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:

Caitlin Pettengill, DNP, RN
Assistant Director of School Health Services
MA Department of Public Health

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 for the 2021-22 School Year are: 

  • SBIRT in Schools: Introduction to Identifying and Addressing Substance Use (online course + 2 live, virtual hours)- This course introduces learners to SBIRT in Schools programs and how to apply best practices in screening, reinforcing healthy choices, and intervening when students report unhealthy substance use. It includes both live, virtual training and online training content. Health professionals seeking contact hours and nurses seeking licensure as school nurses must complete all components of this course including:
    1. The online portion of this course describes the impact of substance use on teens, regulatory requirements for conducting verbal substance use screenings in schools, key elements of the SBIRT in Schools program, and basics of Motivational Interviewing.
    2. The live, virtual training allows learners to practice SBIRT skills including screening, providing positive reinforcement, conducting Brief Negotiated Interviews using Motivational Interviewing principles, and making referrals.

    This introductory offering is for school professionals who have not yet attended an Introduction to SBIRT training. There is no “Train the Trainer” model for SBIRT in Schools and all those participating in SBIRT should attend.

    Visit the SHIELD website for access to registration for the training.

  • CRAFFT+N- Talking with Students About Nicotine, Tobacco and Vaping (online course, ~1 hour)- This course provides and update for school health professionals who would like to: 1) explore content and resources for discussing nicotine, tobacco, and vaping with students; 2) update on the screening tool changes reflected in CRAFFT+N: SBIRT in Schools; and, 3) review SBIRT in Schools basic skills.
    Prerequisite: SBIRT in Schools Introduction to Identifying and Addressing Substance Use.
    Visit SHIELD website to access the course.
  • BSAS Office of Youth and Young Adult Services Trainings- The Bureau of Substance Addiction Services Office of Youth and Young Adult Services (OYYAS) facilitates a variety of statewide substance use trainings for adults working with youth and young adults. 

     For current training opportunities please visit BSAS Training Calendar.  


Register for Introductory training at


Request training or technical assistance

It is recommended that all school staff participating in SBIRT complete the introductory course. Additional support, including implementation assistance and deepening of skills, can be requested to meet indovidual district needs. Complete a request form by clicking HERE.

Attend an adolescent-focused training

BSAS OYYAS facilitates a variety of statewide substance use trainings for adults working with youth and young adults. Find out more HERE.

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

SBIRT in Schools: FAQs

This Frequently Asked Questions document has been prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), in consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), in an effort to answer the questions that arise after attendance at SBIRT training sessions. SBIRT in Schools: FAQ

SBIRT in Schools: Toolkit 

A toolkit has been developed to provide streamlined information for the implementaiton of SBIRT in Schools. It is now available on the SHIELD website under the Resources/Health Screenings section or by clicking HERE


The following videos are examples of SBIRT. For Massachusetts SBIRT in Schools, be sure to consult updated materials for required screening tools and process updates. Videos use actors portraying students. Health professionals are portrayed by professionals who work in the field, and bring their professional experience to the scenarios.



SBIRT Core Training:

Powerpoints: SBIRT in Schools: Introduction to Identifying and Addressing Substance Use

    CRAFFT+N - Talking with Students about Nicotine, Tobacco and Vaping

    Implementation Resources:



    Treatment Resources

    Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Substsance Addiction Services

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services has a dedicated office responsible for the oversight of state  funded, substance use related services for youth and young adults, ages 12-26.  The Office of Youth and Young Adult Services (OYYAS) oversees the implementation, enhancement, and sustainability of developmentally tailored services including: intervention, treatment, and recovery supports. 

    To access treatment:
    Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline: Substance use resources 

         800 327-5050  

    Handhold: Behavioral Health resources 

    To access workforce trainings:
    The OYYAS facilitates a variety of statewide substance use trainings for adults working with youth and young adults.  For current training opportunities please visit:  BSAS Training Calendar


    Accessing Data in Your Community 

    Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS)

    Monitoring the Future

    MA Youth Health Survey

    Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey