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SBIRT: Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment

Misuse of alcohol and other drugs is a major preventable public health problem resulting in more than 100,000 deaths each year and is costing society more than $600 billion annually. The effects of unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use have far-reaching implications not only for the individual, but also for the family, workplace, community, and the health care system. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to delivering early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders and for persons at risk for developing these disorders. Primary care centers, hospital emergency rooms, trauma centers, and other community settings provide opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users before more severe consequences occur. Although early intervention and treatment does work, health care providers often fail to detect and educate patients with at-risk alcohol and other drug use or initiate referral to treatment when needed.*

The CT SBIRT Training Academy website will provide health care or human service practitioners with background information on the SBIRT evidence-base as well as the critical skills for performing screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment services. Traditional lecture presentations are enhanced by skills-based learning to improve the effectiveness in changing clinical practice. Our training activities are modeled on those of the World Health Organization’s Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Use Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) and related Brief Intervention practices although the learned skills will translate across other evidence-based protocols. The Academy additionally provides coaching and consultation services to agencies engaging in SBIRT implementation efforts. Academy faculty has worked in a variety of settings including primary and dental care, community health centers, hospitals, military support services, and within community settings serving older adults and individuals with disabilities.

*Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. State of SBIRT 2003-2012: Review and Discussion of SAMHSA Funded SBIRT Initiatives. February 28, 2012;