A heavy drinker is defined as a man who consumes 7 or more standard restaurant units of alcohol on any one occasion or more than 24 units per week, or as a woman who consumes 5 or more units on one occasion, or more than 16 units per week. One standard restaurant unit is assumed to consist of e.g. one bottle (33 cl) of medium strength beer, 12 cl of wine or 4 cl of spirits. One standard unit contains 12 g of absolute alcohol. It is often possible to influence the patient's harmful drinking by counselling after the problem has been recognized. Brief intervention is a suitable and cost-effective tool for health care personnel .