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Important role of school-based health clinics highlighted

September 15, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A Health Affairs blog posted on Sept. 12 discusses the youth screening and brief intervention activities being facilitated through the efforts of school-based health clinics. The posting states that the targeted population is “young people who have started to use alcohol or other drugs and perhaps have ven begun to experience negative effects, but don't yet need specialty substance use disorder treatment services.”

The posting discusses efforts by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to invest in school-based health clinics for implementation of screening and brief intervention in several Ohio communities and in Los Angeles. It states that some schools are successfully using Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) approaches as an alternative to student disciplinary actions.

“We have learned that with support and encouragement, [school-based health clinics] can and will incorporate SBIRT into practice,” the article states.

It adds that several components of these screening and intervention efforts still need to be improved, however, including in some cases a lack of use of validated screening tools. In addition, the article states that while 69% of school-based health clinics offer some level of substance use screening, only about 10% have a trained alcohol and drug counselor on staff.