Public release date: 27-Apr-2007
Mailing a simple information pamphlet to interested drinkers in the general population reduced binge drinking by 10 per cent, and is a promising public health approach to reduce the health and social problems associated with heavy drinking, shows a new study led by the University of Alberta.
Brief interventions to help people change their alcohol use have long been recognized as a potentially useful strategy, but past research in this area has focused on college students, problem drinkers screened in clinics and hospitals or people seeking specialized counselling and alcohol rehabilitation treatment.
“While these are important target groups, university students only represent a small fraction of drinkers in the general population who engage in heavy alcohol consumption and get into problems,” said Dr. Cameron Wild, lead author of the paper and a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. “As for screening for alcohol problems in health care, busy health care professionals often don’t enquire about alcohol problems. Our study was designed to fill this gap. We showed that simply mailing brief self-help materials to interested adults in the general public can be an effective way to expand the reach and impact of brief alcohol interventions.”
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