Two new studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that brief counseling may not be effective in counteracting drug use. Previous research has shown brief interventions can help some problem drinkers, NPR reports.
Public health officials have been urging primary care doctors and hospital emergency rooms to ask patients about drug use, and to immediately give those with a drug problem a 10- to 15-minute counseling session, known as a brief intervention.
One of the new studies looked at more than 500 people who were determined to have a drug problem, based on a verbal screening at a primary care clinic. They were divided into three groups. The first two groups received brief counseling, while the third group received no counseling. After six months, those who had received brief counseling had not reduced drug use any more than people who received no counseling.