SBIRT in Schools


About SBIRT in Schools:

School from Flickr via Wylio

© 2011 jdog90, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

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 Administration

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:

Attend a training 

MDPH School Health Services 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 this school year are: 

  • SBIRT Practice: Having a Supportive Brief Intervention Conversation - Join us for an interactive practice session, focused on having a supportive brief intervention conversation. We’ll review skills for brief interventions, practice conversations, and debrief key concepts. Because we will be using breakout rooms to practice conversation skills, we hope participants will be open to actively participating from an individual computer with audio and video capability. Prior participation in the Intro to SBIRT in Schools training is required, as we’ll be practicing the skills reviewed in the introductory training.

    No more sessions scheduled for SY22-23. Email to request more sessions be added.

  • 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. Visit BSAS Training Calendar.  


Refresh your skills 

The self-paced training modules can help you refresh your SBIRT in Schools skills. Be sure to consult current resources for required screening tools and process updates. The role-played scenarios use actors portraying students and School Health Professionals. Teaching modules use Massachusetts School Health Professionals talking about their experiences. Note to School Health Personnel: Laurie Melchoinda’s work on this project as a leader in the Braintree SBIRT in Schools initiative is memorialized in these modules. Her commentarty is included with permission from the Laurie Melchionda Foundation.

SBIRT in Schools: Brief Interventions

SBIRT in Schools: Implementation 

SBIRT in Schools: Motivational Interviewing


Request training or technical assistance 

MASBIRT TTA can provide additional support, including implementation assistance and deepening of skills, to meet individual district needs. Complete a request form by clicking 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 implementation 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, process updates and up-to-date resources. 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