Drinking Heavy clinical trials at UCSD
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Latinos will comprise nearly 30% of the population by 2050, and socially disadvantaged Latinos experience a greater burden of poor health and negative social consequences related to their alcohol use than non-Latino Whites. Despite the need for services, low treatment utilization rates and poor treatment retention suggest it is important to make alcohol interventions more accessible for Latinos. Community health workers are an effective way to help under-served populations manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, but they have been used very little in addiction services. The current study extends work from a pilot study that utilized community health workers to deliver a brief alcohol intervention that integrates Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Strengths-Based Case Management (MET/SBCM). Based on those promising but preliminary findings, this study will test the MET/SBCM intervention among a broader population of socially disadvantaged Latinos who engage in unhealthy drinking. For the study a partnership will be formed between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a large community-based healthcare organization, Providence Center for Community Health Improvement to conduct a randomized controlled trial of the MET/SBCM intervention. Participants (n=260) will screen positive for exceeding US low-risk drinking guidelines and will not be seeking alcohol treatment. They will be randomized to either the 3-session MET/SBCM alcohol intervention or to an alcohol brochure control condition. Alcohol use, alcohol-related problems and utilization of health and social services will be assessed at baseline, 3-, 6- and 12-month follow-ups. It is predicted that the MET/SBCM intervention will improve outcomes compared to the control group. The study will also examine the extent to which changes in drinking were preceded by improvements in readiness to change, perceived benefits and risks associated with alcohol use, perception of drinking norms, use of pro-change language during intervention sessions, belief in one's ability to change, self-esteem and use of community services. The goal of this project is to establish an evidence base for an intervention approach that is sustainable by a large community-based organization serving Latinos. Working with community health workers poises this intervention to address health disparities within this community. The project will help improve the reach and impact of effective alcohol interventions among socially disadvantaged Latinos, thereby contributing to improved population health.