OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of implementing screening strategies associated with brief interventions for prevention of alcohol abuse, within primary healthcare. METHODS: This evaluation study was conducted among 113 primary healthcare professionals and managers in three municipalities in the Zona da Mata of Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil, in 2007. The health professionals participated in a training to perform screening associated with brief interventions for alcohol use prevention. Six months after this training, a follow-up evaluation was carried out. The qualitative assessment involved participant observation, interviews with managers before the training and during the follow-up, and focus groups with healthcare professionals during the follow-up. The content analysis technique was applied. The following instruments were used for the quantitative assessment: Objective Knowledge Questionnaire, Moralization Scale for Alcohol Use, Perception Model for Alcohol Use Questionnaire and Preventive Practices for Alcohol Use Questionnaire. The municipalities were compared before the training and during the follow-up, and longitudinal evaluations were performed in each municipality, using descriptive and inferential statistics. RESULTS: Participation by the managers and integration among the health professionals regarding the practices of screening and brief intervention were associated with greater effectiveness of implementation. This occurred in one of the municipalities, in which there was a significant decrease in the degree to which alcohol use was moralized by the healthcare professionals, in comparison with the other municipalities. In the other municipalities, the effects of the implementation process for the project indicated that the frequency of performing preventive practices against alcohol use increased, along with the health professionals' knowledge, although not enough to indicate effective implementation. CONCLUSIONS: Effectiveness in implementing alcohol prevention strategies in primary healthcare services is associated with managers' engagement in the implementation process for these strategies.
Alcohol Drinking; Mass Screening; Health Human Resource Training; Health Services; Primary Health Care