HealthCare Intervention Service Reduces Alcohol Consumption in Hospital Patients

Spring 1996

This file contains the text of the Spring 1996 issue of the RIA Report (ISSN 1046-3399), a newsletter published three times a year by the Research Institute on Addictions, a component of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Permission to reproduce this material is granted with the condition that users identify the Research Institute on Addictions as the source. For more information, contact: Jennifer Weir, Public Communications Manager, RIA, 1021 Main Street, Buffalo , N.Y. 14203-1016.

Health Care Intervention Service Reduces Alcohol Consumption in Hospital Patients
H.I.S. is a successful example of the cost-saving benefits of preventive medicine
Director’s Report
Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions Celebrates Silver Anniversary
RIA’s 25th Anniversary celebration in pictures and words
Twenty-five Years of Excellence at RIA
A Timeline of RIA’s history, 1970-present
Health Care Intervention Service Reduces Alcohol Consumption in Hospital Patients

Early intervention within hospitals is effective at reducing a problem drinker’s alcohol consumption, according to results of a recent study. Addictions experts at RIA, Brown University, and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) completed an evaluation of the Health Care Intervention Service (H.I.S.), currently used in 18 hospitals throughout New York State.

The study, funded by $800,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, compared 284 patients receiving interventions in H.I.S. hospitals to 220 patients in hospitals without an intervention service. Patients who screened positive for alcohol involvement participated in a research interview before the intervention and again six months after the intervention.

The evaluation, led by RIA Senior Scientist John Welte, Ph.D., showed that compared to non-H.I.S. hospitals, hospitals with H.I.S. were effective in decreasing alcohol consumption and consequences. H.I.S. patients reported fewer days of heavy drinking (six or more drinks), particularly for women, and particularly if they received assistance for their drinking. For persons who had a high average alcohol consumption, those who received interventions had one-third fewer drinking days than those without intervention. Women with interventions had less than half as many heavy drinking days as women without them. Furthermore, negative consequences of drinking, such as fighting or loss of a job, were decreased for H.I.S. patients highly invested in work and home before the intervention.

Begun in 1989 by OASAS, the H.I.S. identifies hospital patients who have drinking or drug problems and follows a step-by-step procedure for intervening with these patients. First, during the admissions process, hospital staff administers the CAGE to all inpatients. The CAGE is a simple, 4-question questionnaire, proven to identify persons with alcohol or other drug problems. Hospital staff may also review the patient’s chart for indicators of a possible problem. If a person screens positive for a possible problem, he receives an assessment from an H.I.S. staff member. Persons who screen positive for alcohol or drug problems are referred for alcohol or drug treatment. For patients at risk for developing later problems, the H.I.S. professional conducts a brief intervention. The intervention involves a face-to-face conversation, in which the interventionist presents facts, consequences and risks of continued drinking, and advises the patient to cut down on his alcohol intake.

“H.I.S. is a successful example of the cost-saving benefits of preventive medicine,” said Dr. Welte. “Early intervention is cheaper and more effective than waiting until the problem becomes more serious.”

The evaluation’s positive results indicate that H.I.S. should be implemented at other hospitals.

Director’s Report

Our 25th anniversary celebration in December was a great success. I was delighted to be in the company of so many people critical to RIA’s founding and early development. Without a doubt, however, the vision, dedication, and tenacity of our founding director, Cedric M. Smith, shaped RIA into the organization it is today. I was very pleased to publicly honor Dr. Smith and his accomplishments at our anniversary celebration.

As we turn to the next 25 years, we face economic and technological challenges. Governor Pataki’s budget for 1996-97 requires us to downsize. While the budget figures are not yet final, proposed reductions will seriously impact the operation of RIA. Nonetheless, we remain committed to maintaining our ambulatory service, which serves as the foundation for conducting important clinical research initiatives. In spite of budget cuts, we will maintain the high standards of research that are the cornerstone of our reputation for excellence in science.

Currently, there are discussions regarding RIA joining with the University at Buffalo. All parties in these discussions view a merger as beneficial to RIA, the University, and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. At the time of this writing, the only remaining hurdles are terms of the merger. Once resolved, negotiations for a merger will proceed. ::::::::::::::::::::::::

Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions Celebrates Silver Anniversary

RIA celebrated its 25th anniversary on December 15, 1995 by holding an open house and reception. A plaque honoring the first Director of the Institute, Cedric Smith, M.D., was presented to Dr. Smith by current Director, Howard Blane, Ph.D. (left). Joining in the celebration were representatives from state and local legislative offices, area hospitals, community action groups, and other state and local organizations concerned with alcohol and drug abuse.

Howard Blane (left), John J. Connolly (center), aide to Senator Maziarz, and RIA Deputy Director Brenda Miller (right) pose for a photo.
Dr. Mary DuFour, Deputy Director of NIAAA (left), chats with RIA Senior Scientist Grace Barnes.

Senior Scientists Lorraine Collins (right) and Gerard Connors (left) speak with Dr. Joe Cusker (center) of the University at Buffalo.
Nancy Bates presents a proclamation from Assemblyman Richard Anderson.

Howard Blane speaks with Anna and R. Gil Kerlikowske, Buffalo Police Commissioner.
Paige of GBCASA presents a proclamation from Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello.

Senior Scientists Marcia Russell (left) and Arthur Chan (right) pose for a photo with Dr. Joseph Lyons.

Senior Scientist Ken Leonard demonstrates RIA’s World Wide Web Site to Celebration Guests.

Howard Blane receives a framed proclamation from New York State Senator William Stachowski.
Celebration guests look on as proclamations are presented.

Twenty-five Years of Excellence at RIA

1970 – The Research Institute on Alcoholism was established under the direction of Dr. Cedric Smith. Our purpose then was to address all aspects of alcoholism by studying the use and abuse of alcohol and its causes, treatment, and prevention. Dr. Smith remained Director until 1979.

1973 – RIA moved to its current location on Main Street in the heart of Buffalo’s medical center area.

1980 – Dr. Ben Morgan Jones, a psychologist who researched the effects of alcohol on intellectual performance, joined the Institute as Director.

1986 – Dr. Howard Blane joined the Research Institute as Director.

1987 – The Minority Research Development Program began, an 8-week summer program that encourages minority high-school students to pursue scientific careers.

1990 – The Clinical Research Center opened, allowing clinicians and researchers to work together developing and evaluating treatment and intervention methods.

1992 – RIA’s name changed to the Research Institute on Addictions to reflect its new focus on drugs as well as alcohol.

1993 – The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism designated RIA as a National Alcohol Research Center, funding the Center for the Clinical and Medical Epidemiology of Alcohol. This center is a collaborative project with UB’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine.

Today – RIA employs 200 persons on 40 separate research studies. Our scientists continue to explore aspects of alcoholism and drug abuse. Some focus on the causes of these problems, some examine the consequences, and others develop new ways to prevent and treat addictions. Current projects include studying infant development in alcoholic families, the relationships between family violence and women’s drug use, relationships between stress, race, and alcohol use, and many others.