In 2013, almost 8% of Americans aged 12 or older needed treatment for a substance use disorder but didn’t get it. This episode will examine ways to reduce the number of untreated individuals through accurate and efficient screening and assessment in primary care settings. These procedures could also be a crucial point in identifying co-occurring disorders.
One such procedure is Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). This is an evidence-based practice that can be used to identify mental and/or substance use disorders and direct patients to both appropriate care levels and specialty facilities. For example, SBIRT can help primary care practitioners develop questions to find out if a prescription is truly necessary for a patient. Making SBIRT a standard practice in primary care settings could help reduce the burden on other social service and criminal justice settings by identifying a potential mental health illness in an at-risk patient.
In addition, screening for infectious diseases should be a protocol in the primary care setting. IV drug users have high rates of HIV, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and antibiotic-resistant infections.
The episode’s panel reviews SBIRT’s elements. They look at how it has and can continue to be incorporated into primary health care settings to screen for mental and/or substance use disorders and help reduce overprescribing of medications. In addition, a preview of the collaboration between SAMHSA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that focuses on guidelines gives health care professionals who prescribe opioids a framework for safer prescribing.