Benefits | Alcohol and Substance Misuse Evaluation Interventions

Health benefits for alcohol and substance misuse10-14

Employee health benefits are part of an overall compensation package and affect an employee’s willingness to seek preventive services and clinical care.

Provide coverage for screening and counseling to reduce alcohol misuse

  • The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening and counseling in clinical settings for people who misuse alcohol (i.e., patients who drink in excess of NIAAA guidelines)
  • Brief counseling in clinical settings can reduce consumption among drinkers who misuse alcohol who do not meet the criteria for alcohol dependence. Each dollar invested in screening and brief counseling saves $4 in health care costs
  • Routine measurement of biochemical markers (i.e., screening) is not recommended in asymptomatic persons
  • Pregnant women should be advised to limit or cease drinking during pregnancy
  • All persons who use alcohol should be counseled about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle or performing other potentially dangerous activities after drinking alcohol

Provide coverage for screening for depression in clinical practices

  • Other mental health disorders frequently co-occur with alcohol and drug misuse problems. For people struggling with co-occurring mental health and substance misuse disorders, physical safety and overall health risk are greater; the impairment of life skills is greater; and the chances for successful treatment are much less
  • Mental health problems often predate substance misuse problems by 4-6 years; alcohol or other drugs may be used as a form of self-medication to alleviate the symptoms of the mental health disorder
  • In some cases, substance misuse precedes the development of mental health problems. For instance, anxiety and depression may be brought on as a response to stressors from broken relationships, lost employment, and other situations directly related to a drug-using lifestyle
  • A person with a substance misuse problem should be screened and treated as needed for depression and other mental health problems