Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez

Using SBIRT Effectively

Jose Luis Vazquez Martinez

SBIRT = Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment

This case example demonstrates an ideal SBIRT Brief Negotiated Interview (BNI) between an emergency department (ED) doctor and a patient. These skills are based in motivational interviewing techniques.


The patient is in the ED for car accident injuries related to his own drunk driving. The doctor has a respectful, nonjudgmental conversation with him to explore the possibility of changing his alcohol use and/or seeking treatment.


Speaking respectfully with the patient and asking questions, instead of telling the patient what to do, can increase the patient's motivation to change, and his/her autonomy to carry-out those changes.