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Keywords:

  • screening and brief intervention;
  • hazardous drinking;
  • economic evaluation;
  • cost-effectiveness analysis;
  • cost-benefit analysis

Abstract

Issues.Many policy review articles have concluded that alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) is both cost-effective and cost-beneficial. Yet a recent cost-effectiveness review for the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence suggests that these conclusions may be premature.

Approach.This article offers a brief synopsis of the various types of economic analyses that may be applied to SBI, including cost analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis, cost-benefit analysis and other types of economic evaluation. A brief overview of methodological issues is provided, and examples from the SBI evaluation literature are provided.

Key Findings, Implications and Conclusions.The current evidence base is insufficient to draw firm conclusions about the cost, cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit of SBI and about the impact of SBI on health-care utilisation.[Cowell AJ, Bray JW, Mills MJ, Hinde JM. Conducting economic evaluations of screening and brief intervention for hazardous drinking: Methods and evidence to date for informing policy. Drug Alcohol Rev 2010;29;623–630]