According to the authors, "The finding that lower-risk drinkers did not differ from those of abstinent individuals, in inpatient use in particular, even when controlling for patient characteristics, suggests that a health policy perspective may consider benefits of lower-risk drinking."
Here's the abstract via Wiley:
Figure 1 shows Adjusted odds ratios of utilization by 6-month drinking group over time:
Figure 2 shows Adjusted average costs per member month by 6-month drinking group over time:
As mentioned above, these are the results from patients who attended abstinence-based treatment. It will be
interesting to see if these results are replicated among patients who are instructed on low-risk drinking. What experience do readers have with this issue? Do results like these make those directing abstinence-based programs think twice about the policy? It would be great to hear from you.
Hat tip: Thanks, Dr Reid Hester, for bringing this study to our attention.
Source: Kline‐Simon, A. H., Weisner, C. M., Parthasarathy, S., Falk, D. E., Litten, R. Z., & Mertens, J. R. (2013). Five‐Year Healthcare Utilization and Costs Among Lower‐Risk Drinkers Following Alcohol Treatment. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.