SBIRT is proactive. SBIRT is preventive.

The three parts of SBIRT are
– Screening: determining the level of substance use
– Brief Intervention: building motivation through a conversation
– Referral to Treatment: linking the patient with appropriate services

Screening: the first step

The first step is universal prescreening for alcohol use as part of routine healthcare. For individuals with a positive prescreen, a more indepth screening identifies the level of intervention needed. Screen with validated screening tools such as the AUDIT, DAST, ASSIST for adults and CRAFFT for adolescents.

Brief Intervention: when a screening indicates risk

BI is the core of SBIRT. Using Motivational Interviewing techniques, brief intervention is a collaborative conversation that raises a person’s awareness of substance use and its consequences, and encourages behavioral change. A typical BI takes 5-15 minutes. Fifteen percent of those screened require brief intervention.

Referral to treatment

After a screening result of higher risk—about five percent of those screened—a referral to further assessment and specialty treatment is provided.