Tom: There are four key steps to screening
and brief intervention.
These are the key things that every health
professional should do to assess whether their patients
drink too much and if they do to help them cut down.
First, assess. There are simple tools like the audit questions.
There are electronic tools that can be as simple as
a single question to find out if patients have
problem drinking patterns.
For those who do have problem drinking patterns,
start a conversation.
Describe the harms of drinking too much.
Discuss what the patient's patterns are.
Explore with the patient what the triggers are
for their drinking.
Come up with a plan to help patients
cut down realistically and then follow up
to make sure that the patient is following up
and improving their drinking patterns.
Because that's so important for their health overall.
The third step is to advise those who are not
drinking to excess to continue to avoid drinking,
particularly while pregnant, while driving
and to address underage drinking.
And fourth and finally to refer that very small proportion
of patients do have alcohol dependence for specialized treatment.
Remember, only about 4% of adults have alcohol dependence,
but up to 30% of adults have problem drinking.
So, for every one patient with alcohol dependence,
you're going to have about six who have problem
drinking that's going to affect their health unless you address it.
Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention