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October 4, 1995

Alcohol Interventions in Trauma CentersCurrent Practice and Future Directions

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Dr Gentilello), Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Drs Donovan and Dunn), and Pediatrics (Dr Rivara), Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, Seattle (Drs Donovan and Dunn); and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Seattle (Dr Rivara).

JAMA. 1995;274(13):1043-1048. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530130049027

Nearly half of all trauma beds are occupied by patients who were injured while under the influence of alcohol. Alcoholism plays such a significant role in trauma that efforts to reduce injury recurrence are unlikely to be successful if it remains untreated. An injury requiring hospitalization creates a unique opportunity to intervene and to motivate patients to alter their drinking behavior, thereby making trauma centers ideal sites to implement an alcohol screening, intervention, and referral program. However, despite emphasis on injury control and prevention, little has been done to incorporate alcohol intervention programs into care of the injured patient. Effective means of intervention exist that are consistent with the time, financial, and staffing constraints of trauma centers, and they should be implemented.

(JAMA. 1995;274:1043-1048)