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1.  Willingness to treat drug dependence and depression: comparisons of future health professionals 
Purpose
Stigma-related feelings, including degree of enthusiasm and willingness to work with alcohol, drug, and mental disorder (ADM) patients, as well as anticipated success in such work, will be required for the United States to be successful in its new initiatives for ADM screening, brief intervention, and effective referral to treatment and rehabilitation services (SBIRT). This study investigates students of medicine and social work with respect to their stigma-related feelings and degree of enthusiasm or willingness to treat patients affected by alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, or major depression. Inference is strengthened by an anonymous online survey approach, with use of randomized reinforcers to gain at least partial experimental control of nonparticipation biases that otherwise are present in student survey data.
Material and methods
All students on required course rosters were asked to participate in a two-part in-class and online assessment; 222 participated, with a gradient of participation induced via randomly drawn reinforcers for online survey participation. Between-group comparisons were made with a multivariate generalized linear model and generalized estimating equations approach that adjusts for covariates.
Results
Medical and social work students did not differ from each other with respect to their willingness to treat patients affected by major depression, alcohol dependence, or nicotine dependence, but together were less willing to treat nicotine and alcohol dependence-affected patients as compared to depression-affected patients. Personal history was not associated with the students' willingness to treat, but men were less willing to treat. Drawing strength from the randomized reinforcer experimental design nested within this survey approach, the study evidence suggests potential nonparticipation bias in standard surveys on this topic.
Conclusion
These results indicate that future health professionals may prefer to treat depression as opposed to drug dependence conditions. For SBIRT success, curriculum change with educational interventions may be needed to increase willingness to treat patients with neuropsychiatric conditions such as drug dependence. Future research requires attention to a possible problem of nonparticipation bias in surveys of this type.
doi:10.2147/SAR.S14747
PMCID: PMC3124145  PMID: 21731413
alcohol dependence; nicotine dependence; depression; health professionals; stigma
2.  Willingness to treat drug dependence and depression: comparisons of future health professionals 
Purpose
Stigma-related feelings, including degree of enthusiasm and willingness to work with alcohol, drug, and mental disorder (ADM) patients, as well as anticipated success in such work, will be required for the United States to be successful in its new initiatives for ADM screening, brief intervention, and effective referral to treatment and rehabilitation services (SBIRT). This study investigates students of medicine and social work with respect to their stigma-related feelings and degree of enthusiasm or willingness to treat patients affected by alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, or major depression. Inference is strengthened by an anonymous online survey approach, with use of randomized reinforcers to gain at least partial experimental control of nonparticipation biases that otherwise are present in student survey data.
Material and methods
All students on required course rosters were asked to participate in a two-part in-class and online assessment; 222 participated, with a gradient of participation induced via randomly drawn reinforcers for online survey participation. Between-group comparisons were made with a multivariate generalized linear model and generalized estimating equations approach that adjusts for covariates.
Results
Medical and social work students did not differ from each other with respect to their willingness to treat patients affected by major depression, alcohol dependence, or nicotine dependence, but together were less willing to treat nicotine and alcohol dependence-affected patients as compared to depression-affected patients. Personal history was not associated with the students’ willingness to treat, but men were less willing to treat. Drawing strength from the randomized reinforcer experimental design nested within this survey approach, the study evidence suggests potential nonparticipation bias in standard surveys on this topic.
Conclusion
These results indicate that future health professionals may prefer to treat depression as opposed to drug dependence conditions. For SBIRT success, curriculum change with educational interventions may be needed to increase willingness to treat patients with neuropsychiatric conditions such as drug dependence. Future research requires attention to a possible problem of nonparticipation bias in surveys of this type.
doi:10.2147/SAR.S14747
PMCID: PMC3124145  PMID: 21731413
alcohol dependence; nicotine dependence; depression; health professionals; stigma
3.  Telephone referral education, and evidence of retention and transfer after six-months 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:38.
Background
Effective communication between clinicians is essential for safe, efficient healthcare. We undertook a study to determine the longer-term effectiveness of an education session employing a structured method to teach referral-making skills to medical students.
Methods
All final year medical students received a forty-five minute education intervention consisting: discussion of effective telephone referrals; video viewing and critique; explanation, demonstration and practice using ISBAR; provision of a memory aid for use in their clinical work. Audio recordings were taken during a subsequent standardised simulation scenario and blindly assessed using a validated scoring system. Recordings were taken immediately before (control), several hours after (intervention), and at approximately six months after the education. Retention of the acronym and self-reports of transfer to the clinical environment were measured with a questionnaire at eight months.
Results
Referral clarity at six months was significantly improved from pre-intervention, and referral content showed a trend towards improvement. Both measures were lower than the immediate post-education test. The ISBAR acronym was remembered by 59.4% (n = 95/160) and used by the vast majority of the respondents who had made a clinical telephone referral (n = 135/143; 94.4%).
Conclusions
A brief education session improved telephone communication in a simulated environment above baseline for over six months, achieved functional retention of the acronym over a seven to eight month period and resulted in self reports of transfer of the learning into practice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-38
PMCID: PMC3532389  PMID: 22676409
4.  Web-based SBIRT Skills Training for Health Professional Students and Primary Care Providers 
Substance Abuse  2012;33(3):316-320.
We have developed and assessed two innovative, case-based, interactive training programs on substance abuse, one for health professional students on alcohol and one for primary care providers on SBIRT. Both programs build skills in substance abuse screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT). Real-world effectiveness trials involving medical students (n=10); nursing students (n=60) were completed; trials involving primary care providers (n=65) are in progress during 2011. Medical students and nursing students had similarly low baseline scores on assessments that benefited from training: knowledge, confidence and clinical performance measured via an online standardized patient case and encounter note all improved post-training. Preliminary results indicate that practicing providers improved on knowledge, attitude, and brief intervention skill performance after a similar training. Results suggest that SBIRT skills can be improved with this model for case-based interactive training programs, and thus, that this training has the potential to impact patient outcomes.
doi:10.1080/08897077.2011.640151
PMCID: PMC3398837  PMID: 22738013
SBIRT; screening; brief intervention; referral to treatment; simulated clinical experience; simulated electronic medical record
5.  Screening, brief interventions, referral to treatment (SBIRT) for illicit drug and alcohol use at multiple healthcare sites: Comparison at intake and six months 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2008;99(1-3):280-295.
Objectives
Alcohol screening and brief interventions in medical settings can significantly reduce alcohol use. Corresponding data for illicit drug use is sparse. A Federally funded Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) service program, the largest of its kind to date, was initiated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in a wide variety of medical settings. We compared illicit drug use at intake and six months after drug screening and interventions were administered.
Design
SBIRT services were implemented in a range of medical settings across six states. A diverse patient population (Alaska Natives, American Indians, African-Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics), was screened and offered score-based progressive levels of intervention (brief intervention, brief treatment, referral to specialty treatment). In this secondary analysis of the SBIRT service program, drug use data was compared at intake and at a six month follow-up, in a sample of a randomly selected population (10%) that screened positive at baseline.
Results
Of 459,599 patients screened, 22.7% screened positive for a spectrum of use (risky/problematic, abuse/addiction). The majority were recommended for a brief intervention (15.9%), with a smaller percentage recommended for brief treatment (3.2%) or referral to specialty treatment (3.7%). Among those reporting baseline illicit drug use, rates of drug use at 6 month follow-up (4 of 6 sites), were 67.7% lower (p < 0.001) and heavy alcohol use was 38.6% lower (p < 0.001), with comparable findings across sites, gender, race/ethnic, age subgroups. Among persons recommended for brief treatment or referral to specialty treatment, self-reported improvements in general health (p < 0.001), mental health (p < 0.001), employment (p < 0.001), housing status (p < 0.001), and criminal behavior (p < 0.001) were found.
Conclusions
SBIRT was feasible to implement and the self-reported patient status at six months indicated significant improvements over baseline, for illicit drug use and heavy alcohol use, with functional domains improved, across a range of health care settings and a range of patients.
doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.08.003
PMCID: PMC2760304  PMID: 18929451
services; treatment; prescription drug abuse; preventive medicine; marijuana; cocaine; heroin; methamphetamine; CPT® codes; primary health care; trauma centers
6.  Effectiveness of brief interventions as part of the screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) model for reducing the non-medical use of psychoactive substances: a systematic review protocol 
Systematic Reviews  2012;1:22.
Background
There is a significant public health burden associated with substance use in Canada. The early detection and/or treatment of risky substance use has the potential to dramatically improve outcomes for those who experience harms from the non-medical use of psychoactive substances, particularly adolescents whose brains are still undergoing development. The Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment model is a comprehensive, integrated approach for the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for individuals experiencing substance use-related harms, as well as those who are at risk of experiencing such harm.
Methods
This article describes the protocol for a systematic review of the effectiveness of brief interventions as part of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment model for reducing the non-medical use of psychoactive substances. Studies will be selected in which brief interventions target non-medical psychoactive substance use (excluding alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine) among those 12 years and older who are opportunistically screened and deemed at risk of harms related to psychoactive substance use. We will include one-on-one verbal interventions and exclude non-verbal brief interventions (for example, the provision of information such as a pamphlet or online interventions) and group interventions. Primary, secondary and adverse outcomes of interest are prespecified. Randomized controlled trials will be included; non-randomized controlled trials, controlled before-after studies and interrupted time series designs will be considered in the absence of randomized controlled trials. We will search several bibliographic databases (for example, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, CORK) and search sources for grey literature. We will meta-analyze studies where possible. We will conduct subgroup analyses, if possible, according to drug class and intervention setting.
Discussion
This review will provide evidence on the effectiveness of brief interventions as part of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment protocol aimed at the non-medical use of psychoactive substances and may provide guidance as to where future research might be most beneficial.
doi:10.1186/2046-4053-1-22
PMCID: PMC3433383  PMID: 22587894
Brief intervention; Drug use; Psychoactive substance; Referral to treatment; SBIRT; Screening; Substance use; Systematic review
7.  SBIRT for adolescent drug and alcohol use: Current status and future directions 
Adolescence is a period of rapid biological, psychological, and social development in the human life cycle. Drug and alcohol misuse during this critical period poses substantial problems for individual and public health, yet is highly prevalent in the United States and elsewhere. The screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) model may be well-suited for identifying and intervening with adolescents who are at-risk of developing substance use disorders and those adolescents whose substance use puts them at risk for injury or illness. This article reviews the literature on SBIRT for adolescent populations, focusing on findings from randomized controlled trials. The limited evidence suggests that brief interventions may be effective with adolescents, but a number of gaps in the literature were identified. Considerations for implementing SBIRT with adolescent populations are discussed. Randomized trials are needed that have adequate statistical power, employ longer-term follow-ups, and test the effectiveness of SBIRT for adolescents in various service delivery settings.
doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2012.11.005
PMCID: PMC3602212  PMID: 23352110
screening; brief intervention; treatment referral; SBIRT; adolescent
8.  Equipping Residents to Address Alcohol and Drug Abuse: The National SBIRT Residency Training Project 
Background
The Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) service for unhealthy alcohol use has been shown to be one of the most cost-effective medical preventive services and has been associated with long-term reductions in alcohol use and health care utilization. Recent studies also indicate that SBIRT reduces illicit drug use. In 2008 and 2009, the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration funded 17 grantees to develop and implement medical residency training programs that teach residents how to provide SBIRT services for individuals with alcohol and drug misuse conditions. This paper presents the curricular activities associated with this initiative.
Methods
We used an online survey delivery application (Qualtrics) to e-mail a survey instrument developed by the project directors of 4 SBIRT residency programs to each residency grantee's director. The survey included both quantitative and qualitative data.
Results
All 17 (100%) grantees responded. Respondents encompassed residency programs in emergency medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, psychiatry, surgery, and preventive medicine. Thirteen of 17 (76%) grantee programs used both online and in-person approaches to deliver the curriculum. All 17 grantees incorporated motivational interviewing and validated screening instruments in the curriculum. As of June 2011, 2867 residents had been trained, and project directors reported all residents were incorporating SBIRT into their practices. Consistently mentioned challenges in implementing an SBIRT curriculum included finding time in residents' schedules for the modules and the need for trained faculty to verify resident competence.
Conclusions
The SBIRT initiative has resulted in rapid development of educational programs and a cohort of residents who utilize SBIRT in practice. Skills verification, program dissemination, and sustainability after grant funding ends remain ongoing challenges.
doi:10.4300/JGME-D-11-00019.1
PMCID: PMC3312535  PMID: 23451308
9.  Randomised controlled trial of brief psychological intervention after deliberate self poisoning 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;323(7305):135.
Objectives
To determine the effects of a brief psychological intervention (brief psychodynamic interpersonal therapy) for patients after deliberate self poisoning compared with usual treatment. To compare the impact of the active intervention and usual treatment on patients' satisfaction with care.
Design
Randomised controlled trial.
Participants
119 adults who had deliberately poisoned themselves and presented to the emergency department of a teaching hospital.
Setting
Community based study.
Intervention
Four sessions of therapy delivered in the patient's home. Control patients received “treatment as usual,” which in most cases consisted of referral back to their general practitioner.
Outcome measures
Severity of suicidal ideation six months after treatment as assessed by the Beck scale for suicidal ideation. Secondary outcome measures at six month follow up included depressive symptoms as measured by the Beck depression inventory, patient satisfaction with treatment, and self reported subsequent attempts at self harm.
Results
Participants randomised to the intervention had a significantly greater reduction in suicidal ideation at six month follow up compared with those in the control group (reduction in the mean (SD) Beck scale 8.0 v 1.5). They were more satisfied with their treatment and were less likely to report repeated attempts to harm themselves at follow up (proportion repeating 9% v 28% in control group; difference 19%, 95% confidence interval 9% to 30 %, P=0.009).
Conclusion
Brief psychodynamic interpersonal therapy may be a valuable treatment after people have deliberately tried to poison themselves.
What is already known on this topicDeliberate self poisoning is one of the commonest reasons for admission to hospital in the United Kingdom and up to 15% of patients who poison themselves eventually kill themselvesThere are no interventions of proved efficacy for these patientsMost episodes of self poisoning are precipitated by some form of interpersonal problemWhat this study addsCompared with usual treatment four sessions of psychodynamic interpersonal therapy reduced suicidal ideation and self reported attempts at self harmThe intervention also improved patients' satisfaction with care
PMCID: PMC34723  PMID: 11463679
10.  Changes in clients' care ratings after HIV prevention training of hospital workers in Malawi 
Objective
To examine the changes in clients' health-care ratings before and after hospital workers received an HIV prevention intervention in Malawi, which increased the workers' personal and work-related HIV prevention knowledge, attitudes and preventive behaviors.
Design
Pre- and post-intervention client surveys.
Setting
A large urban referral hospital in Malawi.
Participants
Clients at purposefully selected inpatient and outpatient units on designated days (baseline, n = 310 clients; final, n = 683).
Intervention
Ten-session peer-group intervention for health workers focused on HIV transmission, personal and work-related prevention, treating clients and families respectfully and incorporating HIV-related teaching.
Main Outcome Measures
Brief face-to-face clients' interview obtaining ratings of confidentiality of HIV, whether HIV-related teaching occurred and ratings of service quality.
Results
Compared with baseline, at the final survey, clients reported higher confidence about confidentiality of clients' HIV status (83 vs. 75%, P < 0.01) and more clients reported that a health worker talked to them about HIV and AIDS (37 versus 28%, P< 0.01). More clients rated overall health services as ‘very good’ (five-item mean rating, 68 versus 59%, P< 0.01) and this was true for both inpatients and outpatients examined separately. However, there was no improvement in ratings of the courtesy of laboratory or pharmacy workers or of the adequacy of treatment instructions in the pharmacy.
Conclusions
HIV prevention training for health workers can have positive effects on clients' ratings of services, including HIV-related confidentiality and teaching, and should be scaled-up throughout Malawi and in other similar countries. Hospitals need to improve laboratory and pharmacy services.
doi:10.1093/intqhc/mzr080
PMCID: PMC3297367  PMID: 22215760
patient satisfaction; HIV; intervention studies; health personnel; Malawi
11.  Implementing a state-wide SBIRT service in rural health settings: New Mexico SBIRT 
Substance Abuse  2012;33(2):114-123.
This is a report on the New Mexico Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) project conducted over five years as part of a national initiative launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with the aim of increasing integration of substance use services and medical care. Throughout the state, 53,238 adults were screened for alcohol and/or drug use problems in ambulatory settings, with 12.2% screening positive. Baseline substance use behaviors among 6,360 participants eligible for brief intervention, brief treatment or referral for treatment are examined and the process of implementation and challenges for sustainability are discussed.
doi:10.1080/08897077.2011.640215
PMCID: PMC3325793  PMID: 22489583
SBIRT; Screening; Brief Intervention; Referral; Rural Primary Care
12.  Care for hospitalized patients with unhealthy alcohol use: a narrative review 
There is increasing emphasis on screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for unhealthy alcohol use in the general hospital, as highlighted by new Joint Commission recommendations on SBIRT. However, the evidence supporting this approach is not as robust relative to primary care settings. This review is targeted to hospital-based clinicians and administrators who are responsible for generally ensuring the provision of high quality care to patients presenting with a myriad of conditions, one of which is unhealthy alcohol use. The review summarizes the major issues involved in caring for patients with unhealthy alcohol use in the general hospital setting, including prevalence, detection, assessment of severity, reduction in drinking with brief intervention, common acute management scenarios for heavy drinkers, and discharge planning. The review concludes with consideration of Joint Commission recommendations on SBIRT for unhealthy alcohol use, integration of these recommendations into hospital work flows, and directions for future research.
doi:10.1186/1940-0640-8-11
PMCID: PMC3679958  PMID: 23738519
Alcohol drinking; Alcoholism; Hospitalization; Patient discharge
13.  Impact of a medical student alcohol intervention workshop using recovering alcoholics as simulated patients 
Background
Alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) reduces drinking among at-risk drinkers. Lack of training and negative attitudes represents a barrier to SBI performance. This study evaluates the impact of a medical student workshop using recovering alcoholics in simulated patient interviews to teach SBI skills.
Methods
Third-year students (n=94) were surveyed before and after a 3-hour alcohol SBI workshop regarding their perceived importance and confidence in performing eleven SBI behaviors. Students were also asked to list factors increasing and decreasing motivation to conduct SBI. Students completing off-campus rotations (n=71) served as controls, completing surveys during the same time period but without attending the workshop.
Results
Analysis of variance found a significant interaction effect between the students participating in the workshop and control students on both importance scores [F(2,174)=3.34] and confidence scores [F(2,174)=9.13], indicating higher scores for the workshop students at the follow-up time periods. Commonly listed motivators for performing SBI included clinical experience with alcohol misuse and the impact of alcohol on health and relationships. High relapse rates and patient reactions to questions about alcohol use decreased the motivation to perform SBI.
Conclusion
SBI workshops that include recovering alcoholics as simulated patients can produce long-term improvements in students’ perceived importance and confidence in performing SBI.
doi:10.2147/AMEP.S56176
PMCID: PMC4019617  PMID: 24855409
alcohol; screening; medical students; brief intervention
14.  Brief Motivational Intervention for College Drinking: The Synergistic Impact of Social Anxiety and Perceived Drinking Norms 
Despite the efficacy of Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS), students with higher social anxiety appear vulnerable to poorer outcomes. A possible explanation for these outcomes is that corrective normative feedback (an active component of BASICS) may be less effective for socially anxious students if their beliefs about others’ drinking are less malleable due to intense fear of negative evaluation for deviating from perceived drinking norms. This study evaluated whether socially anxious students demonstrated less change in perceived norms during BASICS. We also examined whether change in norm endorsement moderated the relation between social anxiety and BASICS outcomes. Undergraduates (N = 52) who underwent BASICS completed measures of drinking, social anxiety, and perceived norms at baseline and 4-weeks post-BASICS. Higher social anxiety was related to less change in norm endorsement after receiving BASICS. Change in perceived norms during treatment moderated the relation between social anxiety and follow-up drinking. Among students with smaller change in norm endorsement after BASICS, higher social anxiety was related to heavier follow-up drinking. Among students with greater changes to norm endorsement during BASICS, the effect of social anxiety was non-significant. Results suggest that corrective perceived norms interventions may be less effective among socially anxious students, contributing to continued heavy drinking. Development of social anxiety-specific BASICS components warrants attention.
doi:10.1037/a0027982
PMCID: PMC3427392  PMID: 22612254
alcohol; brief motivational intervention; social anxiety; social norms; college students
15.  The relationship between services delivered and substance use outcomes in New Mexico’s Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT) Initiative 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2011;118(2-3):152-157.
Background
Recent years have seen increased diffusion of the Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment Initiative (SBIRT) in healthcare environments. This study examined the relationship between substance use outcomes and service variables within the SBIRT model.
Methods
Over 55,000 adult patients were screened for substance misuse at rural health clinics throughout New Mexico during the SBIRT Initiative. This naturalistic pre-post services study used administrative baseline, 6 month follow-up, and services data for adult participants in the New Mexico SBIRT evaluation (n=1,208). Changes in self-reported frequency of illicit drug use, alcohol use, and alcohol intoxication were examined as a function of service level (brief intervention– BI versus brief treatment/referral– BT/RT) and number of service sessions.
Results
Participants reported decreased frequency of illicit drug use, alcohol use, and alcohol intoxication 6 months after receipt of SBIRT services (p<.001 for each). Compared to those who received BI, participants who received BT/RT had sharper reductions in frequency of drinking (IRR=.78; p<.05) and alcohol intoxication (IRR=.75; p<.05). Number of service sessions was associated with reduced frequency of alcohol use (IRR=.84; p<.01) and intoxication (IRR=.82; p<.05), but only among those who received BI.
Conclusions
Substance-using patients with disparate levels of use may benefit from SBIRT. In a real-world, multi-site rural SBIRT program, services of higher intensity and (within the BI modality) frequency were associated with greater magnitude of change in drinking behaviors. Reductions in illicit drug use, while substantial, did not differ significantly based on service variables. Future studies should identify the preferred service mix in the SBIRT model as it continues to expand.
doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.03.012
PMCID: PMC3158968  PMID: 21482039
Screening; Brief Intervention; Brief Treatment; SBIRT; Services; Rural Healthcare
16.  Integrating Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) into Clinical Practice Settings: A Brief Review 
Journal of psychoactive drugs  2012;44(4):307-317.
Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for individuals at risk of developing substance use disorders (SUDs) and those who have already developed these disorders. SBIRT can be flexibly applied; therefore, it can be delivered in many clinical care settings. SBIRT has been adapted for use in hospital emergency settings, primary care centers, office- and clinic-based practices, and other community settings, providing opportunities for early intervention with at-risk substance users before more severe consequences occur. In addition, SBIRT interventions can include the provision of brief treatment for those with less severe SUDs and referrals to specialized substance abuse treatment programs for those with more severe SUDs. Screening large numbers of individuals presents an opportunity to engage those who are in need of treatment. However, additional research is needed to determine how best to implement SBIRT.
PMCID: PMC3801194  PMID: 23210379
brief intervention; referral to treatment; SBIRT; screening; substance use disorders
17.  Study design to examine the potential role of assessment reactivity in the Screening, Motivational Assessment, Referral, and Treatment in Emergency Departments (SMART-ED) protocol 
Background
Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) approaches to reducing hazardous alcohol and illicit drug use have been assessed in a variety of health care settings, including primary care, trauma centers, and emergency departments. A major methodological concern in these trials, however, is “assessment reactivity,” the hypothesized impact of intensive research assessments to reduce alcohol and drug use and thus mask the purported efficacy of the interventions under scrutiny. Thus, it has been recommended that prospective research designs take assessment reactivity into account. The present article describes the design of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network protocol, Screening, Motivational Assessment, Referral, and Treatment in Emergency Departments (SMART-ED), which addresses the potential bias of assessment reactivity.
Methods/design
The protocol employs a 3-arm design. Following an initial brief screening, individuals identified as positive cases are consented, asked to provide demographic and locator information, and randomly assigned to one of the three conditions: minimal screening only, screening + assessment, or screening + assessment + brief intervention. In a two-stage process, the randomization procedure first reveals whether or not the participant will be in the minimal-screening-only condition. Participants in the other two groups receive a more extensive baseline assessment before it is revealed whether they have been randomized to also receive a brief intervention. Comparing the screening only and screening + assessment conditions will allow determination of the incremental effect of assessment reactivity.
Discussion
Assessment reactivity is a potential source of bias that may reduce and/or lead to an underestimation of the purported effectiveness of brief interventions. From a methodological perspective, it needs to be accounted for in research designs. The SMART-ED design offers an approach to minimize assessment reactivity as a potential source of bias. Elucidating the role of assessment reactivity may offer insights into the mechanisms underlying SBIRT as well as suggest clinical options incorporating assessment reactivity as a treatment adjunct.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier
NCT01207791.
doi:10.1186/1940-0640-7-16
PMCID: PMC3599426  PMID: 23186329
Assessment reactivity; Brief intervention; SBIRT; Clinical trials; Research design
18.  Screening for alcohol and drug use disorders among adults in primary care: a review 
Background
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 supports integration of substance abuse interventions and treatments into the mainstream health care system. Thus, effective screening and intervention for substance use disorders in health care settings is a priority.
Objective
This paper reviews the prevalence of alcohol and drug use disorders (abuse or dependence) in primary care settings and emergency departments, as well as current screening tools and brief interventions.
Methods
MEDLINE was searched using the following keywords: alcohol use, alcohol use disorder, drug use, drug use disorder, screening, primary care, and emergency departments. Using the related-articles link, additional articles were screened for inclusion. This review focuses on alcohol and drug use and related disorders among adults in primary care settings.
Conclusion
Screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment are feasible and effective in primary care settings, provided that funding for screening is available, along with brief interventions and treatment facilities to which patients can be referred and treated promptly.
doi:10.2147/SAR.S30057
PMCID: PMC3339489  PMID: 22553426
brief intervention; emergency departments
19.  Screening for alcohol and drug use disorders among adults in primary care: a review 
Background
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 supports integration of substance abuse interventions and treatments into the mainstream health care system. Thus, effective screening and intervention for substance use disorders in health care settings is a priority.
Objective
This paper reviews the prevalence of alcohol and drug use disorders (abuse or dependence) in primary care settings and emergency departments, as well as current screening tools and brief interventions.
Methods
MEDLINE was searched using the following keywords: alcohol use, alcohol use disorder, drug use, drug use disorder, screening, primary care, and emergency departments. Using the related-articles link, additional articles were screened for inclusion. This review focuses on alcohol and drug use and related disorders among adults in primary care settings.
Conclusion
Screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment are feasible and effective in primary care settings, provided that funding for screening is available, along with brief interventions and treatment facilities to which patients can be referred and treated promptly.
doi:10.2147/SAR.S30057
PMCID: PMC3339489  PMID: 22553426
brief intervention; emergency departments
20.  The Impact of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment in Emergency Department Patients’ Alcohol Use: A 3-, 6- and 12-month Follow-up 
Aims: This study aims to determine the impact of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) in reducing alcohol consumption in emergency department (ED) patients at 3, 6, and 12 months following exposure to the intervention. Methods: Patients drinking above the low-risk limits (at-risk to dependence), as defined by National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), were recruited from 14 sites nationwide from April to August 2004. A quasi-experimental comparison group design included sequential recruitment of intervention and control patients at each site. Control patients received a written handout. The Intervention group received the handout and participated in a brief negotiated interview with direct referral for treatment if indicated. Follow-up surveys were conducted at 3, 6, and 12 months by telephone using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Results: Of the 1132 eligible patients consented and enrolled (581 control, 551 intervention), 699 (63%), 575 (52%) and 433 (38%) completed follow-up surveys via IVR at 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. Regression analysis adjusting for the clustered sampling design and using multiple imputation procedures to account for subject attrition revealed that those receiving SBIRT reported roughly three drinks less per week than controls (B = −3.00, SE = 1.06, P < 0.05) and the level of maximum drinks per occasion was approximately three-fourths of a drink less than controls (B = -0.76, SE = 0.29, P < 0.05) at 3 months. At 6 and 12 months post-intervention, these effects had weakened considerably and were no longer statistically or substantively significant. Conclusion: SBIRT delivered by ED providers appears to have short-term effectiveness in reducing at-risk drinking, but multi-contact interventions or booster programs may be necessary to maintain long-term reductions in risky drinking.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agq058
PMCID: PMC3104610  PMID: 20876217
21.  A Randomized Clinical Trial of the Health Evaluation and Referral Assistant (HERA): Research Methods 
Contemporary clinical trials  2013;35(2):87-96.
The Health Evaluation and Referral Assistant (HERA) is a web-based program designed to facilitate screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse. After the patient completes a computerized substance abuse assessment, the HERA produces a summary report with evidence-based recommended clinical actions for the healthcare provider (the Healthcare Provider Report) and a report for the patient (the Patient Feedback Report) that provides education regarding the consequences of use, personally tailored motivational messages, and a tailored substance abuse treatment referral list. For those who provide authorization, the HERA faxes the individual’s contact information to a substance abuse treatment provider matched to the individual’s substance use severity and personal characteristics, like insurance and location of residence (dynamic referral). This paper summarizes the methods used for a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the HERA’s efficacy in leading to increased treatment initiation and reduced substance use. The study was performed in four emergency departments. Individual patients were randomized into one of two conditions: the HERA or assessment only. A total of 4,269 patients were screened and 1,006 participants enrolled. The sample was comprised of 427 tobacco users, 212 risky alcohol users, and 367 illicit drug users. Fourty-two percent used more than one substance class. The enrolled sample was similar to the eligible patient population. The study should enhance understanding of whether computer-facilitated SBIRT can impact process of care variables, such as promoting substance abuse treatment initiation, as well as its effect on subsequent substance abuse and related outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.cct.2013.04.010
PMCID: PMC3979303  PMID: 23665335
substance abuse treatment; brief intervention; referral; treatment matching; substance abuse screening; e-health
22.  Screening and Brief Intervention for Underage Drinkers 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2010;85(4):380-391.
In a 2007 report, the US Surgeon General called for health care professionals to renew efforts to reduce underage drinking. Focusing on the adolescent patient, this review provides health care professionals with recommendations for alcohol-related screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. MEDLINE and published reviews were used to identify relevant literature. Several brief screening methods have been shown to effectively identify underage drinkers likely to have alcohol use disorders. After diagnostic assessment when germane, the initial intervention typically focuses on education, motivation for change, and consideration of treatment options. Internet-accessible resources providing effective brief interventions are available, along with supplemental suggestions for parents. Recent changes in federal and commercial insurance reimbursement policies provide some fiscal support for these services, although rate increases and expanded applicability may be required to prompt the participation of many practitioners. Nevertheless, advances in clinical methods and progress on reimbursement policies have made screening and brief intervention for underage drinking more feasible in general health care practice.
doi:10.4065/mcp.2008.0638
PMCID: PMC2848426  PMID: 20360296
23.  Feasibility of a computer-assisted alcohol SBIRT program in an urban emergency department: patient and research staff perspectives 
Objectives
The study objective was to assess the feasibility of a computerized alcohol-screening interview (CASI) program to identify at-risk alcohol users among adult emergency department (ED) patients. The study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a computerized screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) program within a busy urban ED setting, to report on accurate deployment of alcohol screening results, and to assess comprehension and satisfaction with CASI from both patient and research staff perspectives.
Methods
Research assistants (RAs) screened a convenience sample of medically stable ED patients. The RAs brought CASI to patients’ bedsides, and patients entered their own alcohol consumption data. The CASI intervention consisted of an alcohol use screening identification test, a personalized normative feedback profile, NIAAA low-risk drinking educational materials, and treatment referrals (when indicated).
Results
Five hundred seventeen patients were enrolled. The median age of participants was 37 years (range, 21-85 years); 37% were men, 62% were Hispanic, 7% were Caucasian, 30% were African American, and 2% were multiracial. Eighty percent reported regular use of computers at home. Eighty percent of patients approached consented to participate, and 99% of those who started CASI were able to complete it. Two percent of interviews were interrupted for medical tests and procedures, however, no patients required breaks from using CASI for not feeling well. The CASI program accurately provided alcohol risk education to patients 100% of the time. Thirty-two percent of patients in the sample screened positive for at-risk drinking. Sixty percent of patients reported that CASI increased their knowledge of safe drinking limits, 39% reported some likeliness to change their alcohol use, and 28% reported some intention to consult a health care professional about their alcohol use as a result of their screening results. Ninety-three percent reported CASI was easy to use, 93% felt comfortable receiving alcohol education via computer, and 89% liked using CASI. Ninety percent of patients correctly identified their alcohol risk level after participating in CASI. With regard to research staff experience, RAs needed to provide standby assistance to patients during <1% of CASI administrations and needed to troubleshoot computer issues in 4% of interviews. The RAs distributed the correct alcohol risk normative profiles to patients 97% of the time and provided patients with treatment referrals when indicated 81% of the time. The RAs rated patients as “not bothered at all” by using CASI 94% of the time.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates that an ED-based computerized alcohol screening program is both acceptable to patients and effective in educating patients about their alcohol risk level. Additionally, this study demonstrates that few logistical problems related to using computers for these interventions were experienced by research staff: in most cases, staff accurately deployed alcohol risk education to patients, and in all cases, the computer provided accurate education to patients. Computer-assisted SBIRT may represent a significant time-saving measure, allowing EDs to reach larger numbers of patients for alcohol intervention without causing undue clinical burden or interruptions to clinical care. Future studies with follow-up are needed to replicate these results and assess drinking reductions post-intervention.
doi:10.1186/1940-0640-8-2
PMCID: PMC3554507  PMID: 23324597
Computerized alcohol screening; Brief intervention; Emergency department; SBIRT
24.  An Evidence-Based Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Curriculum for Emergency Department (ED) Providers Improves Skills and Utilization 
SUMMARY
Objective
Emergency Departments (EDs) offer an opportunity to improve the care of patients with at-risk and dependent drinking by teaching staff to screen, perform brief intervention and refer to treatment (SBIRT). We describe here the implementation at 14 Academic EDs of a structured SBIRT curriculum to determine if this learning experience improves provider beliefs and practices.
Methods
ED faculty, residents, nurses, physician extenders, social workers, and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) were surveyed prior to participating in either a two hour interactive workshops with case simulations, or a web-based program (www.ed.bmc.org/sbirt). A pre-post repeated measures design assessed changes in provider beliefs and practices at three and 12 months post-exposure.
Results
Among 402 ED providers, 74% reported < 10 hours of prior professional alcohol-related education and 78% had < 2 hours exposure in the previous year. At 3-month follow-up, scores for self-reported confidence in ability, responsibility to intervene, and actual utilization of SBIRT skills all improved significantly over baseline. Gains decreased somewhat at 12 months, but remained above baseline. Length of time in practice was positively associated with SBIRT utilization, controlling for gender, race and type of profession. Persistent barriers included time limitations and lack of referral resources.
Conclusions
ED providers respond favorably to SBIRT. Changes in utilization were substantial at three months post-exposure to a standardized curriculum, but less apparent after 12 months. Booster sessions, trained assistants and infrastructure supports may be needed to sustain changes over the longer term.
doi:10.1300/J465v28n04_01
PMCID: PMC3976968  PMID: 18077305
Brief intervention; alcohol screening; substance abuse; alcohol education
25.  Investigation of a Brief Teaching Encounter Using Standardized Patients 
OBJECTIVE
To investigate a brief teaching intervention using standardized patients (SPs) trained to improve residents' detection and advising of problem drinkers.
DESIGN
Pretest-posttest design assessing resident behavior and skills.
SUBJECTS
Nineteen internal medicine residents in a University Hospital General Internal Medicine Clinic.
INTERVENTION
Announced SPs were interviewed by residents and presented to faculty who provided brief instruction on the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism guidelines for screening and brief counseling of problem drinkers.
MEASURE
Unannounced SPs assessed resident behavior and skills.
RESULTS
Following the teaching intervention, 2 times more residents screened for alcohol use and nearly 3 times more residents did brief counseling. Residents reported that the intervention was informative and valuable.
CONCLUSION
A single, 1-hour teaching intervention lead to a 2- to 3-fold increase in resident detection and advising of problem drinkers. SPs provide effective teaching encounters and a useful measure of resident behavior.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2002.10629.x
PMCID: PMC1495038  PMID: 12047732
problem drinking; standardized patients; medical education

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