• National Alcohol Screening Day: April 7th

    Apr 05
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    Since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month in April. The month of April is also a time to recognize another important component in addressing alcohol dependence, alcohol screening. Sponsored by the Screening For Mental Health, National Alcohol Screening Day is held each year on the Thursday of the first full week in April. SBIRT training provides health professionals with the tools and skills needed to talk with patients about their alcohol and substance use in order to motivate change towards a more healthy life.

    Did you know?
    The SBIRT Colorado initiative administered by the Office of Behavioral Health and managed by Peer Assistance Services currently provides no-cost training and technical assistance on screening-brief intervention-referral to treatment (SBIRT). SBIRT is a recommended preventive service to address alcohol and drug use in adults and adolescents. Learn more and find helpful materials including clinical guidelines and posters here:  http://improvinghealthcolorado.org/resources/

    SBIRT can be provided in a variety of health care settings including clinics, hospitals, mental health centers and public health departments. Different types of health care staff can administer screening questions and provide the brief motivational conversation (i.e., the brief intervention). Although SBIRT is a low-cost service and relatively simple to implement, uptake is still low. This is truly a missed opportunity because SBIRT is about intervening early before serious consequences from alcohol and drug use occur.

    In almost 10 years of work to make SBIRT a routine health care service in Colorado we have learned that one short, in-person training session can facilitate implementation. Two hours for a training session is ideal. Shorter sessions are possible. The training is practical and interactive and covers:

    • key points on the health effects of alcohol and marijuana;
    • validated screening questions to assess alcohol and drug use in adults and   adolescents;
    • a simple step-wise approach to brief motivational conversations;
    • and key points on arranging additional services for patients who have a more serious alcohol or drug use problem.

    It also includes role-play and coaching on brief interventions and motivational interviewing. The online, interactive training simulations use avatars (virtual patients) to practice motivational interviewing with realistic scenarios involving substance use and mental health.  Recent funding from the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing supports increased training throughout Colorado through June 2016. Contact SBIRT Colorado at (303) 369-0039 ext. 226 to request training or technical assistance.

    Find training opportunities here.