Over the limit?

 作者:相崛跖     |      日期:2019-03-08 07:09:01
By Liz Tynan in Sydney A VISIT to your family doctor for any ailment could soon routinely include a brief series of questions about your alcohol consumption—and, if needed, advice on how to cut down. A WHO project that aims to reduce excessive drinking, coordinated at the University of Sydney, is now entering its final phase. Its target is not people who are addicted to alcohol, but those who nevertheless drink enough to damage their health. The WHO team, led by John Saunders of the University of Sydney and Nick Heather of the Northern Regional Alcohol and Drug Service in Newcastle upon Tyne in Britain, met in Sydney last week. They want doctors’ consultations to routinely include a brief questionnaire designed to discover how much and how often their patients drink. Those who are drinking more than the internationally recommended limits per week of 21 units of alcohol for men and 14 for women would be given a five-minute, structured chat about reducing their consumption. One alcohol unit is roughly equivalent to a glass of wine. In many countries, up to 30 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women are thought to exceed the WHO’s limits. “We are trying to make this an everyday part of good medical practice,” says Saunders. A 10-year follow-up study of problem drinkers given similar advice on cutting down has shown a 30 per cent decrease in levels of excessive drinking, he says. The WHO team is now trying to win political backing for the scheme in countries across North America, Europe and Australasia. But even if governments back the plan, will doctors be keen to take on the extra work? “I think it should be a mandatory part of routine general practice,” says David Dammery, acting chair of the Victorian Faculty of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. However, Bill Reith, the honourary secretary of Britain’s Royal College of General Practitioners, says that many doctors struggle to cope with their existing workload. “There is an issue of time,