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Keywords:

  • alcohol;
  • screening;
  • brief intervention;
  • EAP

Abstract

Introduction and Aims. Substantial empirical support exists for alcohol screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) in medical, but not non-medical settings such as the workplace. Workplace settings remain underutilised for delivering evidenced-based health services. This research aims to translate medical research into behavioural health-care practice in a telephonic call centre acting as a point of entry into an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The goal of the study is to examine the feasibility of implementing routine telephonic alcohol SBIRT in an EAP call centre and assess whether routine SBIRT results in increased identification of workers who misuse alcohol. Design and Methods. The design was pretest–posttest, one-group, pre-experimental. An alcohol SBIRT program developed based on World Health Organization recommendations was implemented in one EAP call centre serving one large employer. Workers were offered screening using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) during intake, brief counselling using motivational interviewing, referral to counselling, and follow-up. Results. At 5 months, 93% of workers contacting the EAP completed the AUDIT-C: 40% prescreened positive and 52% went on to screen at moderate or high risk for an alcohol problem. Overall identification rate (18%) approached general US population estimates. Most agreed to follow-up and three-quarters set an appointment for face-to-face counselling. Discussion and Conclusions. Integration of routine alcohol SBIRT into EAP practice is feasible in telephonic delivery systems and increases identification and opportunity for brief motivational counselling. When SBIRT is seamlessly integrated workers are willing to answer questions about alcohol and participate in follow-up.[McPherson TL, Goplerud E, Derr D, Mickenberg J, Courtemanche S. Telephonic screening and brief intervention for alcohol misuse among workers contacting the employee assistance program: A feasibility study. Drug Alcohol Rev 2010;29;641–646]