ER Text Message Reduces Teen Binge Drinking

Technology is everywhere, so why not use it to help skirt addiction? A study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine revealed that teens reduced their binge drinking habits after visiting the emergency room and engaging in a question-and-answer session on the topic.

People who tested positively in the ER for binge drinking reduced their drinking by 50 percent after receiving a dose of mobile medicine.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine reported that more than 50,000 people between the ages of 18 and 24 displayed habits of binge drinking. Of that number, more than one-third reported a dependence on alcohol.

The study used 765 patients in that age bracket with a history of binge drinking. Over 12 weeks, one-third of the patients received a text message asking them to submit questions related to drinking. The patients would then have their questions answered by ER staff. The answers subtly suggested ways to reduce drinking or ways to reflect on the patient’s choice to reduce his or her drinking or not. Another one-third of the patients did not receive any text messages. The last third received text messages, but did not get feedback.

Those who received texts and submitted questions for feedback reduced the number of binge drinking days by 51 percent, and 31 percent reduced the number of drinking days overall. Patients who received only text messages or no correspondence increased the number of days they binge drank.

Alcohol is the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

Researchers stated that despite the news surrounding opiates and prescription drugs, alcohol still remains potent among all people. Alcohol is the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported in 2012 that 24 percent of people over 18 engaged in binge drinking in the past month of being surveyed. Binge drinking is considered five or more drinks during one occasion.

The researchers hope that their methods of intervention can help reduce binge drinking numbers significantly across the nation.

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