The impact of training and delivering alcohol brief intervention on the knowledge and attitudes of community pharmacists: A before and after study


  • Ranjita Dhital MSc, BSc (Pharmacy) MRPharmS (UK), Pharmacist and PhD Student, Cate M. Whittlesea PhD, MSc Econ BSc (Pharmacy) MRPharmS (UK), Senior Lecturer Pharmacy Practice, Peter Milligan MSc, Statistician, Natasha S. Khan PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), Research Associate, Ian J. Norman PhD, RN (UK), CQSW, FEANS, FRCN, Professor.

Correspondence to: Dr Cate Whittlesea, King's Health Partners, Pharmaceutical Science Clinical Academic Group, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK. Tel: +44 20 7848 4796; Fax: +44 20 7848 4800, E-mail:


Introduction and Aims

Alcohol misuse is the third leading cause of ill health in the UK. Alcohol brief intervention can identify risky drinkers and motivate individuals to take action. Community pharmacists have been identified as having a role in providing brief interventions. This study aimed to evaluate: pharmacists' attitudes towards hazardous/harmful drinkers and knowledge before training and after delivering brief intervention; and their experience of training.

Design and Methods

Pharmacists' attitudes to alcohol problems were assessed using Short Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Perception Questions before training and after brief intervention delivery. Alcohol misuse knowledge was assessed by questionnaire prior to and immediately after training, and after the delivery period. Following brief intervention delivery, pharmacists' experience of training was obtained using a questionnaire and focus groups. Qualitative thematic analysis identified experiences of brief intervention training. Quantitative data were analysed using spss.


One hundred and thirty-nine alcohol interventions were delivered by 19 pharmacists over five months (recruiters). Ten pharmacists completed no interventions (non-recruiters). Both groups improved their alcohol knowledge between baseline and immediately following training; and their knowledge decreased between the end of training and following service delivery. Pharmacists who were initially more motivated recruited more participants and increased their work satisfaction.

Discussion and Conclusions

This confirmed findings of previous studies that pharmacists unfamiliar with brief intervention could be trained to deliver this service. Pharmacists with positive attitude towards drinkers delivered a greater number of alcohol interventions and experienced increased work satisfaction than those pharmacists with less positive attitudes.