SBIRT in Schools Frequently Asked Questions
What does SBIRT mean?
SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment. It uses an evidence-based screening tool, the CRAFFT + N tool.
Why conduct SBIRT in our students?
The purpose of SBIRT is to promote prevention and identify early risk for substance use in our adolescents and to take appropriate actions as soon as possible if a problem is identified. Neuroscience tells us that the developing adolescent brain is at particular risk for addiction, so intervening early, before a substance use disorder develops, is key to the life-long health of our students. The SBIRT screening process reinforces healthy choices being made by students, identifies those who need intervention and education before they get into trouble, and provides for referral for those who need additional support or treatment.
What does a “verbal screening of public school students" mean?
The SBIRT protocol developed by the MA Department of Public Health (DPH) for use by school health personnel is a structured, evidence-based conversation that promotes prevention and identifies early risk for substance use among adolescents. It is a UNIVERSAL screening of ALL students in a selected grade level. It is not a targeted screen for selected students, nor is it intended to get anyone “in trouble”. It is neither “drug testing” nor is it a treatment program for students who may be addicted to substances. Here are the Introductory Script and Interview Questions/Resources used by the trained screeners.
Who will perform the screenings?
This health screening, as other health screenings in a school setting, should be completed under the direction of a properly trained school staff member. Properly trained school health personnel, such as school counselors, school nurses, social workers, psychological staff, and health educators, can perform the SBIRT screening or provide follow-up as necessary to the initial screen.
What kinds of records are kept?
Anonymous, aggregate data is collected at the time of the screening. This includes only numeric data consisting of age, the number of individual Yes/No responses to pre-screen and CRAFFT II questions when appropriate. These de-identified screening results will be reported to DPH. No individual identifying information is to be collected, documented in any form (written, electronic or otherwise) or reported to any state agency.
Any information on brief intervention or referral for further assessment or treatment will be kept only in the screener’s personal notes and not noted in the school records. Permission for disclosure of any information in these notes can only be granted by the student through a DPH-approved consent form, or in an emergency situation.