Alcohol use disorders- mobile based Brief Intervention treatment (AMBIT)- Technology innovation to bridge the treatment gap for hazardous drinking

Funding agency: Medical Research Council, UK

Duration: 24 months (Nov 2017-Oct 2019)

Principal Investigator: Abhijit Nadkarni

Co-Investigator: Richard Velleman



AUDs (Alcohol Use disorders) comprise hazardous, harmful and dependent drinking, all of which are major contributors to morbidity, mortality and disability across the world. Although there is extensive evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of psychosocial Brief Interventions (BIs) in reducing alcohol consumption in hazardous drinkers (HD), in India, the major barriers to making such evidence-based psychosocial treatments accessible are the shortage and inequitable distribution of health professionals and concerns regarding the contextual appropriateness of such treatments developed in ‘western’ settings.

Two evidence-based ways of making treatments accessible and acceptable in low resource settings are through 1) adaptation of the treatment to overcome contextual barriers, and 2) use of technology to deliver interventions, thus addressing the shortage of human resources. AMBIT aims to do these by developing a BI which is contextually relevant, designing it to be delivered using mobile phones, and then evaluating its impact.


1) Use a systematic methodology to develop and refine a BI package, informed by global evidence, and modified to be delivered using mobile phone technology.

2) Examine, in the context of a LMIC, the feasibility of delivery and acceptability to HDs.

3) Evaluate impact on alcohol use outcomes.

4) Fine-tune procedures for the definitive RCT intervention.

Study setting

Participants will be identified through screening in primary care settings and workplaces, and self-referral through advertisements in educational institutions.


We will follow a sequential process with a feedback loop that allows refinement of the intervention based on data collection. It draws on a process developed in the study setting and allows the development of a contextually relevant intervention package. project. Will include consultations with national/international experts on AUD treatments to develop the BI package and with m- Health experts to define the delivery platform structure.

Research Impact

The project will develop a contextually appropriate technology-delivered intervention for an important public health problem and inform the conduct of a definitive Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT). If the intervention is subsequently demonstrated to be cost effective, it will change the landscape of interventions for HD in resource-constrained settings.