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DIAL: a randomised trial of a telephone brief intervention for alcohol


Background Decreasing Injuries from ALcohol (DIAL) is a randomised control trial of a telephone brief intervention (BI) with injured emergency department (ED) patients with high-risk alcohol use. Here the authors examine 12-month outcomes of the intervention's effect on alcohol use, alcohol-related injuries and alcohol-related negative consequences.

Methods ED research assistants recruited adult injured patients who screened positive for high-risk alcohol use and were to be discharged home. After discharge, all participants received by telephone an assessment of their alcohol use, alcohol-related injuries, and alcohol-related negative consequences and then were randomised to treatment or standard care. Treatment consisted of two telephone sessions of BI focusing on risky alcohol use. Both groups were reassessed after 12 months.

Results At 12 months, 249 (89%) participants completed follow-up assessments. After using a log transformation, the difference in alcohol-related injuries between baseline and 12-month follow-up was greater in the BI group than the standard care group (p=0.04); this is an effect size of Cohen's d=0.21. No difference between groups was found when comparing change in alcohol consumption and other alcohol-related negative consequences at 12 months.

Conclusions These findings suggest that a telephone BI with injured ED patients may decrease alcohol-related injuries. Identifying patients with risky alcohol use in the ED and then subsequently delivering the intervention by telephone after discharge has promise as a model for BI and deserves further study.

  • Drowning
  • alcohol/drugs
  • MVTC

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