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SBIRT Training focuses on screening for alcohol

One aspect of healthcare much touted today is early intervention and treatment — and this includes treatment for substance use disorders and abuse. A recent one day workshop to train local personnel focused on alcohol use.

Held Wednesday morning at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium, the training was hosted by the Department of Human and Social Services in collaboration with the American Samoa Medical Center Authority and the Department of Health.

Called, ‘Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment' (SBIRT), the training was for Non-Grantees and Health Care Professionals and was provided by an intervention training team composed of off-island specialists.

According to information released by SBIRT, it is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders and for those whose use is at a higher risk level.

Present at the training were members of the Department of Education, Public Health, LBJ Hospital, Health Clinics, members of the public and the Department of Human and Social Services.

The training team comprised of Paul Seale MD, Professor of Family Medicine, Medical Center of Central Georgia and Mercer University School of Medicine; Kevin Hylton PhD, Vice President of Technical Services at Alliances for Quality Education in Largo, Md; and Jennifer Kasten PhD, Technical expert lead for SBIRT.

“This one day training gives an overview of the components of the background and evidence base for doing screening and brief intervention, specifically screening for alcohol use, or risky alcohol use,” said Kasten.


The training went into the components on how a screening is actually done, the different screening tools, how you would implement those tools, score them and talk to a client or patient about their substance use, i.e. alcohol use.

The training ended with different settings where screening and brief interventions could be used to actually make an impact on the general health and wellness of people living in American Samoa.

The primary goal of SBIRT, according to the presenters, is to identify and effectively intervene with those who are at moderate or high risk for psycho-social or health care problems related to their substance use.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) information packet given out by SBIRT:

*            unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use are major preventable public health problems resulting in more than 100,000 deaths each year.

*            the costs to society are more than $600 billion annually.

*            effects of unhealthy and unsafe alcohol and drug use have far-reaching implications for the individual, family, workplace, community and the health care system.

Harm related to hazardous alcohol and substance abuse increases the risk for:

*            injury/trauma

*            criminal justice involvement

*            social problems

*            mental health consequences (anxiety, depression, etc.)

*            increased absenteeism and accidents at the workplace

Also according to the information provided by SBIRT, one standard drink equals one 12 fl. oz. bottle or can of beer (e.g. 330 ml at 5%), a single shot of spirits such as whiskey, gin, vodka, etc (e.g. 40 ml at 40%), one glass of wine or a small glass of sherry (e.g. 140 ml at 12% or 90 ml at 18%), or a single mixed drink or wine cooler (e.g. 275 ml at 5%).