Screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances: How are nurses and midwives involved?

  • Annette Mwansa Nkowane World Health Organization
  • Hazel Watson NONE
  • Franscoise Roy Malis NONE
Keywords: Nursing professions



Globally, about two billion people use alcohol and between 172 and 250 million people used illicit drugs at least once in 2007. Harmful alcohol use accounts for 4.5% of the global burden of disease and is responsible for 3.8% of all deaths. Hazardous and harmful drinkers may constitute up to 20% of patients in primary health care in some countries. Given the extent of the problem and the risks of hazardous and harmful substance use to health, nurses and midwives are well placed to deliver appropriate interventions. Effective screening and brief interventions are central to the public health effort. This literature review focused on the role of nurses and midwives in both screening and delivering brief interventions and entailed review of  literature published in English in which nurses or midwives various databases.

Findings from the review are important for developing strategies for maximizing the role nurses and midwives can play in brief interventions.


Key words: nursing, midwifery, brief interventions, harmful alcohol use, psychoactive substance use

Author Biographies

Annette Mwansa Nkowane, World Health Organization

Technical Officer

World Health Organization

Department of Health Systems Policies and Workforce

Hazel Watson, NONE
Independent Consultant
Franscoise Roy Malis, NONE
Internship at the World Health Organization


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How to Cite
Nkowane, A. M., Watson, H., & Malis, F. R. (2014). Screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances: How are nurses and midwives involved?. International Journal of Nursing, 2(1), 8-12. Retrieved from
Mental Health Nursing