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Screening and Brief Intervention

Screening and Brief Intervention

The impact of hazardous alcohol and substance use is far reaching and has significant medical, social, and financial consequences. The traditional emphasis of substance abuse intervention has been placed on either universal prevention strategies aimed at those who have never initiated use, or specialist treatment for those who are dependent. Little attention has been paid to the large group of individuals who use alcohol or drugs but are not yet dependent and who could successfully reduce their use through early intervention.

The State of California recommends that health care professionals within the community screen and provide a brief intervention for at-risk substance use in the same way they provide for other health-related issues, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Screening and brief intervention has been shown to be effective in reducing problematic alcohol consumption and/or drug use in a significant number of individuals. Easy to use screening tools help identify persons that may benefit from a brief intervention. Information about risks is conveyed in a nonjudgmental way, and persons at-risk for alcohol or other drug abuse receive a brief motivational and/or skills-based intervention to assist her/him in reducing their use, and in so doing, reduce the risk of harm that may result to themselves, their families or their communities.