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Screening for risky alcohol use not nearly as common as similarly effective preventative services

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image for blog postEditor’s note: SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment. Learn more about it here.

SBIRT to address risky alcohol use is as effective and cost-effective as a flu shot, but it’s not nearly so widespread. This is according to a systematic review of research on alcohol SBIRT published between 1992 and 2004, which concluded that alcohol SBIRT scores a 4 out of 5 in terms of Clinically Preventable Burden (the health burden reduced by SBIRT multiplied by SBIRT’s effectiveness) and a 5 out of 5 in cost-effectiveness. All in all, a 9 out of 10.

In short, it works pretty well at a pretty marginal cost. SBIRT’s score was similar to screening for colorectal cancer and hypertension and to vaccines for influenza and pneumococcal disease.

Unlike those other services, though, the…

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