Easier way for doctors to identify substance abuse? - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Easier way for doctors to identify substance abuse?

Updated: Jan 16, 2014 02:59 PM
© Hemera / Thinkstock © Hemera / Thinkstock

THURSDAY, Jan. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A single question may help doctors determine whether a patient has a drug or alcohol problem and the level of abuse, a new study suggests.

Keep it simple is the message from the study of nearly 300 people recruited from the Boston Medical Center primary care clinic.

"We found that single questions may be useful in both screening and preliminary assessment" of substance-use severity, lead author Dr. Richard Saitz, chair and professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, said in a university news release.

"Instead of extensive interviews or long questionnaires, which are a barrier to screening in primary care settings, this approach may make it much easier to identify and appropriately address unhealthy substance use," added Saitz.

The participants were asked how many times in the past year they had consumed five or more drinks in a day (men) and four or more drinks in a day (women).

They were also asked how many times in the past year they had used an illegal drug or used a prescription medicine for nonmedical reasons.

The alcohol-use screening question detected 88 percent of people with alcohol dependence. The drug-use question identified 97 percent of those with drug dependence, the researchers say. The results were similar to those achieved with longer screening tests, according to the study, published in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Information about a drug or alcohol problem is especially useful if it can be obtained quickly at the time of screening. In general, determining a patient's risk and severity of drug or alcohol abuse has required questionnaires, some with more than 80 items with multiple response options, according to the study.

"We're moving from identifying the problem to being able to gauge, in a relatively quick and simple way, whether it is severe enough to warrant more urgent attention," Saitz said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about substance abuse.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:39 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:39:42 GMT
    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.More >>
    After a grim start to 2014, the U.S. economy has rebounded with vigor and should show renewed strength into next year.More >>
  • Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:26:47 GMT
    A Palestinian health official says 13 people were killed after tank shells hit a U.N. school in Gaza where hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge from Israeli attacks.More >>
    Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel's stepped up campaign against...More >>
  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:49 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:49:43 GMT
    Republicans are ready to muscle legislation through the House authorizing an election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama that accuses him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his health care law.More >>
    A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms