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UHCAN Ohio to Support the Use of SBIRT Among Ohio’s Adolescents

S-B-I-R-T.  The name of a new Muppet?  A new electronic gadget?  No, it is the acronym for “Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment.”  It’s an effective strategy for preventing drug and alcohol addiction. UHCAN Ohio is launching a new initiative to spread the use of the SBIRT tool to among youth ages 15-22.

Substance use disorders cause deaths, shatter families, drive up crime and reduce productivity. Most addiction begins with the use of alcohol and/or drugs in youth.

UHCAN Ohio’s new initiative, supported by funds from the Conrad Hilton Foundation, seeks to spread the use of the SBIRT model among youth of ages 15-22 in Ohio. Why UHCAN Ohio? We were specifically recruited to build a consumer-led advocacy coalition, with broad stakeholder support, that could lead successful campaigns to achieve policy goals.

Expanding an effective prevention strategy represents a logical next step in UHCAN Ohio’s expanding health care reform portfolio. After all, in addition to providing everyone with coverage, health care reform’s “triple aim” – better care for patients, better health, and lower costs – requires more investment in preventing conditions or identifying and treating them early. Addiction – including alcohol, tobacco and drugs – contribute significantly to health care spending and other social costs.

Over the next three years, UHCAN Ohio and its partners we will work to educate state and local decision makers about the value of expanding use of SBIRT with youth. With our newly forming leadership team, we will identify strategies to expand places where SBIRT can reach youth – such as high schools and colleges – expand personnel who can administer SBIRT, and make it financially sustainable.  We intend to engage the juvenile justice system, so that young people can be intercepted, screened, and, where appropriate, provided with treatment instead of punishment.

 If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in our work to expand SBIRT among adolescents, please contact Kathleen Gmeiner at [email protected] or (614) 456-0060 x 223.

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