Do Screening and Brief Intervention Programs Work?

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.

screening and brief intervention

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.

Mike Loverde

As a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), member of NAATP, NAADAC, and accredited by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Mike Loverde knows first-hand what it’s like to live life with addiction. By overcoming it, he had a calling to work with others who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions—the people who use and the families who feel helpless watching them decay.

With thousands of interventions across the United States done and many more to come, Loverde continues to own the intervention space, since 2005, by working with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who need expert assistance for their patients who need intervention. To further his impact on behavioral health and maximize intervention effectiveness, Loverde is near completion of a Masters in Addiction Studies (MHS) accreditation, as well as a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), and is committed to attaining the designation of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

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