A survey of alcohol use in an inner-city ambulatory care setting

David G. Simon, J. William Eley, Raymond S. Greenberg, Nancy Newman, Theresa Gillespie, Melvin Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective:To measure the prevalence of current drinking and potential problem drinking in an inner-city ambulatory care setting, using the CAGE questionnaire. Design:Survey of patients attending ambulatory care clinics, using structured personal interviews. Setting:Three ambulatory care clinics serving an indigent, predominantly black population of metropolitan Atlanta: a general medical appointment clinic, a walk-in clinic, and a neighborhood primary care clinic. Patients/participants:Patients over the age of 18 who attended one of the above clinics on a day when interviewers were available and who were estimated to have more than a 45-minute wait prior to seeing their bealth provider. Interventions:None. Measurements and main results:15.3% of subjects had CAGE scores ≥2 (95% CI 12.2, 19.0). A CAGE score of ≥2 was almost three times more common in men than in women, 26.7% vs. 9.5%. Only 8.6% (95% CI 6.3, 11.7) of subjects reported drinking ≥2 drinks per day. These findings suggest that problem drinking may affect as many as one in six people seeking care in inner-city ambulatory care clinics and provide support for the use of screening instruments such as the CAGE questionnaire for improved sensitivity in detecting alcobolism in these practice settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-298
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol abuse
  • alcoholism
  • ambulatory care clinics
  • blacks
  • CAGE questionnaire
  • inner-city, urban population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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