The Century Council provides grant to further explore alcohol intervention via text messaging

Sep 04, 2012, 14:40 ET from The Century Council

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Century Council announced it will award a second grant to a team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Emergency Medicine to further investigate the use of mobile phone text messaging as an intervention tool to reduce hazardous drinking among college students.

Over the next three years, The Century Council, a nonprofit funded by distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, will provide research funding to the Emergency Medicine Foundation and the American College of Emergency Physicians. This grant will support the continuation of their 2010 text message-based drinking assessment and intervention research to effectively reduce hazardous alcohol consumption and related risky behaviors in young adults.

"According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 42 percent of college students report engaging in binge drinking. If text messaging, the primary mode of communications among this population, can potentially reduce binge drinking, this is something we believe is worth exploring further," said Ralph S. Blackman, president and CEO of The Century Council.

Building on the successful initial research, which demonstrated measurable change in behavior utilizing a text message-based intervention over the course of 12 weeks, this follow-up study will determine whether this form of intervention can initiate and maintain a reduction in both alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems among young adults for up to one year after being discharged from the emergency department (ED). If effective, these efforts could translate into an automated intervention allowing for widespread adoption, which would potentially help reduce a significant public health problem.

In 2011, Dr. Brian Suffoletto led a research team, which found that participants who received the text message-delivered intervention reduced their binge drinking episodes by three per month and drank two fewer drinks per drinking occasion compared to their baseline. Similar to the previous study, college-age individuals who were present at the hospital's emergency department for either an alcohol- or non- alcohol related ED visit will be recruited to participate in this initiative with assessments at 3-, 6-, 9- and 12-months. 

During this time participants who report current drinking behavior via dialog through text messaging will be sent either no feedback or adaptive feedback, including goal setting to reduce their drinking, to confirm whether SMS-delivered intervention decreases and maintains reduction in alcohol use and alcohol-related problems for up to one year.

"This intervention uses an automatic computer system that allows us to provide targeted messages, offer encouragement to set goals to reduce drinking, and positive reinforcement and strategies to reduce dangerous consumption on a large scale with minimal cost," Suffoletto said.

The Century Council is a national not-for-profit leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, The Century Council promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol and develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns which ignite action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Century Council's initiatives are highlighted on its website at

Darron Moffatt,


SOURCE The Century Council