Brief Counseling Sessions Reduce Harmful College Drinking
Brief counseling sessions by physicians can help college students reduce harmful alcohol use, according to a new study supported by NIAAA. Led by Michael F. Fleming, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Wisconsin, the study is part of the ongoing College Health Intervention Projects (CHIPs) study, a randomized, controlled clinical trial conducted in five college health clinics in Wisconsin, Washington state, and Vancouver, Canada. College health service clinicians examined whether brief counseling sessions would reduce the rates of heavy alcohol use and alcohol-related harm among the nearly 1,000 heavy-drinking students enrolled in the study. After a 12 month follow-up period, alcohol consumption had reduced in the experimental group by 27.2%, compared with a 21% reduction among students in a control group. Heavy episodic drinking also declined by 26.3% in the experimental group, and 23.3% in the control group. This study adds to growing evidence that college health clinic visits are "teachable moments" during which clinicians can help address harmful alcohol use by students.