A cascade of care for alcohol use disorder: Using 2015–2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data to identify gaps in past 12-month care

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Abstract

Background: Although effective treatments exist, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is undertreated. We used a cascade of care framework to understand gaps in care for persons with AUD. Methods: Using 2015–2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data, we evaluated the following steps in the cascade of care: (1) adult prevalence of AUD; (2) proportion of adults with AUD who utilized health care in the past 12 months; (3) proportion with AUD screened about their alcohol use; (4) proportion with AUD who received a brief intervention about their alcohol misuse; (5) proportion with AUD who received information about treatment for alcohol misuse; and (6) proportion with AUD who received treatment. Analyses were stratified by AUD severity. Results: Of the 214,505 persons included in the sample, the weighted prevalence of AUD was 7.8% (95% CI 7.6–8.0%). Cascades of care showed the majority of individuals with AUD utilized health care in the past 12 months [81.4% (95% CI 80.7–82.1%)] and were screened about alcohol use [69.9% (95% CI 68.9–70.8%)]. However, only a minority of individuals received subsequent steps of care, including 11.6% (95% CI 11.0–12.2%) who reported receiving a brief intervention, 5.1% (95% CI 4.6–5.6%) who were referred to treatment, and 5.8% (95% CI 5.4–6.3%) who received treatment. Similar patterns were observed when cascades of care were stratified by AUD severity. Conclusions: Persons with AUD commonly utilize health care and are often screened about alcohol use, but few receive treatment. Healthcare settings—particularly primary care settings—represent a prime opportunity to implement AUD treatment to improve outcomes in this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1276-1286
Number of pages11
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume45
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • alcohol use disorder
  • alcohol use screening
  • cascade of care
  • evidence-based treatment

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