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NIH spent $480,500 to text message drunks


Customers sit at the counter of the Oyster bar in the lower level of Grand Central Terminal in New York, January 29, 2013. (Reuters)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent nearly half a million dollars text messaging alcoholics to encourage them to stop drinking.

Dr. Frederick Muench, an assistant professor in Columbia University’s psychiatry department, is leading the $480,500 study aimed to reduce “problem drinking.”

“The proposed development study entitled, Tailored Mobile Text Messaging to Reduce Problem Drinking is designed to develop and test a tailored adaptive text messaging/short message service (SMS) intervention for individuals interested in stopping or reducing their alcool [sic] consumption,” the grant reads.

The project hypothesizes that cell phones offer “brief intervention opportunities,” allowing researchers to text a drunk while they are at the bar.

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