Bilingual, Digital Health Tool to Diminish Alcohol Use

In the United States, a computerized, automated, bilingual alcohol screening and intervention health tool was shown to be successful in lowering alcohol use among Latino emergency department patients.

Per the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) survey, approximately 29.5 million individuals in the U.S. suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), with around 5.1 million of the number being Hispanic or Latino people. This high number is a serious problem in the nation, and now, a novel digital health tool may intervene to help.

According to lead author Federico Vaca, this is the nation's first bilingual, sizable, emergency department-based, randomized clinical study with a Latino participant population that speaks both English and Spanish.

The study, led by the University of California, Irvine, was published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

"Our aim was to overcome well-known barriers to alcohol screening and intervention from the emergency department while addressing the high disease burden and health disparities related to alcohol use disorders in this population," says Vaca.

How was the study conducted?

In the study, 840 Latino people who self-identified as heavy drinkers participated in the clinical investigation.

The results showed a marked decrease in the frequency of binge drinking episodes within the previous 28 days among those who had utilized the Automated Bilingual Computerized Alcohol Screening and Intervention in Latinos (AB-CASI) health tool compared to the group receiving standard care.

The AB-CASI group demonstrated significant and sustained decreases in alcohol consumption at the 12-month point, whereas both study groups had some reductions in alcohol use after the first month.

The findings imply that AB-CASI is a brief practical intervention that circumvents acknowledged procedural obstacles to emergency department screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment while directly addressing alcohol-related health disparities.

Vaca concludes: "This tool offers considerable promise in addressing alcohol-related health disparities and should be considered for routine emergency department screening and intervention, as we know that incremental sustained reductions in alcohol use can benefit both individual and public health."


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