The adverse influence of alcohol in suicides

the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), a program that is evidence-based and used to diagnose, decrease and counter problematic use and addiction to illegal drugs and alcohol.

“There’s seems to be quite a bit of evidence that [SBIRT] is a good program to try to reduce high-risk drinking among people who are drinking fairly heavily,” he said. “Those sorts of programs should be considered. They’re often given in health care settings and sometimes in clinics, and there have also been some initiatives to offer them in health centers, universities, colleges and in the workplace. So there are many different contexts where these services can be provided, but I think that’s a good thing to consider.”

Communities can also help by providing additional services and counseling to people who are likely drinking heavily, distressed by various circumstances, and suicidal, Giesbrecht said. “They need to provide certain services with regard to brief intervention counseling on alcohol issues because about a third, as indicated in the paper, of the suicides in the 14 states had alcohol involvement.”

Additionally, current policies increase the physical availability of alcohol, he said. “Physical availability refers to the number of outlets, hours and days of sale — or makes alcohol available through extensive marketing, or makes it more available through low prices.”

“I think that the real challenge is trying to figure out what is going on there,” Giesbrecht said. “All of these factors have an impact on how much drinking there is in society and the problems related to drinking.”