• To ascertain if the introduction of screening and brief interventions change health service provider practice and improve access to care for high risk drinkers and those with wellbeing concerns admitted to the maxillofacial unit
  • To determine if this change in practice will improve outcomes for high risk drinkers and those with wellbeing concerns admitted to the maxillofacial unit.
  • To develop effective strategies to address binge drinking and alcohol related harm among at risk youth and adults
  • To develop effective strategies for early identification and treatment of high risk drinkers in hospital settings
  • To diminish the ongoing impact and severity of alcohol misuse, and ultimately lead to improvements in social and emotional wellbeing of young people and their families.

The Northern Territory (NT) has the highest estimated rate of alcohol caused assault hospitalisations and per capita alcohol consumption (Matthews et al., 2002). The incidence of mandibular (jawbone) fractures in the NT is second only to Greenland and there is a strong involvement of alcohol in the aetiology of facial trauma (Thomas ME and C. Jameson, 2007). Alcohol related harm is common amongst the patients cared for by the maxillofacial surgery unit of the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH), NT.

This 18 month project will introduce screening and brief interventions for high risk drinkers admitted to hospital with facial trauma and evaluate the implementation of a best practice pathway.

The chosen brief intervention is based on findings of a project conducted by the Australian Integrated Mental health initiative (AIMhi) in the NT (Nagel et al., 2009). The ‘motivational care planning’ (MCP) intervention showed good engagement and acceptability (Nagel et al., 2008) and significant improvements in well being, substance dependence and self management (Nagel et al., 2008; Nagel et al., 2007). It was developed in collaboration with Aboriginal Mental Health Workers, and differs from established approaches by inclusion of pictorial tools and a holistic, family focus. A non Indigenous version of this intervention will be used for the non Indigenous patients.

Implications for policy and practice:

Findings from this project will inform future hospital based injury prevention strategies. This project will allow direct transfer of those findings to clinical practice.

Chief Investigator:
Project Manager:
  • Dr Rama Jayaraj
Contact information:
Project dates:

May 2011 - September 2012.



  • Attorney-General's Department.
  • Northern Territory Department of Health.