and talking with them about how to reduce harmful drinking patterns is an effective way to lower rates of risky drinking in these patients, according to a nationwide collaborative study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Emergency department patients who underwent a regimen of alcohol screening and brief intervention reported lower rates of risky drinking at three-month follow-up than did those who received only written information about reducing their drinking. A report of the study by the Academic Emergency Department Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Research Collaborative* appears in the December, 2007 issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

This encouraging finding raises the prospect of reaching many individuals whose alcohol misuse might otherwise go untreated, says NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D.

These new findings underscore the importance of using the American Medical Association health care codes for substance abuse screening and brief intervention, said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D.

Codes established by the AMA serve as the most widely accepted classification system for reporting medical procedures and services to public and private health insurance programs. In January, 2008 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 wellbeing,'' adds Dr. Cline.

Previous studies of screening, brief intervention, and referral conducted in primary care and in-patient trauma centers h
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Contact: NIAAA Press Office
301-443-3860
NIH/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Source:Eurekalert

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