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Computerized screening for alcohol and drug use among adults seeking outpatient psychiatric services

OBJECTIVE: This study examined routine computerized screening for alcohol and drug use of men and women seeking outpatient psychiatric services (excluding chemical dependency treatment) and prevalence based on electronic medical records of consecutive admissions. METHODS: The sample of 422 patients, ages 18-91, completed a self-administered questionnaire. Measures included 30-day, one-year, and lifetime substance use and alcohol-related problems. RESULTS: Seventy-five percent of patients completed electronic intakes during the study period. Prior-month alcohol use was reported by 90 men (70%) and 180 women (62%). Of these patients, heavy drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion) was reported by 37 men (41%) and 41 women (23%). Prior-month cannabis use was reported by 17 men (13%) and 32 women (11%). CONCLUSIONS: Computerized intake systems that include alcohol and drug screening can be integrated into outpatient psychiatric settings. Heavy drinking and use of nonprescribed drugs are commonly reported, which provides an important intervention opportunity.

Authors: Satre D; Wolfe W; Eisendrath S; Weisner C

Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Apr;59(4):441-4.

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