BIG Initiative SBIRT Education

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The BIG Initiative hosted by NORC at the University of Chicago

A Learning Collaborative to expand Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment to addiction counselors and employee assistance professionals and beyond

Thank you for visiting the BIG Initiative led by NORC at the University of Chicago

Through this project, The BIG Hospital SBIRT:

  • Offers training, technical assistance, and a variety of services in the area of SBIRT;
  • Uses the technology transfer model to move research findings into practice;
  • Disseminates best practices and new research to stakeholders interested in SBIRT; and
  • Is part of a national network of experts in the area of substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery.

This project is a multi-year action campaign to prepare the nation's hospitals to screen, prevent and treat the unhealthy alcohol, drug and tobacco use of patients. 

Read the SAMHSA's SBIRT White Paper (2011)


What's SBIRT?

Of the 2.5 million patients admitted annually with substance use disorders, fewer than half are asked about their substance use, according to NIH. Less than 1 in 20 of the 1.5 million patients admitted for trauma caused by risky substance use have any medical notation that substance use was assessed. Hospitals miss many opportunities to treat patients for these very treatable illnesses. Clinicians receive little training about substance use assessment or treatment in medical school or later; they are not trained in brief intervention techniques; and are often unaware of community treatment resources. Medical and hospital billing departments are unfamiliar with the new SBI billing codes, limiting reimbursement for services. If the Joint Commission today were to mandate the nation's 5,012 hospitals to routinely screen and treat patients? substance use problems, few could comply. But, if done, SBI can cut reinjury and rehospitalization in half, and save billions of treatment dollars.

Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) is a well researched practice that has demonstrated consistent success in correctly identifying alcohol needs in patients and assisting them to reduce hazardous use. SBI is not widely or consistently used in the medical field. Not yet.

By working together to prepare addiction counselors and employee assistance professionals to provide routine screening and brief counseling for substance use, we can change practice in practitioners' adherence to evidenced-based SBI protocols.

Read the SAMHSA's SBIRT White Paper (2011)

We invite your participation in this exciting new movement in the field.  

Click here to get involved!