Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Screening, brief intervention and referral of emergency department patients with unhealthy drug use: efficacious or not?
  1. Gail D'Onofrio,
  2. Steven L Bernstein
  1. Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, Connecticut, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor D'Onofrio, gail.donofrio{at}

Statistics from

ABSTRACT FROM: Bogenschutz MP, Donovan DM, Mandler RN, et al. Brief intervention for patients with problematic drug use presenting in emergency departments: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med 2014;174:1736–45.

What is already known on this topic

There is evidence that emergency department (ED) screening, followed by brief intervention and referral to treatment can reduce high-risk behaviours such as unhealthy alcohol and tobacco use.1 The evidence supporting the efficacy of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for drug use in ED settings is limited, yet promising.2

Methods of the study

This is a clinical trial of ED patients 18 years or older who screened in for problematic drug use measured by a score of ≥3 on the 10-item drug abuse screening test. Patients were randomised to: (1) brief intervention with up to two telephone boosters within 7–30 days of the ED visit (BI-B): n=427; (2) screening and assessment with referral to treatment if dependent as measured by ASSIST scores ≥ 27 (SAR): n=427; (3) minimal screening only (MSO) with information pamphlet: n=431. The study was conducted at six US hospital from October 2010 to February …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests None declared.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.