Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New CDC Vital Signs: Alcohol Screening and Counseling- An Effective but Underused Health Service

Only one in six adults -- and only one in four binge drinkers -- say a health professional has ever discussed alcohol use with them even though drinking too much is harmful to health, according to a new CDC Vital Signs. Binge drinking causes about 88,000 deaths in the United States each year, and was responsible for about $224 billion in economic costs in 2006. It can also lead to many health and social problems, including heart disease, breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, motor-vehicle crashes, and violence.

Alcohol screening and brief counseling can reduce the amount of alcohol consumed on an occasion by 25 percent among those who drink too much. It is recommended for all adults, including pregnant women. As with blood pressure, cholesterol and breast cancer screening, and flu vaccination, it has also been shown to improve health and save money. Through the Affordable Care Act, alcohol screening and brief counseling can be covered by health insurance plans without copay.

Learn more about the importance of alcohol screening and counseling. Visit CDC Vital Signs: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/alcohol-screening-counseling/index.html

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