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Thousands quizzed over drinking in bid to curb alcohol problems

27 May 2008

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Health professionals are to quiz thousands of patients about their drinking habits in a move to prevent social drinkers from developing serious alcohol problems, it has been reported.

Doctors, nurses and dentists across Scotland will be trained to question patients and offer counselling to those who exceed safe drinking levels, as part of an £85 million, three-year Scottish Government strategy, the Scotland on Sunday newspaper said.

The scheme, led by NHS Health Scotland, will see around one in six Scots “screened” for their drinking habits during routine appointments with GPs, nurses and dentists.

“It’s down to the individual to choose whether they need to change,” said NHS Health Scotland’s alcohol and drugs programme manager, George Howie. “But the earlier we can intervene, the better the chances of recovery.

“This is a big challenge but we are moving towards a situation where this will be a part of health staff’s working practice.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government added: “Far too many Scots are drinking more than the sensible drinking guidelines, and alcohol-related health problems are spiralling as a result.

“The Scottish Government believes this is a problem we must get to grips with as a matter of urgency.”

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NHS Health Scotland