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Jackson E-Newsletter Articles


Assessing Substance Abuse in Healthcare

Approximately 3 in 10 Americans engage in risky alcohol and drug use. Unfortunately, the U.S. healthcare system has struggled to take advantage of opportunities to identify these individuals and effectively intervene. According to the National Institute of Health, of all annual hospital admissions, 2.5 million patients meet the criteria for having a substance abuse disorder, yet fewer than half are asked about their substance use.
Additionally, less than 1 in 20 of the 1.5 million substance abuse trauma-related cases have no notation in their medical record that substance use was assessed. The National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows 23 million Americans over the age of 12 need substance abuse treatment yet approximately 10 percent receive services needed to address these treatable health issues.
To address this issue, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA has awarded Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) grants to states, including Iowa. SBIRT is an evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs.
It consists of three components: Screening; brief intervention; and treatment referral. Patients are initially screened by answering two-questions; if the results are positive, the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) and Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST) questionnaires are then used. These results provide the healthcare provider a means to quickly identify the severity of the patient’s substance use; subsequently resulting in referral to the appropriate resource if needed. If treatment is not indicated, brief intervention is then used. Brief intervention develops the patient’s insight and awareness about substance use and motivates them toward positive behavioral change.
Jackson Recovery Centers takes part in this grant. If you would like more information, click on this link -