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SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) represents an innovative, evidence-based approach to addressing unhealthy substance use with primary care patients. Its core components entail:
  • Regular and universal screening in the medical setting.
  • Systematic use of validated/standardized screening instruments.
  • Consideration of substance use as a continuum rather than a dichotomous "dependent versus not dependent" judgment.
  • Use of patient-centered change talk versus directive, prescriptive talk.
  • Facilitating smooth, bidirectional transitions between primary care and specialty addiction treatment.

Alcohol SBI ranks among the highest-performing preventive services based on cost effectiveness and health impact, yet it remains one of the least-implemented. Physicians cite barriers that include limited time during the patient visit, lack of knowledge and training, fearing negative patient reactions, and feeling uncomfortable discussing substance use.

This website presents information and tools designed to help counter these barriers, and emphasizes a team-based approach to implementing SBIRT processes that includes nurses, social workers, medical assistants, and other medical professionals providing care that has been traditionally provided by physicians.

This website was created as a result of a federally funded project at the OHSU Department of Family Medicine that implemented SBIRT processes into seven primary care clinics. OHSU Family Medicine maintains the website as a resource for clinics across Oregon.