Bronx Community Solutions Staff Attends SBIRT Training.

On Wednesday August 11 and Thursday August 12, 2010 BCS Staff attended training on a Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

The SBIRT is an evidence based screening tool that represents a paradigm shift in screening and treatment for substance use and abuse. While traditional screening methods have been used for persons with more severe substance use or those who have met the criteria for a Substance Use Disorder according to the DSMIV, the SBIRT tool is designed to assess a person’s risk before there is a diagnosable condition. This tool targets those with nondependent substance use and provides effective strategies for intervention prior to the need for more extensive or specialized treatment. The SBIRT tool can be used by anyone in the social service or medical field and does not have to be administered by a specialized drug and alcohol counselor.

The Department Of Health and Mental Hygiene has an initiative to implement this screening system within community and medical settings, in order to screen and identify individuals with or at-risk for substance use related problems. Screening determines the severity of substance use and identifies the appropriate level of intervention. The system provides an avenue for brief intervention or brief treatment within the community setting.

The training included a review of the stages of change, motivational interviewing strategies, an overview of the effects of alcohol on the body, a review of the SBIRT tool, and the ability to practice administering the tool. Melissa Novock, BCS STARS Case Manager states: “I think that a tri-level approach including the stages of change model, motivational techniques and validation practices will be beneficial to our clients both in creating awareness and establishing change in behavior(s).”