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  April 4, 2000

Health Center Offers Screening
for Alchohol Problems

Is alcohol playing too large a role in your life? Do you sometimes worry that you drink too much, or wonder what it would be like to cut back? These are difficult questions, and confidential help will be available on Thursday, April 6, when the UConn Health Center participates in National Alcohol Screening Day.

During the day, professionals will answer confidential questions by phone between noon and 1 p.m. and again between 3 and 5 p.m. To speak with a professional, call (860) 679-6709.

That evening, people can come to the Health Center for confidential screenings. Participants will be able to meet with health professionals , learn about new areas of research and treatment, take a written self-assessment for alcohol problems, watch an informational video, and pick up brochures and other materials. Walk-ins are welcome, though people are encouraged to make reservations for their screening by calling UConnLink: (800) 535-6232, or (860) 679-7692 locally.

The screenings will take place in the conference room on the main floor of the Academic Research Building. Participants should enter through the main John Dempsey Hospital entrance and follow signs to the NASD program.

The program was designed by the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, to educate the public about alcohol problems and to offer help to individuals and families. Screenings will be held at 1,500 locations across the country on April 6.

At the Health Center, screenings will focus on helping people with drinking problems, as well as those who are at-risk for developing serious problems, says Thomas Babor, director of the Alcohol Research Center, part of the Department of Psychiatry.

"Although alcoholism is a life-threatening disease, we should not lose sight of the fact that for every active alcoholic in the population, there are four risky drinkers who would benefit from early detection and medical advice," Babor says.

"Risky drinkers are people whose drinking poses risk for themselves and others, even if it is just because of taking 'one too many' once in a while," he says.

The Alcohol Research Center at the Health Center is one of 15 centers nationwide supported by the NIAA, a component of the National Institutes of Health. The center works to integrate basic and clinical research on alcoholism and its root causes. For information about outpatient appointments, call (860) 679-6700.

Maureen McGuire