Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Project U-Connect



Implementer: University of Michigan

Partners: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Program Overview: The Project U-Connect program is an alcohol brief intervention (BI) delivered by computer or therapist that aims to reduce youth alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences.

Program Design: Incorporating motivational interviewing, the BI addresses alcohol consumption and consequences of underage drinkers, including driving under the influence (DUI), alcohol-related injury, and other concomitant drug use. Although similar in content, the computer BI is an offline, Facebook-styled program, while the therapist BI is facilitated by a computerized workbook for structure.

Evaluation: Patients (ages 14-20) in the emergency department (ED) that screened positive for risky drinking were randomized to a computerized BI (n = 277), a therapist BI (n = 278), or a control (n = 281). Participants completed questionnaires that measured alcohol consumption, alcohol consequences, driving under the influence, alcohol-related injury, and drug use. Follow-up assessments were self-administered at 3, 6, and 12 months. One of two booster conditions (post-ED session or control) was administered after the 3-month follow-up interview.

Key findings: A single-session BI, delivered by a computer or therapist in the ED, shows a positive effect on underage drinkers in decreasing alcohol consumption index scores and alcohol-related consequences.

-The therapist and computer BIs significantly reduced consumption at 3 months, consequences at 3 and 12 months, and prescription drug use at 12 months; the computer BI reduced the frequency of DUI at 12 months; and the therapist BI reduced the frequency of alcohol-related injury at 12 months.

-The post-ED booster session reduced alcohol consequences at 6 months, benefiting those who had not received a BI in the ED.


Cunningham, R.M., Chermack, S.T., Ehrlich, P.F., Carter, P.M., Booth, B.M., Blow, F.C., Barry, K.L., & Walton, M.A. (2015). Alcohol interventions among underage drinkers in the ED: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics, 136(4), e783-93.

Walton, M.A., Chermack, S.T., Blow, F.C., Ehrlich, P.F., Barry, K.L., Booth, B.M., & Cunningham, R.M. (2015). Components of brief alcohol interventions for youth in the emergency department. Substance Abuse, 36(3), 339-49.

Target Audience: High school (15-18 years old), Middle school (10-14 years), University/young adults (18-21 years)
Issues: Drinking and Driving
Setting: Primary health care settings
Approach: Screening and Brief Intervention
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