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Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner's Guide

NCJ Number
Date Published
46 pages
In this Practitioner's Guide, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) introduces a simple, quick, empirically derived tool for identifying youth at risk for alcohol-related problems.
In contrast to other screening tools that focus on established alcohol problems, this early detection tool is designed to assist in preventing alcohol-related problems in patients before they start or at an early stage. Being empirically based means the screening questions and risk scale, which were developed through primary survey research, are powerful predictors of current and future negative consequences of alcohol use. The instrument consists of just two questions that can be incorporated easily into patient interviews or pre-visit screening tools across the care spectrum, from annual exams to urgent care. This is the first tool to include a questions on friends' drinking, which will help treatment providers to identify patients at earlier stages of alcohol involvement and target advice to include the risk factor of friends' drinking. The "personal" drinking question focuses on frequency of alcoholic beverage consumption, which is the best predictor of current risk for alcohol-related harm in adolescents who are already drinking. The researchers examined many other questions, but the two questions selected had by far the greatest practically and predictive strength. The screening questions can be used at any time, alone or along with other tools, as part of a clinical interview. References and additional resources