The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has been providing state agencies with grants for their substance abuse Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) programs.
These programs are designed to provide primary care providers such as family doctors and ER personnel with additional tools and resources to help people with substance abuse issues. But do they work?
The short answer is that yes, they can work and they can also help save money in related costs. Studies have shown there to be a significant savings as a result of SBIRT. According to SAMHSA:
- Screening quickly assesses the severity of substance use and identifies the appropriate level of treatment. However, sometimes the shortness or depth of screening can potentially miss more serious issues.
- Brief intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and motivation toward behavioral change. The idea is for people to know more so they can make better informed decisions.
- Referral to treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to specialty care. This becomes necessary with more serious cases of alcohol and other drug abuse and helping to decide on the intensity and duration of treatment needed, though a more thorough evaluation would be done with a specialist.
While evidence exists that screening and brief intervention has had greater impact on risky behaviors associated with alcohol abuse, data is limited on effectiveness for drug use as well as other behavioral disorders.
What happens when early interventions don’t work?
At Family First Intervention, we are advocates of many forms or methods used to prevent major substance abuse problems. We specialize in providing on-site expertise with our intervention specialists. Contact us today if you have a loved one in need of intervention help.