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Traffic Inj Prev. 2004 Sep;5(3):278-91.

The emergency care setting for screening and intervention for alcohol use problems among injured and high-risk drivers: a review.

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  • 1Mississippi State University, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA. pdill@ssrc.msstate.edu


Each year thousands of people are treated in emergency departments and trauma centers for alcohol-related injuries, including those sustained in drinking driving crashes. Emergency departments and trauma centers provide an opportunity to screen for alcohol use problems and intervene with injured or high-risk drivers to reduce future alcohol-related traffic and injury risk. Recently physicians have expressed interest in exploring screening and intervention for alcohol use problems in these venues as a means of improving clinical care. This article reviews the literature that has examined screening and brief interventions in acute care settings to reduce future alcohol consumption and alcohol-related injury. The methodological and practical issues inherent in conducting these studies as well as in actual practice are discussed. The chaotic environment of acute care, the large numbers of patients required to be screened to obtain an adequate study sample, and high attrition rates make study in these settings difficult at best and are methodological problems that should be addressed in future research. A basic question that has not been adequately answered by research to date is whether reduction in alcohol consumption will translate to reduced alcohol-related harm, such as driving while impaired, or injurious or fatal crashes. Long-term studies that assess records-based outcomes in addition to alcohol-consumption levels are needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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