S.B.I.R.T. (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment)
Substance abuse is a major problem in our country today. It has reaching effects on people’s physical and mental health, financial stability, and relationships. Substance abuse does not target a certain group of people anymore – anyone can be subjected to it. There are addicts who are elderly and on Medicaid, those who are wealthy businessmen, those who are housewives in the suburbs, those who are inner city residents, and those who fall somewhere in between.
Anyone who feels they are strong enough to avoid substance abuse, or thinks that their children and loved ones can’t be affected by substance abuse, is putting up blinders to the reality of drug and alcohol abuse in our country. Probably the best way to keep from getting involved with substance abuse is to realize that it is an actual possibility, and to develop the right strategies to overcome the temptations to do drugs or alcohol.
Not only does substance abuse affect the addict’s own physical and mental health, but substance abuse also ruins families and professions, and it costs billions and billions of dollars in expenses for health care, legal system, and other expenses. In addition to this, treating substance abuse takes a lot of dedication, endurance, and resources, and relapse is common. The most effective way to treat an addiction is to get help to the patient quickly. Early intervention is the key, but unfortunately, people either do not seek help for themselves or a loved one right away, or the patient is not given the kind of help they really need. Sometimes, the person does not know that they need help, or simply doesn’t know where to turn.
Helping Professionals Help Others
The federal government has developed a program, called S.B.I.R.T., that helps our current healthcare workers to identify and make referrals for patients with substance abuse disorders. These health care professionals; doctors, nurses, and medical staff, regularly see patients in doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, and trauma centers who are either abusing drugs or alcohol, or they are at risk to abuse these substances. Through this program, healthcare workers are given the resources to screen for substance abuse, intervene briefly, and then refer the patient to more complete care. A S.B.I.R.T. sequence of events looks like this: A doctor quickly assesses the severity of substance abuse of a patient through Screening. Then, a Brief Intervention helps the patient gain insight on their substance abuse and motivates them to want to recover. Finally, a Referral to Treatment provides the direct access to the type of care the patient needs to recover.
Sometimes, even with this kind of government funding and help, healthcare professionals could benefit from even more resources to connect patients to the right kind of treatment. Not all treatment is the same, and it is important for patients to be matched up with a facility that can provide the most beneficial program to them. Healthcare professionals can use the services provided by Treatment Solutions to effectively connect their patients with the right treatment.