Post Content

In a report released Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted that alcohol screening and counseling is an effective but underused health service.  In fact, only 1 in 6 adults in the United States reported discussing alcohol use with a health professional.

Most of us have heard the term binge drinking, but for many the idea of unhealthy drinking is limited to those with an addiction.  While some people may develop alcohol dependence, there are other significant health consequences for anyone who drinks too much.  For example, drinking too much can lead to heart disease, breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, sudden infant death syndrome, falls, motor-vehicle crashes, and violence.

So how much is too much?  According to the CDC, “drinking too much includes binge drinking, high weekly use, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or those under age 21.”  See the graphic below, for more information about unhealthy alcohol use — keep in mind these numbers do not apply to people with some medical conditions and/or those who are currently taking certain medications.  Also, AlcoholScreening.org provides free and anonymous screening to help people learn how much is too much for them.

CDC graphic

According to the CDC alcohol screening and brief counseling can reduce the amount of alcohol consumed on an occasion by 25 percent among those who drink too much.

In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Bureau of Substance Abuse Services has worked to the expand Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for nearly a decade.  In June 2012, DPH completed a 5 year SAMHSA-funded SBIRT project through which over 140,000 people were screened for unhealthy alcohol and drug use leading to 20,290 received brief interventions and another 4,635 were referred to treatment.  DPH also funded SBIRT in 6 hospital emergency departments between 2007 and 2012. That project screened over 40,000 people and provided 11,710 brief interventions and referred over 8,500 people to treatment.

MASBIRT TTA, a DPH supported program, provides training and technical assistance to health care practices looking to implement SBIRT.  Visit their website for more information.

MASBIRT logo

 

Written By:


Communications Manager in the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.

Recent Posts

Your Best Protection Against the Flu: A Flu Shot posted on Oct 8

Your Best Protection Against the Flu: A Flu Shot

This year, the first full week of October marks the start of Massachusetts’ flu surveillance monitoring and reporting for the 2019-2020 flu season. To monitor flu in the state, DPH uses a variety of disease surveillance methods including lab testing, voluntary reporting by health care   …Continue Reading Your Best Protection Against the Flu: A Flu Shot

Personal Preparedness: Where to Start posted on Sep 27

Personal Preparedness: Where to Start

Preparing for emergencies is something that we all should do, yet it’s rarely considered a priority for most and tends to fall by the wayside. We see the possibility of a massive hurricane hurtling toward our neighbors to the south, and breathe a sigh of   …Continue Reading Personal Preparedness: Where to Start

Working Together to Prevent Sepsis posted on Sep 13

Working Together to Prevent Sepsis

Sepsis is a medical emergency caused by the body’s response to infection, and when left untreated, it can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death. It can be caused by almost any infection, and anyone can develop an infection in their body, but   …Continue Reading Working Together to Prevent Sepsis