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Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Older Adults With Substance Misuse
American Journal of Public Health (2015)
  • Lawrence Schonfeld, University of South Florida
  • Robert W Hazlett
  • Deborah K Hedgecock
  • Darran M Duchene
  • L Vance Burns, Florida Department of Health
  • Amber M Gum, University of South Florida

Objectives. We compared substance use and SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) services received for older adults screened by the Florida BRITE (BRief Intervention and Treatment of Elders) Project, across 4 categories of service providers.

Methods. Staff from 29 agencies screened for substance use risk in 75 sites across 18 Florida counties. Clients at no or low risk received feedback about screening; moderate risk led to brief intervention, moderate or high risk led to brief treatment, and highest severity led to referral to treatment. Six-month follow-ups were conducted with a random sample of clients.

Results. Over 5 years (September 15, 2006–September 14, 2011), 85 001 client screenings were recorded. Of these, 8165 clients were at moderate or high risk. Most received brief intervention for alcohol or medication misuse. Differences were observed across 4 categories of agencies. Health educators screening solely within medical sites recorded fewer positive screens than those from mental health, substance abuse, or aging services that screened in a variety of community-based and health care sites. Six-month follow-ups revealed a significant decrease in substance use.

Conclusions. The Florida BRITE Project demonstrated that SBIRT can be extended to nonmedical services that serve older adults.

(AmJ Public Health. Published online ahead of print May 15, 2014: e1–e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301859)

  • Older Adults,
  • Alcohol,
  • Medication Misuse,
Publication Date
Citation Information
Lawrence Schonfeld, Robert W Hazlett, Deborah K Hedgecock, Darran M Duchene, et al.. "Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Older Adults With Substance Misuse" American Journal of Public Health Vol. 105 Iss. 1 (2015)
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