Alcohol screening and brief intervention: dissemination strategies for medical practice and public health

Author(s): Babor TF, Higgins-Biddle, JC


This paper introduces the concept of risky drinking and considers the potential of alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) to reduce alcohol-related problems in medical practice and in organized systems of health care. The research evidence behind this approach is reviewed. Potential strategies for the dissemination of SBI to systems of health care are then discussed within the context of a public health model of clinical preventive services. There is an emerging consensus that SBI should be promoted in general healthcare settings, but further research is needed to determine the best ways to achieve widespread dissemination. In an attempt to provide an integrative model that is relevant to SBI, dissemination strategies are discussed for three target groups: (1) individual patients and practitioners; (2) health care settings and health systems; and (3) the communities and the general population. Dissemination strategies are considered from the fields of social change, social science, commercial marketing and education in terms of their potential for translating SBI innovations into routine clinical practice. One overarching strategy implicit in the approaches reviewed in this article is to embed alcohol SBI in the more general context of preventive health services, the utility of which is becoming increasingly recognized as a critical supplement to more traditional clinical medicine.

Similar Articles

Substance-related problems in patients visiting an urban Canadian emergency department

Author(s): Brubacher JR, Mabie A, Ngo M, Abu-Laban RB, Buchanan J, et al.

Feasibility of screening and intervention for alcohol problems among young adults in the ED

Author(s): Hungerford DW, Williams JM, Furbee PM, Manley WG, Helmkamp JC, et al.

Rapid follow-up for patients after psychiatric crisis

Author(s): McCullumsmith C, Clark B, Blair C, Cropsey K, Shelton R

A review of research on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)

Author(s): Allen JP, Litten RZ, Fertig JB, Babor T

Evaluating the effects of a brief motivational intervention for injury drinkers in the Emergency Department

Author(s): Longabaugh R, Woolard RF, Nirenberg TD, Minugh AP, Becker B, et al.

Establishing treatment relations with alcoholics

Author(s): Chafetz ME, Blane HT, Abrams HS, Golner JH, Lacy E, et al.

The early history of ideas on brief interventions for alcohol

Author(s): McCambridge J, Cunningham JA

Individual and system influences on waiting time for substance abuse treatment

Author(s): Carr CJA, Xu J, Redko C, Lane DT, Rapp RC, et al.

Treatment barriers identified by substance abusers assessed at a centralized intake unit

Author(s): Rapp RC, Xu J, Carr CA, Lane DT, Wang J, et al.

Follow-up services after an emergency department visit for substance abuse

Author(s): Breton AR, Taira DA, Burns E, O´Leary J, Chung RS

Intervention by an alcohol health worker in an accident and emergency department

Author(s): Wright S, Moran L, Meyrick M, O’Connor R, Touquet R

Intervention attendance among Emergency Department patients with alcohol- and drug-use disorders

Author(s): Blow FC, Walton MA, Murray R, Cunningham RM, Chermack ST, et al.

Categorical Data Analysis using the SAS System

Author(s): Stokes ME, Davis CS, Koch GG