260995 Tackling Scotland's drinking problem: An examination of transdermal alcohol monitoring as a tool to change drinking behaviour

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fergus Neville, BSc(Hons) MRes PhD , School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland
Damien Williams, BSc(Hons) PhD FRSPH , School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland
Michael Harvey, MPH , School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Christine Goodall, BDS, BSc, PGCert, FDS (OS) PhD , Community Oral Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Jeffrey Murer, PhD , School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland
Prof Peter D. Donnelly, MD MPH FRCP FFPH , Professor of Public Health Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom
Background Scotland needs to tackle its drinking problem. Excessive alcohol consumption places a significant burden on Scottish society (Scottish Government, 2010): alcohol-related deaths have risen over 100% since 1990 (Scottish Government, 2009) and 45% of prisoners admitted to being drunk at the time of their offence (SPS, 2007). Recently, the use of transdermal alcohol monitoring anklets in the USA successfully reduced alcohol consumption among those convicted of DUI (AMS, 2012). However, there is little robust research examining how this technology curbs drinking, or the experience of wearing an anklet. Methods A mixed-methods experimental approach was employed to investigate patterns of alcohol consumption and experiences of monitoring over a 2-week period. Data collection methods included: transdermal alcohol monitoring, questionnaires, reflective diaries, and focus groups. A convenience sample of 60 Scottish university students self-identifying as heavy drinkers was randomly allocated to three conditions: 1.Wear anklet, asked not to drink; 2.Wear anklet, drink as usual; 3.No anklet, asked not to drink. Results Questionnaire and transdermal alcohol monitoring data allowed quantitative analysis of patterns of consumption. Focus groups and diaries provided depth to this analysis by yielding rich, contextual information. Further, these qualitative methods explored how participants felt about the technology (e.g. intrusive/helpful) how it shaped alcohol consumption (e.g. offering a valid reason not to drink) and the practicalities of living with the anklet (e.g. preventing participation in certain activities). Conclusions The current study provides insights into the experience of transdermal alcohol monitoring, and the ways in which it may modify alcohol consumption.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the impact of excessive alcohol consumption upon health and crime in Scotland. 2. Discuss how transdermal alcohol monitoring may assist an individual to change their drinking behaviour, 3. Identify drinking populations who may benefit most from transdermal alcohol monitoring.

Keywords: Alcohol, Violence Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Study reports the effectiveness and experience of transdermal alcohol monitoring using SCRAMx ankle bracelets manufactured by AMS (www.alcoholmonitoring.com).

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am employed as a research fellow in public health, and am playing a leading role in conducting and analysing the research to be presented. I also have a PhD in social psychology which is relevant to the submitted study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.