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What is SBIRT?

Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services. It is used to identify and intervene with:

  • Those who use alcohol and/or other substances as risky levels
  • Persons with substance use disorders

Primary care centers, hospitals, and other community settings provide excellent opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users and intervention for persons with substance use disorders.


  • Screening: Universal screening for quickly assessing the use and severity of alcohol; illicit drugs; and prescription drug use and misuse.
  • Brief Intervention: Brief motivational and awareness-raising intervention given to risky or problematic substance users.
  • Referral to Treatment: Referrals to specialty care for patients with alcohol and substance use disorders (may consist of brief treatment or specialty treatment).