The potential cost-effectiveness of general practitioner delivered brief intervention for alcohol misuse: Evidence from rural Australia

Héctor José Navarro, Anthony Shakeshaft, Christopher M Doran, Dennis J. Petrie

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This paper aims to model General Practitioner (GP) delivered screening and brief intervention (BI), and to identify the costs per additional risky drinker who reduces alcohol consumption to low-risk levels, relative to current practice. Method: A decision model and nine different scenarios were developed to assess outcomes and costs of GP-delivered screening and BI on the potential number of risky drinkers who reduce their alcohol consumption to low-risk levels in 10 rural communities in New South Wales, Australia. Findings: Based on evidence from current practice, approximately 19% of all risky drinkers visiting GPs annually would reduce alcohol consumption to low-risk levels, of which 0.7% would do so because of GP-delivered screening and BI. If rates of screening and BI are increased to 100%, 36% of these risky drinkers would reduce their drinking to low risk-levels. Alternatively, increments of 10% and 20% in GP-delivered screening and BI would reduce the proportion of risky drinkers by 2.1% and 4.2% respectively. The most cost-effective outcome per additional risky drinker reducing their drinking relative to current practice would be if all of these risky drinkers are screened alone with an ICER of AUD$197. Conclusion: These findings indicate that increments in rates of screening and BI delivered by GPs can result in cost-effective reductions per additional risky drinkers reducing their drinking to low-risk levels, relative to current practice. They also imply that achieving substantial reductions in the prevalence of risky drinking in a community will require strategies other than opportunistic screening and BIs by GPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1198
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol misuse
  • Brief intervention
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • General practitioner
  • Risky drinker

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