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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2012 Sep-Oct;44(4):307-17.

Integrating screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) into clinical practice settings: a brief review.

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University of California, San Francisco, Addiction Medicine Research, Department of Psychiatry, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for individuals at risk of developing substance use disorders (SUDs) and those who have already developed these disorders. SBIRT can be flexibly applied; therefore, it can be delivered in many clinical care settings. SBIRT has been adapted for use in hospital emergency settings, primary care centers, office- and clinic-based practices, and other community settings, providing opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users before more severe consequences occur. In addition, SBIRT interventions can include the provision of brief treatment for those with less severe SUDs and referrals to specialized substance abuse treatment programs for those with more severe SUDs. Screening large numbers of individuals presents an opportunity to engage those who are in need of treatment. However, additional research is needed to determine how best to implement SBIRT.

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