The federal deputy Drug Czar says a program being tested in Iowa and other states that attempts to identify and prevent drug addiction is working. Doctor Bertha Madras says the program is called Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI), and involves doctors asking their patients a series of screening questions on substance use.
Madras says the first component is finding out where the patient is, if the patient isn’t addicted, she says the doctor can administer an intervention to try and get them to change their behavior to reduce their risk for addiction.
Madras says having the doctor talk to patients about their problem seems to be effective. She says many people feel comfortable with their doctor and feel they are able to share the problem with them because it will be confidential.
Madras says the “brief interventions” give patients options to steer away from the drugs or alcohol before it becomes a major problem. Madras says the interventions are non-judgemental and non-confrontational, and are talks between the doctor or physicians assistant and the patient designed to get the patient to associate their drug use with potential or current medical problems.
Madras says the program saves money in the long run by turning things around before the addiction grows. Madras says research shows the people who have the opportunity to receive the services have less hospitalization, improve their own health, and decrease their healthcare costs. Madras says running the program through the doctor’s office ensures a large majority of people will be screened.
Madras says it’s estimated that at least 80% of the population sees a doctor once a year, so it’s likely that in one to three years, most of the population would be seeing a physician. The program is being tested in Iowa and nine other states. Madras says they would like to expand the program nationwide.