New Clinical Guideline Helps Healthcare Professionals Take a Positive Step in Alcohol and Substance Use Prevention

August 18, 2008

DENVER, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ — In a significant step toward establishing screening for alcohol and other drug use as a standard medical practice, SBIRT Colorado (http://www.improvinghealthcolorado.org/) has partnered with the Colorado Clinical Guidelines Collaborative (CCGC) (http://www.coloradoguidelines.org/default.asp) to create and release a new Guideline (http://www.coloradoguidelines.org/guidelines/sbirt.asp) for Substance Use Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).

Nearly 30 percent of Americans are not dependent on alcohol or other drugs, but consume at a level that elevates their risk for causing physical, mental or social harm. According to statistics from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the State of Colorado spends approximately $202 million annually on healthcare costs due to problems related to substance abuse.

Through a brief screening conducted at healthcare facilities in 12 SBIRT Colorado locations throughout the state, healthcare professionals can identify people with risky use early enough to interrupt progression to more serious use and to connect patients who have substance dependence to specialized treatment.

“Instead of waiting until risky alcohol and other drug use become a major issue, the Guideline promotes an open discussion between doctor and patient, empowering patients to take charge of their health,” said Brie Reimann, program director for SBIRT Colorado. “We hope that a SBIRT screening will become as common as a blood pressure check at your annual doctor’s appointment.”

The Guideline recognizes the critical role clinicians can play in preventing injury, disease and more severe substance use disorders. An online version of the Guideline is available free of charge to all healthcare professionals at http://www.coloradoguidelines.org/guidelines/sbirt.asp

“As with all our guidelines, the Guideline for Alcohol and Substance Use presents essential information in a user-friendly format that can be used by any healthcare professional,” said Dr. Marjie Harbrecht, medical/executive director of CCGC. “And beyond the systematic approach to screen patients, the new guideline provides recommendations for management based on the patient’s risk level.”

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded a grant in 2006 of $2.8 million annually for five years to the Colorado Office of the Governor to implement SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment).

A celebration of the new CCGC Guideline will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Governor’s Mansion (400 E. 8th Ave., Denver). A keynote address will be provided by Eric Goplerud, PhD, Research Professor, Health Policy and Director of Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems, School of Public Health, at George Washington University Medical Center.

The Guideline was mailed to more than 5,000 clinicians throughout Colorado and is available at http://www.coloradoguidelines.org/guidelines/sbirt.asp. CCGC will host education seminars and in-office trainings across the state to raise provider awareness and encourage implementation of the guideline.

About SBIRT Colorado

SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment) is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to one of the most preventable health issues — alcohol and other drug use. SBIRT Colorado delivers universal screenings to patients at 12 sites in Colorado. One of eight SBIRT programs in the country, SBIRT Colorado is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and jointly administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services/Division of Behavioral Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment/Prevention Services Division. The project is managed by Peer Assistance Services, Inc. For more information and screening locations visit http://www.improvinghealthcolorado.com/.

About CCGC

Colorado Clinical Guidelines Collaborative (CCGC) is a unique non-profit coalition of health plans, physicians, hospitals, employers, government agencies, quality improvement organizations and other entities dedicated to improving healthcare in Colorado by working together to implement systems that rely on evidence-based clinical guidelines. For more information about CCGC visit http://www.coloradoguidelines.org/.

   Statistics Driving the Need for SBIRT in Colorado   -- A 2002 Harvard study concluded Colorado ranked second in severity      nationwide on the overall Substance Abuse Problem Index, fifth on the      Alcohol Problem Index, and 13th on the Drug Problem Index.   -- The Drug Abuse Warning Network's "DAWN Live!" study reports that      Colorado ranks 19 percent higher than the national average and fifth in      the nation in per capita consumption of alcohol.   -- The 2005 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey noted that 60.6 percent of 12th      graders used alcohol.   -- According to statistics from the National Center on Addiction and      Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the State of Colorado spends      approximately $202 million annually on healthcare costs due to problems      related to substance abuse.   -- Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs contribute to more than 70 diseases.   -- More than 100 sites are implementing substance use screening, brief      intervention and referral to treatment services across the United      States. Follow-up evaluation results reveal:      o Alcohol use to the level of intoxication (5+ drinks) decreased among        38.3 percent of those who had a screening and brief intervention.      o Use of any illicit drugs decreased among 49.9 percent of those who        had a screening and brief intervention.      o Nearly 50 percent of those who received a brief intervention changed        their pattern of misuse.  


CONTACT: Lee Bley of JohnstonWells Public Relations, +1-303-623-3366,lbley@johnstonwells.com, for SBIRT

Web site: http://www.improvinghealthcolorado.com/http://www.coloradoguidelines.org/

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