Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention(865) 457-3007

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)


 A safe way to carry out informative, collaborative, and time-effective conversations with patients about their substance use.  It is an evidence-based public health approach to deliver early intervention and treatment to patients who may not be clinically addicted but engage in unhealthy levels of substance use. SBIRT expands the continuum of care, focusing on prevention before substance use escalates to addiction.  SBIRT reduces alcohol and drug over-use, resulting in better health outcomes and quality of life for the patient, reduced use of emergency and in-patient services, and cost savings for the healthcare system.

Screening

asks several questions to determine whether individuals are misusing alcohol/other drugs. For example (alcohol), are they drinking too much, too often, or experiencing harm from their drinking. The provider evaluates the answers and then shares the results and their signifcance with the individual.

 

Brief Intervention

is a counseling sessions that last 5 to 15 minutes.. Their purpose is to increase the person’s awareness of his or her alcohol/drug use and its consequences and then motivate the person to either reduce use, or seek treatment if needed. The provider works with the person on willingness and readiness to change his or her behavior.

 

Referral to Treatment 

is based on a number of factors to determine if the patient is drug or alcohol dependent. A nondependent substance abuser is usually treated as an outpatient unless there are other risk factors. Most patients can be successfully served in outpatient treatment. When your patient is ready, you or your staff should actively participate with them in the referral process. The warmer the referral handoff, the better the outcome. Decide how you will interact/communicate with the provider. Confirm your followup plan with the patient, and decide on the ongoing followup support strategies you will use.

 

Watch this video to learn how Tennessee doctors are utilizing SBIRT in their practice.