Preventing, recognizing and addressing risky substance use and substance use disorders is a community-wide effort. It is not “someone else’s job.”
Criminal justice professionals, clergy members, educators, and many other professionals often interface with individuals struggling with substance use and related problems. However, these professionals need skills and support to address substance use appropriately.
Eight-five percent of the criminal justice population are substance-involved (CASA, 2010). More individuals are referred to addiction treatment by the criminal justice system than from any other single referral source (SAMHSA, 2010).
In one survey of clergy members, 94.4 percent consider substance use and addiction to be important issues that they confront. But only 12.5 percent of priests, ministers and rabbis surveyed completed coursework related to substance abuse during their theological studies and only 36.5 percent preach a sermon addressing the issue more than once a year (CASA, 2001)
Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years (SAMHSA, 2003). Educators are well-positioned to prevent, recognize, and address substance use among youth and avoid the subsequent development of substance use disorders and related problems.
Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment
Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a vital piece of technology for addressing risky substance use in a variety of settings. But it’s not a gadget; it’s a conversation. SBIRT is an evidence-based strategy for:
- Identifying risky substance use;
- Reducing alcohol use; and
- Facilitating integration and teamwork among behavioral health, mainstream healthcare, and human service providers.