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Alcohol Education and Consumption in Rural Northwest Ohio

Author: Katie Lomeo
Institution Affiliation: Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine

Purpose: The current health assessment from the Auglaize County Health Department claims that 61% of adults in Auglaize County had at least 1 alcoholic drink in the past month and 28% are binge drinkers. Many health providers in this rural community note sensitivity when talking to patients about their drinking habits. This study was conducted in order to assess both behavioral and educational change with the introduction of in-office alcohol education to adults in Auglaize County, Ohio. The aim is to ultimately address if alcohol education would have an impact on patients’ drinking habits. Methods: Two surveys were given to participants to explore the research question. First, a pre-survey was given that asked general alcohol education questions and addressed patients drinking habits. A post-survey was then given to participants, after they read an alcohol information handout, to inquire about their amount of learning and impact on drinking habits going forward. Results: The study was carried out on a small scale (n=41) at Grand Lake Primary Care and found that 22.5% of participants drank 1 or more drinks a day and 17.5% qualified as binge drinkers. On the pre-test survey, it was demonstrated that majority of patients were unaware of all the possible cancers and disease processes drinking alcohol can lead to. Therefore, 90% of participants claimed on the post-survey that they learned more about alcohol. What is of greatest significance is that most participants, 45%, responded that the alcohol education will “neutrally” impact their drinking habits. Implications: From an education perspective, this study demonstrates the importance of talking to patients and providing in-office education about drinking and the possible disease processes that can result from excessive use. Using this study information in conjunction with SBIRT can have an even bigger impact in bringing more awareness to alcohol consumption in rural communities.

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