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Friday, July 27, 2012

Detecting Substance Use Problems Before Addiction Develops

Preventing the development of substance use disorders is fundamental to the Obama Administration’s approach to drug policy. If problematic substance use can be detected, interrupted, and treated before it reaches the “tipping point” to become a serious health problem, then the consequences of substance dependence can be avoided. By intervening early, we can reduce the harmful consequences of substance use.

This common-sense approach is the principle behind Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), an innovative program supported by grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).The goal of the program is to deliver early intervention and treatment services in traditional healthcare settings to people with, or at risk of developing, substance use disorders.

With today’s announcement of $22 million in new SAMHSA funding to expand the program, the promise of SBIRT to prevent substance use disorders moved closer to reality for many Americans. The awards went to three states – New Jersey, Arizona, and Iowa – each of which will receive up to $7.5 million for as many as 5 years to implement SBIRT. > > > > Read More