Six hundred ER patients under the influence had a mini-intervention with a hospital staff member who asked them why they were having trouble stopping drinking, and encouraged them to set a goal of drinking less, according to this story by Washington Post staff writer Michelle Andrews. It helped them reduce their drinking, binge drinking and drinking and driving, the research found. It was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
“In the emergency department on a weekend, all the cases may be drug- or alcohol-related, and yet we don’t do” screening and intervention, says Gail D’Onofrio, the study’s lead author, who is chair of emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine. “Our goal is to normalize this in the emergency department.”
Although up to half of ER patients are drunk, many physicians don’t address the issue, because “alcohol-exclusion laws in more than half of the country permit insurers to refuse to pay for medical services related to alcohol or drug use, and that can derail hospitals’ best intentions”, according to the story.