SBIRT in Schools

About SBIRT in Schools

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Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) focuses on prevention, early detection, risk assessment, brief counseling and referral for assessment that can be utilized in the school setting. Use of a validated screening tool will enable school health teams to detect risk for substance use related problems and brief intervention strategies will help to address these concerns at an early stage in adolescents.

Legislation Mandating SBIRT in Schools

In March, 2016, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted an Act relative to substance use, treatment, education and prevention (STEP Act) which outlines the requirements for public schools in the Commonwealth to engage in substance use screening and education. Legislation can be found at (see Sections 15, 63, 64, 66).

SBIRT in Schools Training and Support

The MA Department of Public Health School Health Services is providing skills and implementation training to assist school districts in successfully incorporating SBIRT into schools.
See below to register or request a training in your district.

For questions:
Wanda Visnick, DPH SBIRT in Schools Coordinator
(617) 624-5964 


MaryAnn Gapinski, DPH Director School Health Services 
(617) 624-5427

Training Resources: 

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

  • 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. This workshop is for school professionals who have not yet attended an Introduction to SBIRT workshop.
    • Upcoming Workshop: June 14, 2018 from 8:30am-3pm
      SBIRT Introductory Training
      DoubleTree by Hilton Boston-Westborough
      Westborough, MA  01581
      Click here to REGISTER
  • 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 Intervention. All trainees should complete Introductory Training prior to attending Implementation Essentials.

Register for training at


Request a training

The training team is fulfilling requests to offer Imlementation Essentials trainings locally in districts. If you would like to offer an Implementation Essentials training at your school or in a community setting, submit an online request HERE.
Due to capacity issues, Introductory Trainings are only being offered regionally. Check for upcoming sessions. 

DPH & DESE Guidelines and Recommendations:

DESE Office of Student and Family Support Guidance: 

State Requirement for Districts to Implement a Substance Use Related Verbal Screening Tool guidance can be found at


Training Videos:

These videos are meant to give you a feel for doing a screening and brief intervention. Please check guidance and materials for the most up-to-date recommendations for ways to introduce the process, ways to address confidentiality of screening results, and for the recommended screening tool.

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 in Schools: Introductory Training
  • SBIRT in Schools: Implementation Essentials

 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