August 4, 2010

Adolescent Alcohol Use and ViolenceAre Brief Interventions the Answer?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit, Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center, and Boston University School of Medicine (Drs Saitz and Naimi), and Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health (Dr Saitz), Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2010;304(5):575-577. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1088

Violence and alcohol use are risk factors for the 3 leading causes of death among individuals aged 12 to 20 years: unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide.1 Thus, the devastating health effects of alcohol and violence on youth lead to an appropriately overwhelming desire to intervene in clinical practice.

Brief counseling could be an answer. In adults, such interventions reduce drinking among those with nondependent unhealthy alcohol use who are identified by screening in primary care settings.2 These brief counseling interventions are among the most cost-effective but least performed preventive services; are recommended by professional groups, including those that require the highest levels of evidence; and are now reimbursable services.2,3

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