Use of alcoholic beverages in VA medical centers

Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2006 Oct 19;1:30. doi: 10.1186/1747-597X-1-30.


Background: Benzodiazepines are the first-line choice for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. However, several hospitals continue to provide alcoholic beverages through their formulary for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal. While there are data on the prevalence of this practice in academic medical centers, there are no data on the availability of alcoholic beverages at the formularies of the hospitals operated by the department of Veteran's Affairs.

Methods: In this study, we surveyed the Pharmacy managers at 112 Veterans' Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) to ascertain the availability of alcohol on the VAMC formularies, and presence or lack of a policy on the use of alcoholic beverages in their VA Medical Center.

Results: Of the pharmacy directors contacted, 81 responded. 8 did not allow their use, while 20 allowed their use. There was a lack of a consistent policy across the VA medical centers on availability and use of alcoholic beverages for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Conclusion: There is lack of uniform policy on the availability of alcoholic beverages across the VAMCs, which may create potential problems with difference in the standards of care.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium / therapy*
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures / therapy*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / therapeutic use
  • Drug Utilization
  • Ethanol / therapeutic use
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitals, Veterans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / methods
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Syndrome
  • United States


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol