Physicians' Advice Works

Researchers have found that a brief advice intervention program for problem drinkers provided by doctors is effective.

The brief advice intervention consists of two 15-minute sessions with a physician scheduled one month apart. Patients receive a workbook documenting their current behaviors, a drinking agreement in the form of a prescription, and drinking diary cards. In an evaluation of this program, patients' drinking was examined six months and one year later.

The intervention reduced patients' drinking by about 40% per week and so-called binge drinking (five or more drinks per occasion) by about half one year later.


  • Fleming, M.F., et al. Benefit-cost analysis of brief physician advice wtih problem drinkers in primary care settings. Medical Care, 2000, 38(1), 7-18.

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