About Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

SBIRT is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders, as well as those who are at risk of developing these disorders.  The SBIRT acronym stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment.  Primary care centers, hospital emergency rooms, trauma centers, and other community settings provide opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users before more severe consequences occur.  An estimated 20% of the general population is considered at risk because of harmful substance use patterns, and it is this group of individuals that is targeted by SBIRT.    

  • Screening quickly assesses the severity of substance use and identifies the appropriate level of intervention.
  • Brief Intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and motivation toward behavioral change.
  • Referral to Treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to specialty care.

More information about SBIRT.

SBIRT Training for Health Professionals

In October of 2015 the LSU School of Social Work (within the College of Human Sciences and Education) received a multi-year award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA,) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (#TI026017), to provide SBIRT training to social work students and other health professionals across the state.  The LA-SBIRT Project to Address Healthcare Workforce Issues (LA-SBIRT) seeks to increase the number of skilled professionals who can identify problematic an at-risk substance use and appropriately intervene to prevent substance use disorders from developing. Read the news release.

The SBIRT training curriculum developed by LA-SBIRT project staff consists of four distinct, multi-media modules that can be delivered as either stand-alone or all-day SBIRT Online Training program is also available to healthcare professionals, and can be accessed through SAMHSA’s Learning Management System (LMS) – Ideas Exchange.  Topics include: (1) SBIRT: An Overview, (2) Screening, (3) Brief Intervention, and (4) Referral to Treatment.  A stand-alone module, SBIRT Implementation, is also available. SAMHSA’s SAMHSA’s LMS-Ideas Exchange is a simple process, but must be facilitated by LA-SBIRT project staff.


Sheila Ray Charles

Pictured above, Ms. Betsy Wilks, LA-SBIRT Project Manager and Dr. Catherine Lemieux, LA-SBIRT Project Director, with Ms. Sheila Raye Charles, singer-songwriter and daughter of the legendary Ray Charles at the Louisiana Behavioral Health Workforce Forum at Southern University in Baton Rouge LA (9/21/16), sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).


For more information about SBIRT training for health professionals, please contact Betsy Wilks, LA-SBIRT Project Manager