Two questions enough to detect alcohol abuse

In a meta-analysis of 17 studies examining the effectiveness of single questions to detect alcohol abuse in a primary care setting, researchers from the University of Leicester in the UK found that the two questions – ‘How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?’ and ‘As a result of your drinking or drug use, did anything happen in the last year that you wish didn’t happen?’ – had an accuracy of 79.8% in detecting substance abuse among a total of 5646 respondents.

However, the two questions had their accuracy boosted to 90.8% when combined with the additional four questions of the CAGE questionnaire, according to the paper.

The long-established CAGE questionnaire asks: ‘Have you ever felt the need to cut down on your drinking?’, ‘Have people annoyed you by criticising your drinking’, ‘Have you ever felt guilty about drinking?’ and ‘Have you ever felt you needed a