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NEW STUDY BY KAISER PERMANENTE'S CENTER FOR HEALTH RESEARCH AIMS TO REDUCE DRINKING AMONG MODERATE-TO-HEAVY DRINKERS

 PORTLAND, Ore., March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Millions of Americans will tip back a few glasses of beer to celebrate St. Patrick's Day March 17, Kaiser Permanente said today. Many of these celebrants are part of a hidden national problem which a new study hopes to address -- moderate- to-heavy drinking. This type of drinking causes illness and accidents but moderate-to-heavy drinkers seldom receive adequate attention because they aren't alcoholics.
 To reduce drinking in this population and reduce alcohol-related problems, Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research has received a $700,000 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
 Alcohol use can increase illness and disease, resulting in more use of medical care and higher medical costs. While alcoholics account for far greater costs per capita than other drinkers, alcoholics are a fairly small group. "Moderate-to-heavy drinkers are a much larger group, and their cumulative demands on America's health care system are less noted but more costly," said Robert Senft, M.D., principal investigator for the two-year study.
 According to Dr. Senft, most traditional treatment programs are directed almost exclusively to alcoholics while until recently the problems of drinkers who aren't alcoholics have been ignored. "If the study is successful," said Senft, "it would also show that it's possible to integrate brief, low-cost drinking interventions into primary care settings."
 The study will be conducted in several of Kaiser Permanente's Northwest medical offices. People who participate in the study will receive brief advice about drinking and health issues from their primary care physician. They also will be asked to meet with a health counselor to discuss how drinking patterns affect health. For those who are interested, the counselor will help to develop a plan to modify their drinking.
 Kaiser Permanente is the nation's largest group practice health maintenance organization with more than 6.6 million members in 16 states, including approximately 375,000 members in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research, located in Portland, was founded in 1964 as a not-for-profit research institute to conduct health research in the public interest.
 -0- 3/12/93
 /CONTACT: Jan Bellis-Squires of Kaiser Permanente, 503-721-6822; or Terry Fitzpatrick of Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research, 503-335-6602/


CO: Kaiser Permanente ST: Oregon IN: HEA SU:

LM-SW -- SE002 -- 5595 03/12/93 15:00 EST
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Date:Mar 12, 1993
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