Young Binge Drinkers May Not Need Special Counseling From Family Docs03/10/14
MONDAY, March 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Special counseling
from family doctors had no effect on young people's binge drinking
or marijuana use, new research suggests.
The study included 33 family doctors and pediatricians in
Switzerland and nearly 600 patients aged 15 to 24. About half of
the patients reported binge drinking (more than five drinks in one
sitting) or marijuana use.
The doctors -- most of whom had previous training in working
with youth and alcohol-related issues -- were divided into two
groups. One group provided usual care while the other group was
trained in counseling that had proven effective when dealing with
A year after seeing the doctors, the number of patients who
reported excessive substance use had decreased by 28 percent. But
there was no significant difference between patients who received
counseling and those who received usual care, the study found.
The findings were published March 6 in the
CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
"Training family doctors to deliver a brief intervention to address excessive substance use failed to reduce binge drinking and excessive cannabis use among young patients at three, six and 12 months follow-up," wrote researcher Dr. Dagmar Haller and colleagues in a journal news release. Haller is with the University of Geneva and Geneva University Hospitals, as well as the University of Melbourne, in Australia.
"Formal training in using the brief intervention may only have had a modest impact on the ability of experienced and interested family physicians to adapt their communication style with young people," the researchers suggested.
They said, however, that the findings do not indicate that
family physicians have no role to play in reducing substance abuse
in young patients. Further research is needed to determine
effective approaches that can be used by family doctors, the study
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
outlines what parents can do to
prevent their children from drinking.
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