Text Messages Can Help Reduce Young Adults’ Binge Drinking

Receiving text messages about binge drinking after visiting the emergency room can help young adults reduce their hazardous alcohol consumption by more than 50 percent, a new study suggests.

The study included 765 young adults seen in the emergency room, who had a history of hazardous drinking. The study participants were divided into thirds. One third received text messages for 12 weeks that prompted them to respond to questions about their drinking. They received texts in return that offered feedback on their answers, News-Medical.net reports. Another third received text messages asking about their drinking, but received no feedback. The remaining third received no text messages.

Participants who received both text message questions about their drinking and feedback said they decreased their binge drinking by 51 percent, and the number of drinks per day by 31 percent. Those who received only text messages or no text messages increased the number of days they engaged in binge drinking, which is defined as five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more drinks for women.

The study is published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

“Each day in the U.S., more than 50,000 adults ages 18 to 24 visit ERs and up to half have hazardous alcohol use patterns,” lead researcher Brian Suffoletto, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said in a news release. “More than a third of them report alcohol abuse or dependence. The emergency department provides a unique setting to screen young adults for drinking problems and to engage with them via their preferred mode of communication to reduce future use.”

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found excessive alcohol use accounts for one in 10 deaths among working-age adults ages 20-64 years in the United States.

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    June 26, 2018 at 11:42 PM

    Hello, I have a 23 year old Son who is currently in state prison. He was charged with DUI which caused him to violate his probation for growing a pot plant when he was 17. He was incarcerated in April of last year. We have since received information of the results of his drug and alcohol test for the DUI and they found no drugs or alcohol in his system. So why is he still in prison? We know he had an issue with alcohol and pot when he went into a re-hab program a few months before the DUI charge, but he was working on that at the time of his DUI charge. When he gets out, I’m worried that he will retaliate against “the system” for wrongfully charging him and go back to his old ways. He has been beat several times while incarcerated. During the last incident, gang members (my Son is not affiliated) broke his nose, his jaw, 2 teeth out, and shattered his orbital eye socket. He does not deserve this, but I feel helpless to help him. I’m being told that I cannot get an appointment with the sentencing judge to be able to show her the proof of innocence, but what can I do? I’m hearing bitterness in his voice when he calls and he’s got every right to be. But, I want my sweet, happy go lucky, loving, caring boy to come home. Please help. Thank you

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      Josie Feliz

      June 27, 2018 at 9:17 AM

      Thanks for your message Tammy. We have forwarded your message to one of our helpline specialists who can help better answer your question, and she will be reaching out to you shortly. Please do not hesitate to call our helpline at 855-DRUGFREE in the future. Thank you. -The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

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      June 28, 2018 at 11:21 AM

      Hi Tammy,
      I can’t imagine how difficult this situation is given that there is new evidence, your son’s abusive treatment and his emotional state. I’m wondering if you can speak to the lawyer that represented him in the first place or send a letter to the judge. There may be legal advocacy people in your state that you can turn to as well.

      As for your son’s resentment over this conviction, it’s helpful to empathize as I’m sure you are doing, and also to talk about what would going back to his “old ways” result in. Would he likely end up back in the system? Would he end up with more fines and a more extensive record? On the other hand, if he can try to put this behind him, he can open a new chapter in his life. What would that look like? What would he like to be doing? Job, school, hobbies? What about friendships that he can rekindle? He may benefit from counseling if available in prison and definitely when he’s released to address his coping skills.

      As Josie mentioned, feel free to call or chat with us further if you’d like to discuss a more specific plan.

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