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Basic Facts


The Swedish National Alcohol Helpline (Alkohollinjen)


Since 2007, The Swedish National Alcohol Helpline (Alkohollinjen) provides an easily available and low-threshold service to hazardous and harmful alcohol users in the community.

The callers usually have relatively severe alcohol problems at first contact. Most of them have previously been in contact with various health care services. Though almost half of them have sought some kind of help to change their alcohol habits, only one in five turned to health care providers. The social conditions of the callers are usually relatively orderly with an occupation, a family and access to social support. Practically all users report being very content with the reception at first contact with the Alcohol Helpline.

The Helpline provides a viable community service for harmful and hazardous alcohol users. A first study showed that the proportion of participants having possible alcohol dependence was reduced from 64 per cent at the first contact to 19 per cent at the 12-month follow-up. Further studies are warranted in order to strengthen our preliminary conclusion of possible effectiveness of the counselling provided at the Helpline. As a next step, a randomized controlled trial including an alternative counselling model with a self-help material was initiated in May 2015.


  • National/regional government


  • National
  • Regional


To provide an easily available, low threshold service to hazardous and harmful alcohol users in the community.


Stakeholder Involvement

  • Researchers
  • Government
  • Funders

Logic Model

Scientific: The counselling at the Alcohol Helpline is primarily based on Motivational Interviewing (MI), combined with elements of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Many studies carried out in health care settings have shown that brief interventions are both effective and cost-effective, especially for patients with hazardous or harmful alcohol use. Participants in these studies are typically non-treatment-seeking primary care patients identified by opportunistic screening.

There is evidence that Motivational Interviewing (MI) has been proved effective in reducing alcohol consumption.

Telephone-based interventions have shown to be effective in the treatment of mental health problems and for smoking cessation and are available at a low cost.

Elements Of Plan

  • Needs assessment
  • Financial plan
  • Human resource management plan


Time Frame

  • Continuous

Target Group

  • General Population

Communication Channel

  • Website
  • Newspaper/magazines
  • Brochures/leaflets/items
  • Meetings/conferences with experts/colleagues
  • Guidelines
  • Scientific publications

Core Activities

The Alcohol Helpline operates on two or three lines simultaneously, during 33 hours a week. All contacts with the callers are registered in a computerized client record subject to rules of confidentiality commonly used within the Swedish health care system.

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is used for the assessment of the client’s alcohol use and alcohol problems. Clients needing additional support are referred to other service providers.

Supportive activities

  • Training
  • Supervision
  • Team meetings



Internal & External


  • Impact
  • Outcome


At 12-month follow-up, respondents had significantly reduced their AUDIT score to half of the baseline values, and one third of the participants were abstinent or consumed alcohol at a low-risk level. Participating in more than one counselling session as compared to one session was associated with a tendency to shift to a to a lower AUDIT zone at follow-up among women.

Follow Up

In first study a 12-month follow-up, in ongoing RCT 6 and 12 months follow-ups.

Additional Information


Contact person: Kerstin Damström Thakker, Head of the Swedish National Alcohol Helpline

Organization: Centre for Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention Unit

Address: PO Box 1497, SE-171 29 Solna, Sweden

Country: Sweden

Telephone number: +47 72 3714 321

E-mail address:

Additional remarks

Last change: 16. 08. 2016 - 12:51, created: 12. 08. 2016
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