Hazardous and harmful consumption of alcohol is a leading cause of preventable disease and premature deaths. Modifying the amount and pattern of risky alcohol consumption conveys substantial benefits to individuals and to society at large. Telephone helplines provide a feasible alternative to face-to-face counselling in order to increase the reach of brief interventions aiming at modifying the hazardous and harmful use of alcohol. However, there is a lack of studies on the implementation and evaluation of population-based telephone services for the prevention and treatment of alcohol misuse.
A randomised controlled trial was designed to compare a brief, structured intervention to usual care within the Swedish National Alcohol Helpline (SAH), concerning their effectiveness on decreasing the hazardous use of alcohol. Between May 2015 and December 2017, about 300 callers are to be individually randomised with a 1:1 ratio to a brief, structured intervention (n?=?150) or to usual care (n?=?150). The brief, structured intervention consists of the delivery of a self-help booklet followed by one proactive call from SAH counsellors to monitor and give feedback about the client's progression. Callers assigned to usual care receive telephone counselling according to existing practice, i.e., motivational interviewing in a tailored and client-driven combination of proactive and reactive calls. The primary outcome is defined as a change from a higher to a lower AUDIT risk-level category between baseline and follow-up. General linear modeling will be used to calculate risk ratios of the outcome events. The primary analysis will follow an intention-to-treat (ITT) approach.
The trial is designed to evaluate the effectiveness in decreasing the hazardous and harmful consumption of alcohol of a brief, structured intervention compared to usual care when delivered at the SAH. The results of the study will be used locally to improve the effectiveness of the service provided at the SAH. Additionally, they will expand the evidence base about optimal counselling models in population-based telephone services for alcohol misuse prevention and treatment.
ISRCNT.com, ID: ISRCTN13160878 . Retrospectively registered on 18 January 2016.