Should Docs Do More to Discourage Problem-Drinking?
Only 1 in 6 adults says a doctor or health professional has discussed alcohol use with them, report finds
The researchers found that despite increased understanding of the health risks of problem drinking, doctors are talking with patients about alcohol use about as often as they did back in 1997, the last time the CDC looked at this problem.
"The health-care system is not doing a good enough job," Frieden said.
These days, doctors and health professionals have access to screening forms that can provide patients with a quick idea of whether they're drinking too much, Frieden noted.
Such screening is also provided free of charge to patients under the Affordable Care Act as a preventive health service, he added.
Such frank talk with a doctor could reduce the amount of alcohol consumed by 25 percent among people who drink too much, the CDC suggests.
"Alcohol screening and brief counseling can help people set realistic goals for themselves and achieve those goals," Frieden said. "Health-care workers can provide this service to more patients and involve communities to help people avoid dangerous levels of drinking."