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Editorial
November 13, 2018

Screening for Unhealthy Alcohol Use

Author Affiliations
  • 1Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Associate Editor, JAMA
JAMA. 2018;320(18):1869-1871. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.16069

In this issue of JAMA, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) presents a recommendation statement1 and an accompanying evidence review2 on screening and behavioral counseling interventions for unhealthy alcohol use. “Unhealthy alcohol use” refers to a spectrum from use of alcohol that increases the risk for health consequences (ie, risky or hazardous drinking) to the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder (AUD). In this update of its 2013 recommendation,3 the USPSTF “recommends screening for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings in adults 18 years or older, including pregnant women, and providing persons engaged in risky or hazardous drinking with brief behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use (B recommendation).”1 The USPSTF also concludes “that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening and brief behavioral counseling interventions for alcohol use in primary care settings in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years (I statement).”1

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