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Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction

Drink Less: Effectiveness of the WHO self-help intervention

Summary Two-arm randomized controlled web-based trial that that investigates the effectiveness of the WHO self-help intervention Drink Less
Project manager(s) Michael Schaub
Duration 05.2013 – 03.2018
Client / Funding partner(s) World Health Organization (WHO)
Cooperating partner(s) Project partners from various universities and treatment organisations in Belarus, Brazil, India and Mexico


WHO launched the WHO e-health portal on alcohol and health on December 6, 2012. This portal provides information for policymakers, professionals, and the public at large on alcohol and health, and includes a web-based self-help program to reduce alcohol consumption. The WHO e-health project on alcohol and health has been implemented by WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in collaboration with Trimbos Institute in the Netherlands, as well as institutes and organizations from Belarus, Brazil, India and Mexico. One of the key results of the project is the development of a generic portal on alcohol and health that can be easily translated into other languages and adapted to different cultures. Developing such a generic portal and making it available to interested organizations and institutions is a part of WHO`s implementation of the WHO Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol (WHO 2010). The portal provides an overview of relevant information for policymakers and professionals, while the online intervention offers an innovative method of facilitating and supporting self-help strategies for those who want to reduce alcohol consumption or stop drinking. 


To test the effectiveness of the revised web-based self-help program Drink Less to reduce drinking in hazardous and harmful drinkers in its current four additional language versions in a two arm randomized controlled trial.


Eine zwei-armige randomisiert kontrollierte web-basierte Studie, die das WHO Selbsthilfe-Programm Drink Less mit einer Warteliste vergleicht.

Value of the project

This would be the first study investigating the effectiveness of a web-based self-help program to reduce hazardous and harmful drinkers in different cultures. Proven effectiveness of this new Drink Less self-help program would open the program for other countries worldwide and make it much more attractive for authorities in nations not yet involved. The potential impact on public health by expanding such concepts to other countries would have a comparatively high cost-effectiveness ratio. Presumably, it would reach those persons with either low or no treatment access as well as those who strongly fear stigmatization.