A first of its kind manual, developed by JBS International, Inc., in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and in coordination with the Iowa Army National Guard (IAARNG), has been released nationally as a tool for substance abuse prevention among the military. The SBIRT Implementation: The Iowa Army National Guard Program manual is designed to assist medical providers in identifying risky alcohol and illicit drug use, as well as misuse of prescription medication.
The SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) model was first implemented by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2003 to identify and treat those with or at risk of developing substance use disorders. Useful in a variety of health care settings, many studies have shown the cost savings of SBIRT intervention. One analysis found the total benefit was about $5.60 for every dollar spent.
IDPH received funding from SAMHSA in 2012 to implement SBIRT in the Iowa Army National Guard. “IDPH has long considered IAARNG a priority partner since many service members lack the same access to health and behavioral health services available to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines,” said IDPH SBIRT director Michele Tilotta. “This program is at the earliest levels of intervention and does not replace any existing National Guard programs or services; however, if potential problems or risks are identified, the individual is offered voluntary referral assistance for additional screening, assessment, and potential treatment services.”
The Iowa SBIRT model includes staff within IDPH and IAARNG, as well as professional counselors from the House of Mercy and United Community Services in Des Moines. SAMHSA believes the manual developed from the Iowa experience can serve as a guide for other states that want to implement SBIRT.
For more information about how IDPH and IAARNG implement SBIRT, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/sbirt/Information.aspx. You will also find a link to the SBIRT Implementation: The Iowa Army National Guard Program manual there.