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Awarded Grant - Acute Care

Phone Intervention for Hazardous Ethanol Use in Emergency Department (ED) Motor Vehicle Crash Patients

FOA Number: CE03-023 - Grants for Acute Care, Rehabilitation and Disability ResearchProject Period: 09/01/03–08/31/06
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE123228-01
Principal Investigator: Michael J. Mello, MD, MPH
Rhode Island Hospital
Injury Prevention Center
Room 334 593 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 401-444-2685
Fax: 401-444-2249


Injury is the leading cause of death into the third decade of life, and alcohol is an enormous risk factor for injury. Alcohol is involved in 40% of fatal motor vehicle crashes (MVC). The long-term goal of this research program is to reduce alcohol-related injuries and other negative alcohol-related consequences among patients injured in a MVC who present for treatment in a hospital ED. An ED visit provides an ideal teachable moment in which to intervene for an alcohol-use problem. A prior study by researchers at this institution has shown that a brief motivational intervention administered in the ED, followed by a booster session, reduces alcohol-related injuries and other negative consequences at a 12-month follow-up for sub-critically injured, harmful/hazardous drinkers. The researchers will study whether such an intervention given by telephone will be effective. Contrary to the generally held notion that counseling requires face-to-face interaction, research finds that telephone counseling and intervention can effectively treat a range of health and mental health conditions. Telephone intervention is also likely to be more cost-effective.

The study’s primary aim is to test whether a brief motivational intervention given by telephone to harmful/hazardous drinkers injured in a MVC will reduce alcohol-related injuries and other negative alcohol-related consequences. Researchers will randomly assign 286 hazardous drinkers injured in a MVC and treated in the ED to telephone brief motivational intervention or standard care. Re-assessment will be at 3 and 12 months to measure changes in reducing alcohol-related injuries and other alcohol-related negative consequences. A secondary aim is to test for patient characteristics that may moderate effectiveness of the intervention. The study will examine if effect is dependent on the extent of hazardous drinking; or on attribution of injury to alcohol; or on the subject's self assessment of the pros and cons of alcohol use at the time of their injury.