Skip Navigation

Getting Started

Skip Side Navigation

SBIRT Overview

SBIRT is an evidence-based client-centered model which relies heavily on Motivational Interviewing skills as a way to address behavioral change. S stands for screening. SBIRT utilizes a universal screening process to screen all patients for substance use. This screening process allows for the normailzation of screening for substances as a regular part of an individual's health. Patients may screen in a healthy or low risk category and in these cases education and affirmations on current behavior are appropriate. BI stands for Brief Intervention. Brief interventions may be necessary when a patient screens in a risky or harmful categories of use. A brief intervention consists of a client-centered interview to offer education and help the patient find their own motivations for change. RT stands for referral to treatment. When a patient scores in the dependence category referral to more specialized treatment may be necessary. However, a referral to treatment does not requre the patient to attend treatment and if the patient is not ready motivational interviewing skills can be utilized to see what motivations the patient may have to make change.


When students at OU receive SBIRT training, they begin by watching video examples and engaging in a didactic session. The first step to SBIRT is Screening. Screening quickly assesses the severity of substance use and identifies the appropriate action. 

Screening Video Examples:

This SBIRT Colorado video includes a brief overview of the AUDIT, demonstrates alcohol screening in an HR/Counselor setting of an employee, and discusses AUDIT scoring. This video is an example more applicable to HRSocial Workers, Counselors, and Psychology.

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) SBIRT demonstrates screening in a Medical setting of a patient. This video is an example more applicable to Physicians, PAs, Nurses, and Dentists or Dental Hygienists.

Brief Intervention

Brief Intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and helping the patient find their own motivation toward behavioral change.

Brief Intervention Video Examples:

SBIRT Oregeon's video of a Brief Intervention with Steve depicts a primary care physician delivering a brief intervention to patient who has completed the AUDIT alcohol screening form.

This Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) SBIRT video Screening and Brief Intervention demonstrates a patient receiving a screening (AUDIT) and brief intervention related to alcohol in a medical setting.

Referral to Treatment

Referral to Treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to specialty care. Referral to Treatment Video Example:

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) SBIRT video Brief Intervention with Referral to Treatment depicts a brief intervention and referral to treatment related to alcohol and drugs in a medical setting.