Routine screening for risky alcohol consumption at an emergency department using the AUDIT-C questionnaire

Author(s): Nordqvist C, Johansson K, Bendtsen P


A questionnaire including the three AUDIT-C items was used to screen for alcohol use among trauma patients. The aim was to display, in a pragmatic way, how the AUDIT-C scores can be converted into different levels and kind of risky drinking. Using AUDIT-C scores with a cut-off score of 4 points for women and 5 for men indicated that 28% of the women and 40% of the men were risky drinkers. When calculating weekly alcohol consumption from the answers in AUDIT-C, 3% of the women and 7% of the men were hazardous and/or harmful drinkers. Regarding heavy episodic drinking 7% of the women and 30% of the men was drinking 72g alcohol or more at on at least one occasion a month. These results indicate that the AUDIT-C score as such give little information about the pattern of alcohol consumption and that evaluation of risky drinking must be calculated from the three items in order to differentiate between risky drinking in terms of alcohol consumed per week and heavy episodic drinking.

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