Public Health Promotion On Alcohol Abuse

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Public Health Promotion on Alcohol Abuse

Public Health Promotion on Alcohol Abuse


Substance abuse among working adults represents billions of dollars in preventable health care costs and industry financial loss. Therefore, it is imperative to develop and test effective substance abuse prevention programs for the workplace. However, applied workplace substance abuse prevention research is fraught with numerous methodological challenges. This article highlights a number of these challenges, which include (1) reaching a broad audience with prevention messages, (2) handling the concerns of the employer, (3) collecting substance use data in the workplace, (4) accessing and using records-based data, and (5) linking survey and records-based data. (Cook , ,2007, pp 255-281) Using examples from the authors' ongoing research assessing a workplace health promotion and substance abuse prevention program, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the authors address these challenges.


During development of the most recent substance abuse prevention program, two general questions arose. (1) Is the integration of specially developed substance abuse prevention materials into standard health promotion topics a promising strategy for presenting substance abuse prevention messages to employees in the workplace? (2) Does the inclusion of substance abuse prevention materials dilute the effectiveness of the health promotion program? The results of a recent field test are reported elsewhere. (Cook , ,2007, pp 255-281) In general, however, results indicated that integrating substance abuse prevention into health promotion can be an effective strategy for communicating substance abuse prevention messages to a broad audience of working adults in a nonthreatening manner. The program had a significant impact on participants' substance abuse attitudes and perceptions and on their use of alcohol and other drugs as a stress relief strategy. Moreover, these benefits occurred without weakening the effect of the health promotion program.

Epidemiology of alcohol abuse

Alcohol is known to have deleterious effects on virtually every organ and tissue in the body. Epidemiologic studies have shown that alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for acute and chronic health problems. Stinson and colleagues , drawing upon national hospital discharge statistics, noted associations between alcohol abuse and diseases affecting a variety of organ systems, including the liver, pancreas, digestive tract, circulatory system, and brain. (Cook , ,2007, pp 255-281)

Epidemiologic studies have shown that mortality rates among alcoholics and among heavy drinkers are high compared with rates in the general population. Several studies have reported positive associations between apparent per capita alcohol consumption and mortality related to cirrhosis and violent death. But per capita consumption estimates provide no information about drinking patterns or demographics of alcohol use. To obtain such information, epidemiologists often rely on self-reports of alcohol consumption as provided by respondents in morbidity surveys, or reports of next-of-kin or other knowledgeable informants in mortality surveys. While these reports fill an important gap in our knowledge of actual drinking practices, careful attention must be paid to how consumption is measured, and to the validity and reliability of such ...
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