Brief physician advice for high-risk drinking among young adults

Paul M. Grossberg, David D. Brown, Michael F. Fleming*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: High-risk alcohol use in persons 18 to 30 years of age is a critical public health problem. It is the number 1 cause of death in this population. This article reports the results of a subanalysis of young adults (aged 18 to 30 years) who participated in Project TrEAT (Trial of Early Alcohol Treatment) conducted in the offices of 64 primary care physicians located in 10 counties in southern Wisconsin. METHODS: Project TrEAT was a randomized clinical trial designed to test the efficacy of a brief intervention protocol to reduce alcohol use, improve health status, and decrease health care utilization. A total of 226 young adults were randomly assigned to either a usual care or brief intervention group. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the 2 groups at baseline on a number of potential confounders. During the 4-year follow-up period, there were significant reductions in number of persons drinking more than 3 drinks per day, average 7-day alcohol use, number of persons drinking 6 or more drinks per occasion, and number of binge drinking episodes in the previous 30 days (P < .01 to P < .001). There were also significant differences (P < .05) in emergency department visits (103 vs 177), motor vehicle crashes (9 vs 20), total motor vehicle events (114 vs 149), and arrests for controlled substance or liquor violation (0 vs 8). CONCLUSION: In this 4-year subanalysis of young adults who participated in Project TrEAT, we found long-term reductions in high-risk drinking behaviors and consequences. The findings of this study support more widespread implementation of brief interventions in primary care settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-480
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Alcohol drinking
  • Brief intervention
  • Delivery of health care
  • Health services research
  • Patient education
  • Primary health care
  • Substance-abuse screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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