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The argument for universal alcohol screening in primary care is based on the assumption that most heavy drinkers routinely visit a doctor. This study examines whether drinking status is associated with higher or lower odds of visiting a doctor in the past year among California adults. As a point of comparison, the study also examines whether drinking status is associated with the odds of visiting an emergency room. Data came from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the odds of visiting a doctor and an emergency room for abstainers, moderate drinkers, monthly binge drinkers, and weekly binge drinkers. After controlling for demographics, health coverage, and health status, binge drinkers had the same odds of visiting a doctor and the emergency room as moderate drinkers. Among binge drinkers, female gender, health coverage, and high blood pressure were associated with visiting a primary care doctor.

Citation

Suzanne E Spear, Martin Y Iguchi. Intercepting binge drinkers in medical settings: a view from California. Journal of psychoactive drugs. 2012 Sep-Oct;44(4):334-41

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PMID: 23210382

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