SBIRT in Schools

About SBIRT in Schools

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Because school nurses and counselors are uniquely positioned to discuss substance use among young people, it is recommended that schools allow for opportunities for appropriately trained staff to reinforce prevention, screen for substance use, provide counseling and make referrals as necessary to all adolescents, including students in upper elementary grades.  Adolescent Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) focuses on prevention, early detection, risk assessment, brief counseling and referral intervention that can be utilized in the school setting. Use of a validated screening tool will enable school nurses and counselors to detect risk for substance use-related problems and to address them at an early stage in adolescents.

Legislation Mandating SBIRT in Schools

In March, 2016, the Massachusetts Legislature passed bill House, No. 4056 which outlines the requirements for public schools in the Commonwealth to engage in substance use prevention and education. Legislation can be found at (see Sections 15, 63, 64, 66).

School SBIRT Process

The MA Department of Public Health School Health Services, in collaboration with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is providing skills and implementation training to assist school districts in successfully incorporating SBIRT into schools. To engage in SBIRT planning and training, contact:
MaryAnn Gapinski, DPH Director School Health Services 
(617) 624-5427

Training Resources: 

MDPH School Health Unit in collaboration with the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services is offering a series of trainings to assist school personnel to implement SBIRT in Schools. The training offerings are: 

  • SBIRT in Schools: Introductory Training- 6 hours- This workshop includes a two hour administrative overview of the SBIRT mandated screening program, and a four hour introduction to the CRAFFT II screening tool and Motivational Interviewing skills for use in the Brief Intervention.
  • SBIRT in Schools: Implementation Essentials- 3 hours- The goals of this session are to identify challenges in the district's SBIRT in Schools Implementation Plan and develop solutions to these challenges. Enhance skills to conduct Brief Negotiated Interviews (BNI) and use motivational interviewing (MI) skills in student interviews, healthy behavior reinforcement conversations, brief interventions, and referrals during the SBIRT process.

Trainings are being offered across the state and are open to all.

Sign up for an in-person training at

The training team is fulfilling requests to offer Imlementation Essentials trainings locally in districts. Due to capacity issues, Introductory Sessions are only being offered regionally. Check for upcoming sessions. 

If you have space and would like to offer an Implementation Essentials training at your school or in a community setting, submit an online request HERE.

DPH Guidelines and Recommendations:

Administrative Process: SBIRT in Schools Guidelines and Recommendations


Skill Building: SBIRT for School Health Teams 

Training Videos:

SBIRT in Schools: An Introductory Walkthrough

SBIRT in Schools: Reinforcing Healthy Behaviors and Addresssing Safety Concerns

SBIRT in Schools: Talking About Drinking

SBIRT Core Training:

SBIRT Training Modules

Implementation Resources:



Treatment Resources

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Youth and Young Adult Services

Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline
800 327-5050 
The Massachusetts Helpline will continue to work with families and other key stakeholders to devise the most appropriate course of action for adolescents and young adults ages 13-24 in need of treatment for their use of substances. Options include:

  1. Placement in a stabilization program
  2. Placement directly at residential programs without a prior stay at stabilization level of care
  3. Referrals to statewide outpatient, community-based Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) services

DPH Youth and Young Adult Referral Process Update 8-2-17

DPH Youth and Young Adult Treatment Contact Information for Referrals 8-2-17

Accessing Data in Your Community 

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS)

Monitoring the Future

MA Youth Health Survey

Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey