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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2015 Jul;39(7):1260-6. doi: 10.1111/acer.12760. Epub 2015 May 29.

Randomized Controlled Trial of Mailed Personalized Feedback for Risky Drinkers in the Emergency Department: The Impact on Alcohol Consumption, Alcohol-Related Injuries, and Repeat Emergency Department Presentations.

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Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Centre for Health Research, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Drug Health Service, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



Due to the difficulty encountered in disseminating resource-intensive emergency department (ED)-based brief alcohol interventions into real-world settings, this study evaluated the effect of a mailed personalized feedback intervention for problem drinking ED patients. At 6-week follow-up, this intervention was associated with a statistically significant reduction in alcohol consumption among patients with alcohol-involved ED presentations. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of this intervention over time.


A randomized controlled trial was conducted among problem drinking ED patients, defined as those scoring 8 or more on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Participants in the intervention group received mailed personalized feedback regarding their alcohol consumption. The control group received no feedback. Follow-up interviews were conducted over the phone, postal survey, or email survey 6 weeks and 6 months after baseline screening, and repeat ED presentations over 12-month follow-up were ascertained via linked ED records.


Six-month follow-up interviews were completed with 210 participants (69%), and linked ED records were obtained for 286 participants (94%). The intervention had no effect on alcohol consumption, while findings regarding alcohol-related injuries and repeat ED presentations remain inconclusive.


Further research in which the receipt of feedback is improved and a booster intervention is provided is recommended.


Alcohol; Brief Intervention; Emergency Department; Feedback; Rural

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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