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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Feb 1;135:95-103. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.11.016. Epub 2013 Nov 27.

Prevalence of clinically recognized alcohol and other substance use disorders among VA outpatients with unhealthy alcohol use identified by routine alcohol screening.

Author information

1
Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Health Services Research & Development, Veteran Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States. Electronic address: emily.williams3@va.gov.
2
Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Health Services Research & Development, Veteran Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Center of Excellence for Substance Abuse Treatment and Education, Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States.
3
Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Health Services Research & Development, Veteran Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA, United States.
4
Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Health Services Research & Development, Veteran Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States.
5
Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Health Services Research & Development, Veteran Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States.
6
Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Health Services Research & Development, Veteran Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Center of Excellence for Substance Abuse Treatment and Education, Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States.
7
Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Health Services Research & Development, Veteran Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Center of Excellence for Substance Abuse Treatment and Education, Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States.
8
Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Health Services Research & Development, Veteran Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Center of Excellence for Substance Abuse Treatment and Education, Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, United States; Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States; Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States; Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA, United States.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of routine alcohol screening is to identify patients who may benefit from brief intervention, but patients who also have alcohol and other substance use disorders (AUD/SUD) likely require more intensive interventions. This study sought to determine the prevalence of clinically documented AUD/SUD among VA outpatients with unhealthy alcohol use identified by routine screening.

METHODS:

VA patients 18-90 years who screened positive for unhealthy alcohol use (AUDIT-C ≥3 women; ≥4 men) and were randomly selected for quality improvement standardized medical record review (6/06-6/10) were included. Gender-stratified prevalences of clinically documented AUD/SUD (diagnosis of AUD, SUD, or alcohol-specific medical conditions, or VA specialty addictions treatment on the date of or 365 days prior to screening) were estimated and compared across AUDIT-C risk groups, and then repeated across groups further stratified by age.

RESULTS:

Among 63,397 eligible patients with unhealthy alcohol use, 25% (n=2109) women and 28% (n=15,199) men had documented AUD/SUD (p<0.001). The prevalence of AUD/SUD increased with increasing AUDIT-C risk, ranging from 13% (95% CI 13-14%) to 82% (79-85%) for women and 12% (11-12%) to 69% (68-71%) for men in the lowest and highest AUDIT-C risk groups, respectively. Patterns were similar across age groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

One-quarter of all patients with unhealthy alcohol use, and a majority of those with the highest alcohol screening scores, had clinically recognized AUD/SUD. Healthcare systems implementing evidence-based alcohol-related care should be prepared to offer more intensive interventions and/or effective pharmacotherapies for these patients.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol screening; Alcohol use disorders; Substance use disorders

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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