Scotland texting program aims to prevent binge drinking, STDs

Let's face it, there's a reason why "stupid" is a euphemism for "inebriated." And to prevent young adults from acting irresponsibly while hitting the sauce, researchers in Scotland are launching a pilot program to send text messages to "hazardous drinkers" as a means of preventing binge drinking and stopping the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The study, called "Talking or Texting?" will recruit 1,000 volunteers in their 20s to determine effective means of encouraging participants to drink in moderation via one of three methods: text messaging, leaflets or a brief, structured interview with a health professional, E-Health Insider reports. Those in the first group will receive a text message each Friday night over the next year to stress moderate drinking before they head out for the evening.

Messages will include reminders to "take it easy," "make sure it's you making the decisions" and "eat before and while you drink," as well as warnings such as: "You're more likely to be sexually assaulted if you're drunk. Alcohol provokes the desire but takes away the performance," according to Dr. Steve Bagley, a sexual health specialist at Woolmanhill Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland.

"Texting has never been tried for alcohol before. Texting has been tried internationally and found to be effective for smoking cessation, weight loss and for promoting exercise and in the control of diabetes," Bagley tells E-Health Insider.

To learn more about this program:
- click through to this E-Health Insider story