Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive public health approach for delivering early intervention and treatment services to people with, or at risk of developing substance use disorders.

Screening: Screening is a way to identify patients with risky substance use patterns. It does not establish definitive information about diagnosis and possible treatment needs. The goal of SBIRT is to make screening for risky substance use a routine part of medical care to help identify those who may not seek help on their own.

Brief Intervention: Brief intervention is a single session or multiple sessions of motivational discussion focused on increasing the patient’s insight and awareness regarding substance use and his or her motivation toward behavioral change. Brief intervention can be tailored for variance in population or setting and can be used as a stand-alone intervention for risky substance users as well as a vehicle for engaging those in need of more extensive levels of care.

Referral to Treatment: Referral to specialized treatment is provided to those identified as needing more extensive treatment than offered by the SBIRT program. The effectiveness of the referral process to specialty addictions treatment is a strong measure of SBIRT success and involves a proactive and collaborative effort between SBIRT providers and those providing treatment to ensure access to the appropriate level of care.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize neuroanatomy and neuropathology of pain and addiction on the human body.
  • Identify non-opioid pain treatment options.
  • Describe theories of addiction treatment.
  • Articulate respectful communication with patients and health professionals when discussing substance use.
  • Simulate communication skills in using SBIRT (screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment) to partner with patients who are using substances in a risky or unhealthy manner.
  • Demonstrate appropriate hand-off communication when referring a patient for further treatment related to risky or unhealthy substance use of substance use disorder.

Additional Information

Substance Education Institute
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 3.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Available Credit

  • 3.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit


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This course is offered through Substance Education Institute. 

To take this course you will be redirected to Substance Education Institute's website. You must login or create an account with Substance Education Institute in order to complete this activity. 

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