Article: article from journal or magazin.
Safer-drinking strategies used by chronically homeless individuals with alcohol dependence.
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Publication types: Journal Article Publication Status: ppublish
Chronically homeless individuals with alcohol dependence experience severe alcohol-related consequences. It is therefore important to identify factors that might be associated with reduced alcohol-related harm, such as the use of safer-drinking strategies. Whereas effectiveness of safer-drinking strategies has been well-documented among young adults, no studies have explored this topic among more severely affected populations, such as chronically homeless individuals with alcohol dependence. The aims of this study were thus to qualitatively and quantitatively document safer-drinking strategies used in this population. Participants (N=31) were currently or formerly chronically homeless individuals with alcohol dependence participating in a pilot study of extended-release naltrexone and harm-reduction counseling. At weeks 0 and 8, research staff provided a list of safer-drinking strategies for participants to endorse. Implementation of endorsed safer-drinking strategies was recorded at the next appointment. At both time points, strategies to buffer the effects of alcohol on the body (e.g., eating prior to and during drinking) were most highly endorsed, followed by changing the manner in which one drinks (e.g., spacing drinks), and reducing alcohol consumption. Quantitative analyses indicated that all participants endorsed safer-drinking strategies, and nearly all strategies were implemented (80-90% at weeks 0 and 8, respectively). These preliminary findings indicate that chronically homeless people with alcohol dependence use strategies to reduce harm associated with their drinking. Larger randomized controlled trials are needed to test whether interventions that teach safer-drinking strategies may reduce overall alcohol-related harm in this population.
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