SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) represents an innovative, evidence-based approach to addressing substance use with medical patients. Its core components include:
- Regular and universal screening in the medical setting, regardless of medical complaint.
- Universal and routine use of validated screening tools.
- Consideration of substance use as a continuum rather than a dichotomous “addicted versus not addicted” judgment.
- Use of patient-centered change talk versus directive, prescriptive talk.
- Facilitating smooth, bidirectional transitions between primary care and specialty addiction treatment.
While SBI towards adult alcohol use ranks among the highest-performing preventive services based on cost effectiveness and health impact, it also remains among the least implemented. Common perceived barriers include limited time during the patient visit, lack of knowledge and training, fearing negative patient reactions, and feeling uncomfortable discussing substance use.
This website presents information and tools designed to counter these barriers, and emphasizes a team-based approach to implementing SBIRT. Clinics should recognize three distinct patient populations when choosing which screening tools to deliver: adults, adolescents, and patients who are pregnant.
This website was created in the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University and acts as a resource for primary care clinics and emergency departments throughout Oregon and the United States.