Indiana Prevention Resource Center efforts helped screen 78,000 Hoosiers for risks associated with alcohol and substance use

Five years ago, the Indiana Prevention Resource Center and the Indiana State Division of Mental Health and Addiction received an $8.3 million grant to integrate screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment — an evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce and prevent problematic alcohol and drug use — into primary health care centers across the state.

ruth gassman

Ruth Gassman

Because of that grant, the center, working with 22 Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Centers and Community Health Centers, was able to conduct 118,886 pre-screenings, representing 78,364 unique patients who were screened for alcohol and substance use at their primary care appointments.

“The project has been extraordinary for the number of lives that have been favorably impacted by incorporating screening, brief intervention, and when necessary, referral services for alcohol and other drug use into primary care clinics,” said Ruth Gassman, executive director of Indiana Prevention Resource Center. “These relatively simple and low cost practices have been seamlessly embedded within health care visits. These services have resulted in thousands of referrals to treatment, but even more frequently to helping patients nip small problems in the bud.”

Over the summer, the center also took part in a statewide campaign for behavioral health and medical professional and health care organizations called “Summer of SBIRT,” in an effort to raise awareness about the trainings. Resources related to SBIRT — an acronym for screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment — were distributed to professionals.

That resulted in over 1,000 screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment “kits” being provided to health care and mental health care facilities in all 92 Indiana counties, with 100 of those kits being distributed to the Indiana National Guard for use with service members.

“Alcohol misuse doesn’t have to exacerbate health problems,” said Mallori DeSalle, Indiana outreach coordinator for the program and community prevention specialist/research associate at the Indiana Prevention Resource Center. “SBIRT can be done within any health or mental health care visit.”

mallori desalle

Mallori DeSalle

Additionally, free state-wide training series, consisting of 19 screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment trainings, were provided. Three levels of training were offered: an overview for health care and mental health care professionals with no experience or knowledge of the training; provider trainings, aimed at training professionals to conduct the trainings; and training of trainers, which taught participants how to provide training curriculum to staff within their organization. The trainings reached more than 300 participants.

“Because we’ve been promoting and implementing SBIRT throughout the state over the past five years, we determined that offering a variety of trainings would best serve the varying levels of SBIRT experience and knowledge of the healthcare workforce,” DeSalle said.

Although the Indiana screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment initiative ended Aug. 31, resources are still available to health care organizations, professionals and patients who are curious about better understanding how alcohol or substance risks influence health and wellness.

For more information, visit the Indiana SBIRT website.

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