Dissemination of a Universally Delivered Brief Alcohol Intervention in United States Air Force Technical Training


OBJECTIVES: Heavy alcohol use is a particular problem in the US military, prompting the Institute of Medicine to identify it as a public health crisis. Developing prevention programs aimed at reducing problematic drinking during military service would be useful. Thus, the purpose of the current study, was to broadly disseminate and assess the effectiveness of a brief alcohol intervention (BAI) + random breathalyzer (RB) intervention to reduce alcohol related incidents (ARIs), to all incoming Air Force trainees. METHODS: The BAI was administered to all incoming Airmen (N = 15,898) across 4 major training Air Force bases. Additionally, underage Airmen were subject to RB tests. A quasi-experimental pre-test post-test design compared the rate of ARIs, per 100,000 training days, during the year prior and the year after the intervention was delivered. RESULTS: A Poisson model indicated that the BAI + RB intervention was associated with a decrease in ARIs across all bases. Overall, the intervention lowered the ARI rate by 16% (β = -0.178, standard error  = 0.0742, P = 0.016). For every 100,000 training days, annual ARIs decreased from 30.8 to 25.5 after implementation. CONCLUSIONS: A universally administered brief alcohol intervention, coupled with RB targeting underage drinkers, was associated with a reduction in the rate of ARIs. Results of this large-scale prevention study indicate that a brief alcohol intervention can be widely disseminated during US Air Force training and can perhaps reduce costs and make a public health contribution by decreasing alcohol related incidents.

Publication Title

Journal of addiction medicine