This NICE quality standard defines clinical best practice within this topic area. It provides specific, concise quality statements, measures and audience descriptors to provide the public, health and social care professionals, commissioners and service providers with definitions of high-quality care.

This quality standard covers the care of children (aged 10-15 years), young people (aged 16-17 years) and adults (aged 18 years and over) drinking in a harmful way and those with alcohol dependence in all NHS-funded settings. It also includes opportunistic screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful drinkers. The quality standard addresses the prevention and management of Wernicke's encephalopathy but does not cover the separate management of other physical and mental health disorders associated with alcohol use.

This quality standard was previously called the alcohol dependence and harmful alcohol use quality standard.