Risky drinking among community pharmacy customers in New Zealand and their attitudes towards pharmacist screening and brief interventions

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2012 Jan;31(1):56-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00293.x. Epub 2011 Apr 5.


Introduction and aims: To estimate the prevalence of risky drinking among customers in community pharmacies and to explore customer attitudes towards screening and brief intervention (SBI).

Design and methods: Cross-sectional, anonymous survey, using random selection of community pharmacies in New Zealand to collect data using self-completion questionnaires and an opportunity to enter a prize draw. Participants were customers/patients attending the community pharmacy on a specific, randomly selected day (Monday to Friday) in one set week. Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT)-C using a cut-off score of 5 was used to measure risky drinking. Attitudes towards pharmacists engaging in SBI for risky drinkers were measured.

Results: 2384 completed customer/patient questionnaires from 43 participating pharmacies. Almost 84% ever drank alcohol and using a score of 5 or more as a cut-off, 30% of the sample would be considered as risky drinkers. Attitudes were generally positive to pharmacists undertaking SBI. Logistic regression with AUDIT-C positive or negative as the dependent variable found those taking medicines for mental health and liver disease being more likely to score negative on the AUDIT-C, and smokers and those purchasing hangover cures were more likely than average to have a positive AUDIT-C screen.

Discussion and conclusions: This study indicates there is scope for community pharmacists to undertake SBI for risky drinking, and that customers find this to be acceptable. Targeted screening may well be useful, in particular for smokers. Further research is required to explore the effectiveness of SBI for risky drinkers in this setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Community Pharmacy Services / organization & administration*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration*
  • Prevalence
  • Professional Role
  • Risk-Taking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult