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MGH To Quiz All Patients About Use Of Alcohol And Illegal Drugs

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts General Hospital plans to begin questioning all patients about their use of alcohol and illegal drugs starting this fall, even if they are at MGH for a totally unrelated issue.

Dr. Sarah Wakeman, director of substance abuse disorders at Mass. General, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens the purpose is to make substance abuse treatment part of mainstream medical care.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports

MGH To Ask Patients About Alcohol And Illegal Drugs

"We're really trying to make this health condition like any other so just like we do diabetes screening or blood pressure screening or ask people about sunscreen, it just becomes one more component of health care that we ask about," Wakeman explained.

Four questions will be posed, including "how often have you had six or more drinks on one occasion," and "how often have you used an illegal drug in the past year?"

Enough "yes" answers could prompt a special team to conduct what's being called a "bedside intervention" and possible treatment.

The mandatory treatment plan comes amid soaring numbers of opiate addiction across Massachusetts and the region, with many hospitals working to improve addiction treatment.

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