October 1, 2008

Intervention Helps Curb Binge Drinking

Forty-four percent of U.S. college students do binge drinking -- five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the past 30 days, researchers say.

Eric Goplerud, director of the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health Policy at the George Washington University in Washington, says binge drinking continues to be the topic of recent media reports and it also draws significant attention to a broader public health problem surrounding alcohol consumption.

Goplerud says screening and brief intervention, or SBI, has proven highly successful in reducing college binge drinking.

A report by The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services describes the consequences of alcohol misuse, the proven benefits of screening and a brief intervention, and the opportunities to widen its routine use in clinical settings.

Several validated alcohol screening tools are available that take no more than five or 10 minutes to administer and for those at risk, a brief intervention typically involves a series of one to four short counseling sessions with a trained clinician, such as a physician, psychologist or social, with the total intervention takes an hour or less, Goplerud says.