To test the hypothesis that primary health care professionals' activity in intervening in patients' alcohol drinking is low.
A patient questionnaire survey after consultation blind to the primary health care professionals. Subjects were 1000 16-65 -year-old consecutive patients consulting a general practitioner. The response rate was 66.5%.
Of all participants 6.3% and of excessive drinkers 11.9% were asked about alcohol drinking at the consultation in question. Of all 64.7% and of excessive drinkers 52.4% had never been asked about drinking. Of all 6.0% and of excessive drinkers 19.0% were advised about alcohol drinking at the consultation in question.
Alcohol drinking is rarely brought up in discussion by primary health care professionals, even in the case of excessive drinkers.