Unhealthy substance use and addiction place a major burden on our country’s health, but currently, only people with the most extreme alcohol and drug use problems are recognized as needing treatment.
Professionals in the fields of health, human services, education and criminal justice are positioned to recognize and offer guidance that could change substance use behaviors, but do not routinely broach the topic.
Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) has long been a key tools for addressing substance use as a public health issue. SBIRT is a research-based approach to prevention, early intervention, education, and treatment referral that can be performed in a variety of settings. However, few people discuss substance use with healthcare providers. In 2014, only 1 in 6 adults reported speaking with a health professional about alcohol in capacity.