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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999 Dec;67(6):989-94.

Brief intervention for harm reduction with alcohol-positive older adolescents in a hospital emergency department.

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  • 1Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.


This study evaluated the use of a brief motivational interview (MI) to reduce alcohol-related consequences and use among adolescents treated in an emergency room (ER) following an alcohol-related event. Patients aged 18 to 19 years (N = 94) were randomly assigned to receive either MI or standard care (SC). Assessment and intervention were conducted in the ER during or after the patient's treatment. Follow-up assessments showed that patients who received the MI had a significantly lower incidence of drinking and driving, traffic violations, alcohol-related injuries, and alcohol-related problems than patients who received SC. Both conditions showed reduced alcohol consumption. The harm-reduction focus of the MI was evident in that MI reduced negative outcomes related to drinking, beyond what was produced by the precipitating event plus SC alone.

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