Alcohol screening and brief intervention among drug users in primary care: a discussion paper
Problem alcohol use is common among problem drug users (PDU) and associated with adverse health outcomes. Primary care has an important role in the overall stepped approach to alcohol treatment, especially screening and brief intervention (SBI).
To discuss three themes that emerged from an exploration of the literature on SBI for problem alcohol use in drug users attending primary care.
Material for this discussion paper was gathered from three biomedical databases (PubMed, PsycINFO and Cochrane library), conference proceedings and online resources of professional organisations or national health agencies.
Themes discussed in this paper are: (a) the potential of primary care for delivery of alcohol SBIs to PDUs, (b) screening methods and (c) application of brief interventions to PDUs.
Although SBI improves health outcomes associated with problem alcohol use in the general population, further research is needed among high-risk patient groups, especially PDUs.
KeywordsProblem alcohol use Primary care Screening and brief intervention Problem drug use
Authors wish to thank colleagues from University College Dublin: Davina Swan, Sarah Finnegan, Brendan Rooney, Aisling O’ Dwyer-O’ Brien, Louise Dolphin, Carly Cheevers, Lynn McKeague and Eilis Hennessy, for their insightful comments and feedback. This discussion paper has been prepared as part of a research project funded by Health Research Board Ireland (2009-12): ‘Towards optimum care of problematic alcohol use among patients with opiate dependency: a qualitative study from two perspectives.’
Conflict of interest
The authors acknowledge that they have no conflict of interests regarding this study.
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