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Effectiveness of screening and brief alcohol intervention in primary care (SIPS trial): pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8501 (Published 09 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:e8501

Re: Effectiveness of screening and brief alcohol intervention in primary care (SIPS trial): pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial

Giving in small doses counseling and therapy seems beneficial in a primary care practice. It appears to bring about an attitudinal change, leading possibly to a behavioral change to drinking pattern including social drinking. It is suggested that counseling must be immediately followed by possibly a behavioral therapy. The strong basis for this screening and brief alcohol intervention is patient co-operation and a will to combat their alcohol addiction. It is related to social factors, including their upbringing, culture, economic and educational background.

These cultural and social differences play a vital role in deciding the mode of counseling and therapy. For example in a very conservative society like India even drinking before the children is a social taboo. It is a paradox that with such cultural, religious and social restrictions alcoholism is a major public health concern that ruins many families. Excepting for few centers many in primary care are not trained or equipped to screen, counsel or treat the patients effectively. Yet alcohol industry is a major player in the economics of the state as well as in having a responsible role in public health policy. With hero worship so contagious in society alcohol has become a status symbol deep rooted in the minds of youngsters. Sometimes a word or suggestion or advice from the leading heroes of the cine industry has a marked influence in such matters in India. It is true that brief alcohol intervention program will benefit those who seek medical help and intervention.

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 January 2013
dhastagir s sheriff
Professor
Faculty of Medicine, Benghazi University
Benghazi, Libya