• Open Access

A randomized controlled trial of an internet-based intervention for alcohol abusers


John A. Cunningham, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1. E-mail: john_cunningham@camh.net


Objective  Misuse of alcohol imposes a major public health cost, yet few problem drinkers are willing to access in-person services for alcohol abuse. The development of brief, easily accessible ways to help problem drinkers who are unwilling or unable to seek traditional treatment services could therefore have significant public health benefit. The objective of this project is to conduct a randomized controlled evaluation of the internet-based Check Your Drinking (CYD) screener ( http://www.CheckYourDrinking.net).

Method  Participants (n = 185) recruited through a general telephone population survey were assigned randomly to receive access to the CYD, or to a no-intervention control group.

Results  Follow-up rates were excellent (92%). Problem drinkers provided access to the CYD displayed a six to seven drinks reduction in their weekly alcohol consumption (a 30% reduction in typical weekly drinking) at both the 3- and 6-month follow-ups compared to a one drink per week reduction among control group respondents.

Conclusions  The CYD is one of a growing number of internet-based interventions with research evidence supporting its efficacy to reduce alcohol consumption. The internet could increase the range of help-seeking options available because it takes treatment to the problem drinker rather than making the problem drinker come to treatment.