SBIRT: Screening Brief Intervention & Referral to Treatment

Substance abuse is a major preventable and treatable public health problem affecting all racial, cultural, and socioeconomic groups with the total annual economic costs to the United States estimated at over $414 billion.1 The consequences of substance abuse affect not only individuals, but the workplace, society and the healthcare system. Although treatment does work, physicians often fail to detect patients with alcohol and other drug problems or initiate referral to treatment. This fact is apparent from the data collected from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).2 Of the 23.6 million people over the age of 12 in the U.S. who need substance abuse treatment, only 2.5 million, or 11% actually receive specialized treatment.

This website will provide the medical practitioner with didactic information, as well as the skills for performing screening, brief intervention and referral for patients who present with the entire spectrum of unhealthy alcohol use. Evidence supporting screening for brief intervention (SBI) as well as course content are provided. This includes a basic slide set of concepts, actual video clips demonstrating the brief negotiated interview (BNI), suggestions for educational formats, cases to use for role–playing and a variety of other helpful content. It is widely acknowledged that skills–based learning is more effective in changing practice then traditional lectures, and therefore we have provided all the essential components necessary for this to occur. We hope that you will incorporate these skills into your daily practice.

  1. Schneider Institute for Health Policy. Substance abuse: the nation’s number one health problem. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, annual report; 2001.
  2. Office of Applied Studies (OAS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005–2006.