What is SBIRT?
SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment and is a comprehensive, public health approach to providing interventions and treatment to those with, or at risk of developing, a substance use disorder. It is an evidence-based practice supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA). SBIRT is also a recommended intervention in the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health and the report from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
SBIRT begins with a person completing a brief screening tool designed to identify a person’s level of risk of developing dependence to alcohol or other drugs. Based on the results of their screening, participants receive feedback specific to their risk level. Those who screen at risk for experiencing negative consequences from their use of alcohol or other drugs are then challenged to think about the impact of their choices. Through unbiased motivational interviewing techniques, participants have an opportunity to reflect on the potential impact of their misuse and consider if they are ready to change their behavior. Participants then receive strategies that can help support low risk use of alcohol and safe use of medications. Students who screen at a high risk for dependence receive a referral to treatment services. Learn more about the research behind SBIRT.