The goals of this report are to describe the development of an inpatient-based alcohol and drug abuse consultation service in a university hospital. At the University of Wisconsin Hospital, we collected data on baseline diagnosis, health services, and costs for inpatients who received such a consultation in 1992-1993 (n = 1,098, 3.5% of all admissions). Follow-up interviews were conducted on a sample of 175 subjects. At the initial assessment, 65% were nicotine dependent, and 50% met criteria for alcohol dependence, 19% for alcohol abuse, 13% for alcohol and drug abuse/dependence. The average cost to patients for a consultation was $220. At the 6-month follow-up interview (n = 175), 42% of the subjects reported complete abstinence, 70% reported reductions in use, and 56% participated in an alcohol and drug treatment program. An inpatient-based alcohol and drug abuse consultation service provides a critical benefit that has not previously been offered in most academic medical centers.
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