Screening and brief interventions for harmful alcohol use: where to now?

Chris B Holmwood
Med J Aust 2021; 215 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51342
Published online: 13 December 2021

In reply: Malinovská and Brož’s1 description of the situation in the Czech Republic demonstrates just how difficult it can be to implement alcohol screening, brief intervention and referral for treatment (SBIRT), even with legislation compelling health professionals to provide the intervention. Lack of knowledge by clinicians is one barrier, along with hesitancy to raise the issue, for a range of different reasons. Education can assist with these two factors. Other barriers include time pressure and competing clinical priorities.2,3

  • Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia, Adelaide, SA


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Malinovská J, Brož J. Screening and brief interventions for harmful alcohol use: where to now? [Letter] Med J Aust 2021; 215: 000–000.
  • 2. Nilsen P, Aalto M, Bendtsen P, Seppä K. Effectiveness of strategies to implement brief alcohol intervention in primary healthcare. A systematic review. Scand J Prim Health Care 2006; 24: 5–15.
  • 3. Rosário F, Santos MI, Angus K, et al. Factors influencing the implementation of screening and brief interventions for alcohol use in primary care practices: a systematic review using the COM‐B system and Theoretical Domains Framework. Implement Sci 2021; 16: 6.
  • 4. University of Sydney. Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH). National Study of general practitioner clinical activity.‐health/our‐research/research‐centres/bettering‐the‐evaluation‐and‐care‐of‐health.html (viewed Apr 2021).
  • 5. Beeston C, McAdams R, Craig N, et al. Monitoring and evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy: final annual report. Edinburgh: NHS Health Scotland, 2016.‐final‐annual‐report_5780_mar‐2016.pdf (viewed July 2020).
  • 6. Neufeld M, Bobrova A, Davletov K, et al. Alcohol control policies in former Soviet Union countries: A narrative review of three decades of policy changes and their apparent effects. Drug Alcohol Rev 2021; 40: 350–367.


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