SAMHSA’s Curriculum Modules



What Is SBIRT and Why Use it?

Universal screening helps identify the appropriate level of services needed based on the patient’s risk level. The purpose of this first module is to define SBIRT and identify important reasons for its adoption in primary care and other settings.

Upon completion of this module, training participants will—

  • Learn what SBIRT is and understand its supporting evidence.
  • Describe SBIRT’s value for patients, payers, policymakers, physicians, and allied health and human service
  • professionals.
  • Better answer the question: Why might I choose to support SBIRT implementation?

Screening for Substance Use Disorders

The goal of this session is to provide medical residents, clinical staff, and allied health professionals with the information, tools, skills, and resources to successfully screen patients. Participants will learn how this is done within a practice setting and will be oriented to the use of brief and valid substance use screening tools.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the rationale for universal screening.
  • Identify potential health effects of substance misuse and abuse.
  • Identify substance use risk limits.
  • Identify how screening is conducted in a practice setting, including prescreening and screening.
  • Practice how to use two screening tools.
  • Understand how screening is used in brief intervention.

Essential Motivational Interviewing Skills

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is collaborative, person-centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change.

Learning Objectives

  • Define the principles of MI.
  • Identify the tasks and steps of MI.
  • Demonstrate the spirit of MI.
  • Describe the stages of change.
  • Identify MI techniques to help patients change.
    • Change talk
    • Decisional balance
    • Readiness ruler.
  • Identify and practice MI core skills.

Brief Intervention

The goal of a BI (which usually involves 1-5 sessions lasting about 5 minutes to one hour) is to educate patients and increase their motivation to reduce risky behavior. The Brief Negotiated Interview (BNI) is a semistructured interview process based on MI that is a proven evidence-based practice that assists patients in changing behavior using a range of approaches depending on the severity of the problem.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe an evidence-based practice model of brief intervention, the brief negotiated interview (BNI).
  • Apply specific MI skills to BNI.
  • Practice SBIRT brief intervention skills using the BNI.

Referral to Treatment

Referral to treatment refers to connecting more severe or dependent patients to specialty care or treatment programs. These programs may include out-patient, residential programs, 12-step and mutual help groups that incorporate psychosocial treatments, medications, or the integration of pharmacotherapy and psychosocial treatments. Referral requires the application of critical thinking and decision-making with regard to when, how, and where patients assessed as having a substance abuse disorder require more intensive treatment and referral.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the practical aspects of making a successful treatment referral
  • Identify what substance abuse treatment is
  • Practice use of the brief negotiated interview (BNI) for making a treatment referral