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primary care referral

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment Reading List

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) represent an evidence-based strategy for the early intervention of substance use. This method focuses on identifying existing or potential issues related to substance use and encouraging individuals at risk to modify their behavior.


1) Here, you can find the SAMHSA report discussing the evidence supporting the effectiveness of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) as a comprehensive approach. The report also delves into the implementation and effectiveness of the individual components of SBIRT for different behavioral health conditions.


2) Screening and Brief Intervention in Primary Care:

Within a primary care setting, healthcare providers utilize validated screening tools like AUDIT for alcohol or DAST for drugs to identify risky substance use. A brief intervention may include personalized feedback, discussions on risks, and the establishment of goals for healthier substance use.

  • AUDIT: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) by WHO serves as a straightforward international screening method for excessive drinking. It aids in brief assessments in primary care, identifying excessive drinking as a potential cause of presenting illnesses. The AUDIT provides a framework for intervention to assist risky drinkers in reducing or ceasing alcohol consumption and avoiding harmful consequences.


  • DAST: The Drug Abuse Screen Test (DAST-10) is designed as a brief self-report instrument for population screening, clinical case finding, and treatment evaluation research. Applicable to adults and older youth, DAST-10 yields a quantitative index of consequences related to drug abuse.


3) Developed by WHO, the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) package which consists of a brief questionnaire, is a guide for health professionals on how to use the questionnaire in detecting and responding to substance use. Widely used in healthcare and clinical settings, ASSIST helps identify individuals at risk of substance-related harm.


4) In December of this year, ISSUP conducted a webinar on "Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment for Substance Use," a two-part series organized in collaboration with ISSUP Global, The South Africa International Technology Transfer Centre (ITTC), and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Recordings of the webinar can be found for Part I and Part II.


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