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SBIRT: Screening Brief Intervention & Referral to Treatment

Students raising hand in classroom

What is SBIRT?

Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services. It is used for persons with substance use disorders and those whose use is at higher levels of risk.

Primary care centers, schools, clinics and other community settings provide excellent opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users and for intervention for persons with substance use disorders.

SBIRT is an approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment to people with substance use disorders and those at risk of developing these disorders.

SBIRT Training Objectives

The purpose of this training is to achieve continued improvement in understanding the use of the SBIRT tool and its value in identifying individuals who are at a moderate or high risk for psychosocial or health care problems related to their substance use.

After this presentation the learner will be able to:

  • Describe and implement each of its components in screening patients for pattern of harmful behaviors.
  • Understand the critical steps of implementing evidence-based SBIRT practices.
  • Assess and evaluate the psychosocial and psychological aspect of each patient in order to ensure a successful “negotiated plan.”
  • Understand and critically evaluate examples of the 4 elements of a “brief intervention.”

CEU’s are Available!

2 CEU credits will be issued by the following Boards for the completion of SBIRT Training:

  • Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling
  • Florida Board of Dentistry
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing – Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Physician Assistants

The Goal of SBIRT

The primary goal of SBIRT is to identify and effectively intervene with those who are at moderate or high risk for psychosocial or health care problems related to their substance use.

Why Is SBIRT Important?

Unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use are major preventable public health problems resulting in more than 100,000 deaths each year. The costs to society are more than $600 billion annually. Effects of unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use have far-reaching implications for the individual, family, workplace, community, and the health care system.

Why Is SBIRT Important for Health Care Students, Instructors Physicians, Clinicians and Other Primary Care Practitioners?

Primary care and other settings such as schools are convenient points of contact for substance issues.

  • SBIRT supports an overall emphasis on health and wellness.
  • SBIRT decreases the incidence and severity of alcohol and drug use.
  • It helps to change how substance use is viewed.

Research Demonstrates Effectiveness

A growing body of evidence about SBIRT’s effectiveness—including cost effectiveness—has demonstrated its positive outcomes. The research shows that SBIRT is an effective way to reduce drinking and substance abuse problems.

Examples of SBIRT Training at Other Schools


This project is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant project number 1H79T1025956-01 and SBIRT Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment Program for $314,720.00. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by the SAMHSA, HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.