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Screening and brief intervention programmes scale up in the United States

Diageo supports effective programmes that try to prevent alcohol misuse – whether by raising awareness, or by working with others, seeking to change consumer attitudes or behaviour.

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In the United States, Diageo supports the training of doctors and other health workers in screening and brief intervention (SBI), a simple but proven approach supported by the World Health Organization to reduce hazardous drinking among patients.

The technique involves a doctor, or other health professional, assessing patients for alcohol misuse through a series of questions and – for those screening positive – having a short conversation with them about the risks involved and straightforward ways to cut down. This simple act builds on the trust that patients have in their healthcare providers and ensures that advice is targeted at those who really need it. The intervention doesn’t take long, but has been endorsed by global health agencies because of its tangible impact on the behaviour of those who drink too much.

Diageo’s approach has been to help SBI achieve scale by training doctors and other clinicians to build it into their general interactions with patients. Previously we have funded the development of a training programme by the Medical Society of the State of New York which found that, after SBI training, 88% of its members planned to screen their patients for alcohol misuse compared with 62% before.

This year, Diageo was very pleased to fund the Brief Intervention Group which is seeking to train every employee assistance clinician in the country. In reaching such a broad network we hope that SBI will become much more widely used, making a real difference in reducing hazardous drinking.