Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT)
- Published on February 15, 2008
There is growing support for SBIRT as a means of reaching the large number of people (estimated 20% of adults) who are at-risk of health consequences, social problems and loss of productivity due to substance misuse. Until or unless these individuals become dependent, they do not qualify for treatment, so few resources are available to assist them. SBIRT is designed to fill this gap in the continuum of care, through early identification and intervention. At the federal level, the National Institute of Health (NIH), Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are actively promoting this evidence-based practice, and several SBIRT projects have been developed by communities, states, tribes, colleges and universities.
The Indiana Office of the Governor recently submitted a SAMHSA application for a SBIRT Initiative that would provide screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment services in community settings throughout Indiana. The project would initially target low-income pregnant women and new mothers, as well as their partners, through collaboration with Healthy Families Indiana and treatment providers in eight target counties. A Policy Steering Committee would identify and work to eliminate financial and policy barriers that have impeded the implementation of SBIRT.
Whether or not the proposed SBIRT Initiative is funded by SAMHSA, efforts to promote it at the community and state level are needed to ensure that this beneficial, cost-effective practice is widely adopted in medical and community settings.
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