CHA News Article

CDC Finds Alcohol Screening and Counseling Effective but Underused

Only one in six adults — and only one in four binge drinkers — says a health professional has ever discussed alcohol use with them even though drinking too much is harmful to health, according to a January Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For the report, CDC used 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to analyze self-reports of ever being “talked with by a health provider” about alcohol use among U.S. adults aged 18 and older from 44 states and the District of Columbia.

“Drinking too much alcohol has many more health risks than most people realize,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Alcohol screening and brief counseling can help people set realistic goals for themselves and achieve those goals. Health care workers can provide this service to more patients and involve communities to help people avoid dangerous levels of drinking.” 

No state or district had more than one in four adults report that a health professional talked with them about their drinking. The report includes recommendations on screening and intervention, as well as graphics that can be used to explain the issues.