Youthful sampling of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs can have lifelong negative consequences. Adolescence is a period of critical brain development as well as significant biological, social and emotional changes, making young people particularly vulnerable to the detrimental health effects of drugs and susceptible to addiction. Substance use can potentiate other risky behaviors such as driving while intoxicated, interpersonal violence and unprotected sex. It can harm relationships with family and friends and derail future plans.

Research shows that the earlier an adolescent begins to use alcohol, nicotine or other drugs, the sooner and the greater the chances of developing substance use problems as an adult.

Adolescence therefore presents a crucial window of time during which pediatricians can intervene to prevent, delay or reduce early substance use so that young people can go on to lead healthy and productive lives.

What is SBIRT? — SBIRT is short for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment — is an evidence-based approach to identifying patients who may be using alcohol or drugs, then taking steps as needed:

Substance Use Change Package

Find information, tools, and links to resources for pediatricians and primary care practices who wish to participate in quality improvement efforts to increase the implementation of the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) approach to address adolescent substance use.

Promising Practices