Making the Case

SBIRT is a flexible and integrated approach that can used to screen for risky substance use and provide early intervention for substance use disorder. While SBIRT was originally developed for adults, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have endorsed this approach with adolescents. Primary care providers, who have expertise in preventive medicine and regularly interact with teens, are well-positioned to screen youth for risky behavior, including problematic substance use, intervene, and make referrals to specialty care when necessary.

This section includes resources to help health plans and providers understand how SBIRT can be integrated into the primary care setting.


Addressing Risky Substance Use Treatment in Adolescents: A Conversation with a Pediatrician – This blog post features a conversation with Dr. Hillary Whonder-Genus, medical director and practicing pediatrician, who speaks about her experiences implementing the SBIRT framework in her practice. (Center for Health Care Strategies, 2019)


Implementing Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment for Adolescents – Presentation provides information on opportunities to improve access to and the implementation of SBIRT services for adolescents. (Center for Health Care Strategies, 2017)


FrameWorks Communications Playbook – Step-by-step guide offers insights on using evidence-based framing strategies to communicate about adolescent substance use. (Frameworks Institute, 2018)


AAP Policy Statement on SBIRT – Document addresses practitioner challenges posed by pediatric substance use and presents an algorithm-based approach to augment the pediatrician’s confidence and abilities related to SBIRT in the primary care setting. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011)


Screen and Intervene, a NH Youth SBIRT Initiative – Video, produced by the NH Youth SBIRT Initiative, provides an introduction to SBIRT and insight into how the framework was critical to one primary care practice’s strategy to build relationships with adolescents, address risky substance use in their patient population, and provide better overall care to teens. (New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, 2016)