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Vital Signs

What Are the Four Reasons Why Doctors Should Screen Their Patients for Drinking Too Much?

The January 2014 Vital Signs report urges healthcare professionals to aid in preventing alcoholism and excessive drinking by using alcohol screening and counseling. In this video, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, MD, MPH addresses several compelling reasons why alcohol screening should be implemented in medical practice, including its potential to decrease risks for diseases such as fetal alcohol syndrome and hypertension and its ability to lower healthcare and societal costs. More than 30 years of research has shown that alcohol screening and brief counseling is effective at reducing risky drinking. However, this month’s Vital Signs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 1 in 6 adults — and only 1 in 4 binge drinkers — say a healthcare professional has ever talked about alcohol use with them. CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, shares strategies and tools to help doctors talk with their patients about alcohol use.

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