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Screening and brief interventions performed by ER staff can reduce alcohol consumption and impaired driving
Research shows that primary health care providers can promote significant, lasting reductions in drinking levels and alcohol-related problems by asking patients about alcohol use and briefly advising them to reduce risky drinking. In a new study, researchers supported by NIAAA showed that doctors and nurses in an emergency department can also do effective brief interventions for patients who report risky alcohol use. Researchers asked patients who came to the emergency department of a large university hospital about their alcohol use. The nearly 900 adult patients included in the study were found to exceed NIAAA guidelines for low-risk drinking: no more than four drinks in a day and no more than 14 drinks per week for men, and three or fewer drinks per day and no more than seven drinks per week for women. Individuals who received a seven-minute counseling session from a trained emergency practitioner subsequently had significantly lower rates of alcohol consumption and driving after drinking than those who did not, an effect that persisted even a year after the counseling session.