Bottom Line: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening adults 18 and older, including pregnant women, for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings. Those patients who engage in risky or hazardous drinking should be offered brief behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use. The USPSTF also concludes the evidence is insufficient regarding screening for alcohol use in adolescents 12 to 17 in primary care settings.
Background: The USPSTF routinely makes recommendations about the effectiveness of preventive care services. This latest statement is an update of its 2013 recommendation on screening for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings. Excessive alcohol use is one of the most common causes of premature death in the United States, with an estimated 88,000 deaths attributed to alcohol occurring annually in the United States from 2006 to 2010. Alcohol use during pregnancy is also one of the major preventable causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities.
The following related elements from The JAMA Network are also available on the For The Media website:
-- An interview with Susan J. Curry, Ph.D., co-author of the recommendation statement.
-- Screening and Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Reduce Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Adults - U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement
-- Screening and Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Reduce Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Adults - Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force
-- JAMA editorial: Screening for Unhealthy Alcohol Use
-- JAMA Internal Medicine editorial: Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Primary Care - The Elephant in the Examination Room
-- JAMA Psychiatry editorial: Screening and Brief Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Reduce Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Adults 18 Years and Older, Including Pregnant Women
-- JAMA Pediatrics editorial: Alcohol Use Screening and Behavioral Counseling With Adolescents in Primary Care
-- JAMA Patient Page: Screening and Counseling to Reduce Unhealthy Alcohol Use
To Learn More: The full report is available on the For The Media website.
Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Note: More information about the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, its process, and its recommendations can be found on the newsroom page of its website.
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