Drinking Dangers

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Story Updated: May 15, 2013

Approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population is affected by alcohol misuse. Alcohol misuse is now the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.after smoking and obesity. Two shocking statistics that the United States Preventive Services Task Force wants to help turn around.The Task Force is out with brand new recommendations on how health care professionals should screen for dangerous drinking. The new recommendations suggest that all adults, 18 and over, including pregnant women, be screened for alcohol misuse and that clinicians provide behavioral counseling to patients who engage in risky behavior with alcohol. Brief 10 to 15 minute interventions with follow-up support from a health educator have been shown to be effective.

The Task Force did not go as far as to suggest screenings for adolescents 12 to 17 years old. While acknowledging teen alcohol use is a serious problem, they concluded that there wasn't enough evidence that screening and behavioral counseling in this age group is effective in the long-term.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news for healthier living.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com