Screening and brief interventions for unsafe or harmful patterns of alcohol use have good health outcomes. These clinical activities have been shown to be efficacious and cost-effective in a variety of settings.1, 2
The individual physician does not have to carry the burden on his or her own. The clinical activities associated with alcohol screening, brief intervention and referral (SBIR) can be shared among primary care and other providers.
As new models of primary health care expand throughout Canada, there will be more opportunities to involve a variety of healthcare professionals in the delivery of SBIR for problematic alcohol use. This can be particularly advantageous if any one professional has limited time or expertise, or is still developing comfort in addressing the topic with patients.