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Drug overdose deaths in Maine soared by 31 percent in 2015, reaching a new high of 272 fatalities that was fueled by a near doubling of heroin deaths. Fifty-seven people died of heroin overdoses in 2014, when 208 deaths were caused by drug overdoses. — Maine Attorney General

Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment


  1. Universal Screening: Efficiently screen everyone for risky substance use and depression
  2. Initial screening: Includes alcohol, drugs and depression
  3. Secondary screening: Defines level of risk severity and appropriate plan of action
  4. Brief Intervention: Motivational conversation focused on changing risky behavior
  5. Brief Treatment: Embedded behavioral health clinician delivers outpatient treatment
  6. Referral to Specialty Treatment: Linkages in place for referral to intensive levels of treatment

sbirt chart


The US Preventive Services Task Force (2009) found SBIRT effectively reduced heavy drinking episodes in adults and resulted in:

  • Reduced weekly alcohol consumption
  • 12% fewer adults reported heavy drinking episodes
  • 11% of adults reported drinking less than the recommended limits over a 12-month period

A 2009 article in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence found a 68% reduction in illicit drug use over a six-month period among individuals who had received SBIRT services.

According to SAMHSA:

  • Multiple studies have shown that investing in SBIRT can result in healthcare cost savings that range from $3.81 to $5.60 for every $1.00 spent.
  • People who received screening and brief intervention experienced fewer:
    • Emergency department visits, down 20%
    • Non-fatal injuries, down 33%
    • Hospitalizations, down 37%
    • Arrests, down 46%
    • Motor vehicle accidents, down 50%