Brief interventions have become increasingly recommended in the management of individuals with alcohol-related problems, because they are low-cost and have been proven to be effective for addressing harmful drinking. Research has shown that many screened patients cut down on their drinking simply because they were asked about their alcohol use—and effective screening for problem drinking can be completed in as little as five minutes.
In Hastings & Prince Edward Counties, 21% of adults over the age of 18 years reported hazardous or harmful drinking and 31% reported binge drinking (five or more drinks on any occasion per month). This is a concern considering excessive alcohol consumption significantly increases the risks of chronic disease, certain cancers, injury, violence, or death. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines indicate that men should not exceed three standard alcoholic drinks most days and 15 drinks per week. For women, the recommendation is no more than two standard alcoholic drinks most days and 10 drinks per week.
Resources for Physicians and Health Care Professionals
The following are resources and tools available for health care professionals in the primary care setting:
- The Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral website was created by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and The College of Family Physicians of Canada. This site provides access to evidence-informed guidance and resources to assist you in helping your patients better manage their alcohol consumption including an easy, three-step alcohol screening, brief intervention and referral guide
- The Public Health Agency of Canada website features videos about supporting behaviour change. The videos provide an overview of motivational interviewing and offer specific guidance using scenarios on how to promote healthy behaviours.
- The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse has produced a 4-page document, “Guidelines for Health Care Providers to Promote Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Among Patients” that can be downloaded and printed.
To support your brief intervention, the following patient resources are also available:
- The Check Your Drinking Survey can be used by your patients to conduct a self-assessment. They can then print or e-mail the results to you for follow-up at their next appointment.
Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines Brochure is available to download and print.