USPSTF Draft Recommendation: Primary Care-Based Alcohol Misuse Screening for All Adults

October 5, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a draft recommendation advising clinicians to screen all adults for alcohol misuse and provide those who are engaged in risky drinking with brief behavioral counseling interventions as a preventive measure to reduce alcohol misuse. According to the task force, roughly one-third of the U.S. population is affected by alcohol misuse. It causes more than 85,000 deaths each year, making it the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States, says the task force. Based on a USPSTF evidence review of 23 clinical trials, published on September 25, 2012, the recommendation reaffirms USPSTF’s 2004 advice. According to the review, the benefits of screening and behavioral counseling significantly reduced reports of heavy alcohol consumption in participating adults by about 10% to 12% across several clinical trials.

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