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SBIRT project patient meeting

What is SBIRT?

The basics of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) are the same regardless of setting. All patients in hospitals, emergency rooms, primary health clinics, community health centers, schools, or other health care venues undergo a quick screening to assess alcohol and drug use. If they have or are at risk of developing a serious problem, they receive a brief intervention that focuses on raising their awareness of substance abuse with motivation to change their behavior. Patients who need more extensive treatment receive referrals to specialty care. SBIRT is a simple, evidence-based approach to incorporate screening for and intervention in one of our largest public health problems – substance abuse.


Why is SBIRT important?

  • Unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use are major preventable public health problems resulting in more than 100,000 deaths each year.

  • The costs to society are more than $600 billion annually. 

  • Effects of unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use have far-reaching implications for the individual, family, workplace, community, and the health care system.


Research Demonstrates Effectiveness

  • A growing body of evidence about SBIRT’s effectiveness—including cost-effectiveness—has demonstrated its positive outcomes. 

  • The research shows that SBIRT is an effective way to reduce drinking and substance abuse problems.



Our Goal

Substance abuse ruins lives, destroys families, and increases health care costs. South Carolina is a state with significant chronic illness, including substance use, paired with a large medically disenfranchised population. Our goal is to improve and enhance the training of undergraduate and graduate nursing students and medical students to provide competent Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to treatment (SBIRT) for persons who have or are at-risk for substance use disorder (SUD). This proactive approach will lead to improved health, decreased health costs and better outcomes.



SBIRT Online Training Provided by MUSC

Currently our online training modules are available only for the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) faculty, staff and students. However, we hope to make them publicly available as soon as possible! If you would like to get registered for online coursework or would like to request a live training for your agency, please Contact Us.