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Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (ASBI)

ASBI stands for Alcohol Screening Brief Intervention. Since September 2008, Ohio’s Montgomery County WIC program has practiced the ASBI process. It is a process modeled after California WIC, which screens all pregnant WIC participants for alcohol use, provides brief interventions to all who screen positive, follows those receiving brief interventions during pregnancy, and refers them to treatment services. The goal is to educate pregnant women about the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant and, in turn, positively influence their decision about reducing or completely ceasing drinking.

Results from Montgomery County WIC indicate that five percent of the pregnant women screened positive, 97 percent abstain from further alcohol use after an initial brief intervention, and 99 percent abstain after two brief interventions.

It is estimated that 10 out of every 1,000 births in the United States are affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD is an umbrella term that describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. The WIC program currently does an excellent job of screening women for drug and alcohol use and making referrals to substance abuse treatment programs. However, only heavy users qualify for substance abuse treatment programs, and yet a developing fetus of a pregnant woman with lower levels of alcohol use can also be at risk.

WIC clinics providing brief intervention sessions to pregnant women using alcohol are helping them understand the dangers of drinking during pregnancy and set goals for reducing or ceasing their drinking. A study done by Mary J. O’Connor, PhD, with the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, and Shannon E. Whaley, PhD, with the Public Health Foundation Enterprises Management Solution WIC, shows that pregnant women who reported using alcohol and received brief intervention sessions of 10 to 15 minutes were five times more likely to report abstinence after the intervention. Also, newborns whose mothers received brief interventions had higher birth weights and birth lengths, and fetal mortality rates were three times lower.

State WIC and the Montgomery County WIC program developed the Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention training modules for all Ohio WIC projects. 


ASBI process materials