Opportunistic screening for alcohol use disorders in primary care: comparative study

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 02 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:511

underutilization of the screening tools for alcohal use disorders in primary care practices.

Dear Editor,I appreciate your research on the screening of alcohal
use problems in primary care setup.

Primary care practitioners are in a unique position to identify
patients with potential alcohol problems and intervene when appropriate.
Screening, the process by which practitioners can identify at-risk
drinkers, can be followed by one-time or repeated short counseling
sessions, known as brief interventions, which are designed to help the
patient reduce drinking and minimize related problems. Varied levels of
screening and brief intervention can be implemented in the primary care
setting, depending on patient and physician factors.

Although screening and brief intervention are valuable tools, they
are underutilized in primary care practices. Strategies that may help
increase physicians' use of these techniques in the primary care setting
include skills-based role-playing, performance feedback, clinical
protocols, clinic-based education, and training by credible experts.

Some long-term objectives or expectations that would hopefully
include making screening and brief intervention part of health care
systems; helping people with potential alcohol problems recognize the
value of early intervention; reducing the stigma associated with alcohol
problems;raising the profile of alcohol problems in health practice,
policy making and the media; making it easy and meaningful for people to
seek help for alcohol problems; and mobilizing partners, e.g. NGOs and
religious groups to work on alcohol problems collaboratively.

world heath organisation review.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 February 2006
Dr Rajan Chawla
clinical attache,dept of psychiatry
city hospital,dept of psychiatry,hucknall road,nottingham,