A Closer Look

NIAAA Helps Healthcare Professionals Provide Better Care for Patients Who Drink Too Much

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is working on two fronts to help healthcare professionals gain knowledge about alcohol’s impact on health and ways to prevent, detect, and treat alcohol problems in their patients. Later this year, NIAAA plans to launch The Healthcare Professional’s Core Resource on Alcohol, which will provide succinct and practical overviews of foundational knowledge about alcohol, the clinical impacts of alcohol, and strategies for preventing and treating alcohol problems.

A central Core goal is to help healthcare professionals and practices to overcome known barriers to better care for patients whose alcohol use may be affecting their health. It will encourage clinicians, for example, to take steps to help surmount the stigma that can interfere with optimum care for patients with alcohol problems, to conduct alcohol screening and brief interventions, and to consider prescribing medications for alcohol use disorder (AUD) when indicated. The Core also will provide many helpful links for a wide range of healthcare professionals to learn more, and it will support these professionals in making changes in their practices.

NIAAA also currently offers a portal for healthcare professionals on the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator website, which provides information about AUD treatment options, guidance for making referrals, and resources for alcohol screening, assessment, and treatment with medications. The main goal of the portal is to help clinicians who are not addiction specialists to steer their patients or clients with AUD to providers who offer evidence-based alcohol treatment.