Task Force Recommends Alcohol Screening

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Guidelines issues by the U.S. Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) recommend that, during regular wellness exams, primary care doctors screen adults over age 18, including pregnant women, for unhealthy alcohol use and provide interventions to reduce the abuse of alcohol. These guidelines were published in JAMA.

According to the USPSTF, primary care screenings and subsequent interventions for unhealthy alcohol use provide “moderate” benefits for adults, although these measures weren’t found to be beneficial in adolescents. Alcohol consumption is one of the most common causes of premature death in the United States; about 88,000 people died from alcohol-related conditions between 2006 and 2010.

The USPSTF defines unhealthy alcohol consumption as abuse; dependence; or drinking more than daily, weekly, or per-occasion recommended amounts (risky drinking behavior). According to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women should consume no more than one drink per day (12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits or liquor) and men, no more than two drinks per day. Pregnant women should abstain from drinking alcohol.

Sourced from: JAMA