SBIRT Core Training Program - Whole Program: Screening, Brief Interventions, and Referral to Treatment


As an ACCME accredited provider of continuing medical education, Clinical Tools, Inc. complies with the Standards for Commercial Support issued by the ACCME and requires disclosure of and resolution of any conflicts of interest for those in control of content.
Clinical Tools, Inc MD (Company, CTI)Clinical Tools, Inc. (CTI) is a small, physician-run business dedicated to harnessing the potential of the Internet to create scalable, usable, and broadly available tools to improve the ability of physicians and other health care providers to care for patients. We achieve this goal by providing education and training to students and professionals and creating Web-based support tools for clinicians, researchers, and consumers. Information technology can and should serve as a stable framework that supports researchers and clinicians in their roles. We provide dissemination and management tools that empower clinicians and consumers to understand and control the vast amount of information related to making individual health choices. We serve our clients creatively, effectively, and with the highest quality of service.
Disclosure: Has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Karen Rossie, DDS PhD (Research Scientist, Clinical Tools, Inc. )Karen Rossie, DDS, PhD, directs projects at Clincal Tools. She majored in biology at Cleveland State University and studied dentistry at Case Western Reserve University followed by completing a Masters in pathology at Ohio State University. She taught and practiced oral pathology and oral medicine for 12 years at the University of Pittsburgh, doing research in autoimmune disease, transplantation, cancer, salivary gland disease, and diabetes. An interest in the psychological aspects of disease led her to obtain a PhD in psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto where she now taught psychology part time in a distance learning program. She has used this diverse background to lead or contribute to CTI projects related to tobacco cessation, opioid abuse treatment, anxiety, dementia care, alcohol use disorder, and pain and addiction.
Disclosure: Has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Steve Applegate, MEd MEdMr. Applegate has experience in substance use counseling, state initiatives impacting substance use, and professional training. His prior positions include director of higher education and instructional design at the North Carolina Governor's Institute on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, project director of the North Carolina Initiative of the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Technology Transfer Center, and program director of the Addiction Sciences Center (an outpatient substance abuse treatment center at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center). Mr. Applegate works as an on-site consultant and travels to the Clinical Tools (CTI) office on a monthly basis from his office in Richmond, VA. Mr. Applegate helped design the CTI Instructional Manual and works to continue to revise it as we expand our Instructional Design methodology. Mr. Applegate has extensive experience with online education and training, especially in the area of substance abuse. He often pushes the envelope of technology and brainstorms with Clinical Tools how we can utilize new technology within our products. He helped guide development of the curriculum plan and assessments in Phase I of the current project.
Disclosure: Has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.


Ted Diedrich, MSc (SBIRT Progarm Coordinator; PhD Student, Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Denver, CO University of Colorado at Denver)
Disclosure: Has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Timothy John McGrath, MD (Family Physician, Private Practice)Dr. McGrath is currently in private practice in Mebane, North Carolina. He earned his undergraduate degree at Drew University and his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia. He completed his residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he served as Chief Resident in the Department of Family Medicine. His interests include preventive medicine and disease modifying lifestyles, medical delivery systems, and medical economics. He is currently enrolled in the Kenan Flagler executive master of business administration program at UNC. Dr. McGrath is an active member of the NCAFP, AAFP, and AMA.
Disclosure: Has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Audience and Accreditation


Primary care providers and counselors

Type: AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™Estimated Time: 4 hour(s)Release Date: 4/14/11Expiration Date: 4/13/14
Type: NYS OASASEstimated Time: 4 hour(s)Release Date: 4/1/11Expiration Date: 5/1/14
Type: AAFPEstimated Time: 4 hour(s)Release Date: 8/1/11Expiration Date: 8/1/13
Type: DCBNEstimated Time: 4 hour(s)Release Date: 11/17/11Expiration Date: 11/17/13
Type: NBCCEstimated Time: 4 hour(s)Release Date: 9/1/11Expiration Date: 4/30/14
Type: DCBNEstimated Time: 4 hour(s)Release Date: 12/9/11Expiration Date: 11/17/13
Type: FBMEstimated Time: 4 hour(s)Release Date: 12/9/11Expiration Date: 12/9/14
Type: FAPAEstimated Time: 4 hour(s)Release Date: 12/9/11Expiration Date: 12/9/14

Designation Statement: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education by Clinical Tools, Inc.. Clinical Tools, Inc. is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Credit Statement for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™: Clinical Tools, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Credit Statement: Clinical Tools, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4 hour(s) of NYS OASAS credit. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Credit Statement for NBCC Credit: Clinical Tools, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4 clock hour(s) of NBCC credit. Counselors should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Credit Statement: Clinical Tools, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4 hour(s) of FBM credit. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Credit Statement: Clinical Tools, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 4 hour(s) of FAPA credit. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • A letter of completion for up to 4 hour(s) is available for non-physicians.

A score of 70% on the post-test is required to complete the program.


Goal: The learner will be able to appropriately screen for and identify substance abuse, plan and implement a tailored brief intervention, and will apply the SBI approach to substance abuse problems by individualizing these clinical skills to different patients. The learner will be able to improve care management and referral skills for patients with relatively more severe substance use problems and improve follow-up and brief treatment skills for patients with substance use problems. The learner will apply all SBIRT clinical skills learned in several simulated cases with a variety of substance use problems.
Professional Practice GapsRead MoreAs many as 20% of primary care patients have substance use problems and primary care physicians could have a significant impact on their problems through providing screening, brief interventions, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) (Mersy, 2003). Unfortunately, PCPs screen less than half of their patients for tobacco use and less than a third for alcohol use (Seale et al 2010, Roche & Freeman 2004). The rate of screening for illicit drug use is also inadequate; about a third of primary care physicians and psychiatrists surveyed in one study did not screen routinely for illicit drug use (Friedmann, et al., 2001). Brief intervention in primary care is effective and cost-efficient approach to reduce patients' alcohol use (AAFP 2010; Seale 2010; Madras 2009). There is growing evidence that brief intervention for illicit drug use may also lead to positive patient outcomes (Compton 2009, Volkow 2010). And evidence also supports the effectiveness of interventions by medical providers for tobacco (USPSTF, 2008). However, brief interventions happen even less often than screening; for example counseling for problem drinking without dependence was reported by only 13% of patients in the 1998 Healthcare for Communities survey (D'Amico, 2005). Appropriate follow-up is also happening less often than is optimal. For example, only a little less than 50% of problem drinkers in this study reported receiving follow-up. There is also a practice gap in referral to treatment. Less than one-third of PCPs make a referral after identifying a substance abuse problem (CASA, 2000). Primary care physicians need to understand the different types of specialty treatment so that they can make appropriate referrals for their substance abuse patients (SAMHSA, 2008).


American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention in Family Medicine. 2010. Available at: Compton P. Urine toxicology screening: a case study. Emerging Solutions in Pain. 2009. D'Amico EJ, Paddock SM, Burnam A, Kung FY. Identification of and guidance for problem drinking by general medical providers: results from a national survey. Med Care. 2005; 43(3):229-236. Friedmann PD, McCullough D, Saitz R. Screening and Intervention for Illicit Drug Abuse. A National Survey of Primary Care Physicians and Psychiatrists. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(2):248-251. Madras BK, Compton WM, Avula D, et al. Screening, brief interventions, referral to treatment (SBIRT) for illicit drug and alcohol use at multiple healthcare sites. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009; 99: 280-295. Available at: Accessed on: 2011-03-24. Mersy DJ. Recognition of alcohol and substance abuse. American Family Physician. 2003; 67: 1529-1532. Roche AM, Freeman T. Brief interventions: good in theory but weak in practice. Drug and Alcohol Review. 2004; 23: 11-18. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). Missed Opportunity: National Survey of Primary Care Physicians and Patients on Substance Abuse. 2000. Columbia University. Available at: Seale JP, Shellenberger S, Velzsquez MM, Boltri JM, Okosun I, Guyinn M, Vinson D, Cornelius M, Johnson JA. Impact of vital signs screening and clinician prompting on alcohol and tobacco screening and intervention rates: a pre-post intervention comparison. BMC Fam Pract. 2010; 11:18. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians: Concise Desk Reference. 2008. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series #24. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Grade Definitions After May 2007. May 2008.

This program is designed to change: Read More Competence, Performance, Patient Outcome.

Educational Objectives

After completing this program participants will be able to:
  • Select and utilize tobacco, alcohol, and drug use screening tools with patients.

  • Perform brief interventions for tobacco and substance use problems with patients.

  • Refer patients to the appropriate type of substance abuse treatment center and/or specialist

  • Follow-up with and reassess patients who receive treatment for substance abuse or tobacco use

  • Apply the SBIRT approach to substance use problems at a comprehensive and integrated level by individualizing screening, brief interventions, and referral for different patients.

Program Activity Syllabus

Review Dates

Content Review:
Mon, 02/28/2011
Editorial Review:
Mon, 02/28/2011

Participation Requirements

Read More Program Credit: Obtaining credit for participation in this program requires that you complete the pre-assessments, work through the modules (including all in-module interactive activities), complete the post-assessments with a 70% score on the post-test, and then request credit. At the end of the program, you will be instructed on how to print out a certificate for your records.
Time Requirement: Keep track of the amount of time it takes you to complete this program. You will be required to spend a set amount of time in order to claim credit. You should claim credit only for the time actually spent in the activity.
Technical Requirements: To participate in this program, you will need a computer, an Internet connection, and a Web browser. This program requires Chrome, Firefox, and IE7 or higher.


Initial development of this program was supported by a contract from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (#HHSN271200800038C).