Counseling Cuts Down on Youth Drinking

Reduces incidence of high-risk behaviors and car accidents, study finds

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TUESDAY, Oct. 5, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Just a few minutes of a doctor's counseling helped young adults reduce their high-risk drinking and the number of traffic crashes, emergency room visits and arrests for substance or liquor violations, says a study in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

The findings support more widespread use of brief counseling interventions by primary-care doctors.

The study included 226 young adults, aged 18 to 30. Those who received counseling about reducing their use of alcohol had a 40 percent to 50 percent decrease in alcohol use, 42 percent fewer visits to the emergency department, and 55 percent fewer motor vehicle crashes compared to those who did not receive counseling.

There was also a significant difference between the two groups in the number of arrests for liquor or controlled substance violations.

Alcohol-related fatalities are a leading cause of death among young adults in the United States. Primary-care doctors should make it a priority to counsel young adults about high-risk drinking, the study authors said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has advice on how you can cut back on drinking.

SOURCE: Annals of Family Medicine, news release, Oct. 5, 2004

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