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Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

In the new world of integrated health, how can you demonstrate your viability as a behavioral health provider?

Hilton Foundation RASAI Project:
Implementing Care for Alcohol & Other Drug Use in Medical Settings: An Extension of SBIRT:

The National Council, with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, convened a panel of experts to develop “Implementing Care for Alcohol & Other Drug Use in Medical Settings: An Extension of SBIRT,” a step-by-step guide to assessing and addressing alcohol and/or other substance use as part of standard primary care practice.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is pleased to announce a NEW offering to our Consulting Services: SBIRT Training and Coaching.



  • Pam Pietruszewski, MA, National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Laura Leone, National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Improve overall clinical care
  • Reach adults and adolescents at higher risk for substance abuse issues due to mental health conditions
  • Position your CBHO for partnership with primary care or prepare for a fuller integration project, which creates new business opportunities
  • Build overall co-occurring capability in a concrete way, and provide a gateway to developing co-occurring services and new business opportunities
  • Fortify your CBHO as a line of defense against addictions through an evidence-based prevention and early intervention protocol that any provider – even those with little experience with addictions – can successfully implement

Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce and prevent risky alcohol and drug use. The model was incited by an Institute of Medicine recommendation that called for community-based screening for health risk behaviors, including substance use, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends alcohol screening and behavioral counseling for all adults in primary care.

SBIRT services aim to prevent the unhealthy consequences of alcohol and drug use among those who may not reach the diagnostic level of a substance use disorder and helping those with the disease of addiction enter and stay with treatment.


Screening — The patient’s level of risk is identified based on substance use behaviors using standardized screening and Motivational Interviewing skills.

Brief Intervention — Provider and patient engage in a conversation using the Brief Negotiated Interview format to elicit behavior change and reduce counterproductive discussions.

Referral to Treatment — Patients who need substance abuse treatment are supported through an enhanced referral process that includes follow-up.


SBIRT has a high return on investment with a low burden of time and resources on providers. When services such as SBIRT are offered, primary care, behavioral health and specialty addiction services find a valuable and highly satisfying partnership – and an opportunity to move towards the model of service integration.

Interventions such as SBIRT have been found to:

  • Decrease the frequency and severity of drug and alcohol use
  • Reduce the risk of trauma
  • Increase the percentage of patients who enter specialized substance abuse treatment
  • Reduce hospital stays and emergency department visits
  • Yield net cost savings — savings for each brief intervention exceed treatment costs by 3 to 1


Download the SBIRT one-pager here

SBIRT 101 – 1.5 hour virtual training


Administrators, clinical managers, executives and clinicians will learn the basic components of SBIRT, including:

  • How and why SBIRT is an essential part of integration;
  • How to operationalize SBIRT through enhanced workflows and best practices;
  • How to build organizational buy-in, and
  • Financial and operational benefits of SBIRT.

SBIRT TRAINING – Full-day onsite training

$4500 per member/$5000 per non-member

Clinicians will deep dive into the implementation of SBIRT and address:

  • The use of evidence-based screening tools to determine alcohol and drug use risk levels;
  • The spirit of motivational interviewing and how stigma, perceptions and cultural contexts influence SBIRT;
  • How to define and demonstrate brief interventions using the Brief Negotiated Interview format to increase engagement, elicit behavior change and reduce counterproductive discussions; and
  • Referral best practices that increase the likelihood of a person engaging in specialty addiction care.


Three 1-hour monthly calls

$300 per hour

True change doesn’t happen overnight; it requires dedicated and consistent efforts over time. Our consultants can help you refine clinical workflows, advise on data and using measurement to improve and promote your SBIRT services, or support clinicians to hone their Brief Intervention skills.


For more information on pricing, building your own consulting service or to schedule a training, please contact Stephanie Swanson at