This is one to remember.  SBIRT is an acronym for a behavioral health intervention that stands for “Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment”.   The technical definition is “ … a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders…”  A more metaphorical (is that a word?) way to put it is that it catches patients at the top of the waterfall rather than at the bottom.  It’s an evidence-based intervention that’s proven effective at primary care centers, hospital emergency rooms, trauma centers, and other community settings. 

AZ was awarded a $7.5M federal grant to implement SBIRT in primary care offices and emergency rooms… helping primary care providers to identify patients at risk for or who have substance abuse problems that might otherwise go unnoticed a& untreated.  The grant will help reduce the number of substance use related deaths and the prevalence of substance abuse disorders in the five northern Arizona counties: Apache, Coconino, Mohave, Navajo, and Yavapai. 

We picked these counties because the rates of injuries and deaths due to alcohol and other drugs are the highest in that part of the state.  Medical providers at several community health centers and one emergency department will be trained to use the SBIRT screening tool to identify those at risk and conduct brief interventions.  Integration of behavioral health services into primary care centers and the hospital emergency rooms provides opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users before more severe consequences occur.  As always- we’re making it a priority to measure our results.