(WJLA) - At least 38 million Americans drink too much for their own good, and the nation's top public health officials think it's time for doctors to step in.
The Centers for Disease Control says that doctors, nurses and health professionals should be screening all patients on their drinking habits and offer at least some counsel to those they believe are doing it too much.
Officials say that just 1 in 6 adults have talked to their doctor about their drinking habits, and they believe that even minimal counseling on the topic can reduce their drinking by 25 percent.
CDC officials are calling for a standard set of questions for all doctors to use when screening their patients for how much and how often they're drinking. What more, the CDC wants to provide a greater set of tools that doctors and nurses can use to bring services to their patients.
Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC, told USA Today that most people drink responsibly with no adverse side effects, but that special attention needs to be paid to make sure that stays the same for everyone.
"Many people who do drink drink too much at a time or too much overall," Frieden said. "The health system is not doing a good job of finding out about these problems."