Overconsumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking stay prime culprits behind deaths that could have been averted in the US and are linked with harmful repercussions on health. Marijuana use is also on the rise in the US, despite studies showing links to effects like permanent IQ loss and depression. Identifying and aiding patients struggling with alcohol, substance, tobacco, or marijuana misuse is a critical task for general practitioners and other first-contact clinicians.
The AAFP has recently published an updated practice manual on addressing alcohol and other substance use, with a focus on ‘screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment’, or SBIRT, in the primary care setting. The manual provides guidance to family physicians on implementing SBIRT for alcohol and other substance use in their practice, including a recommendation for healthcare practitioners to consider the medical home model of care delivery. Requiring collective responsibility by the healthcare team for ongoing patient care, this model is based on a continuous relationship between the patient, physician, and care providers.
The handbook also furnishes assistance to enable family medicine facilities to appraise their present-day functioning and identify any adjustments demanded to integrate the SBIRT system. The manual then offers an in-depth SBIRT overview, clearly delineating each step, advising on workflows, follow-up, and addressing patient diversity and needs.
The manual also offers recommendations on follow up and support of patients through potential relapses.
Reference:Addressing Alcohol and Other Substance Use: Practice Manual, American Academy of Family Physicians, 2023 Download PDF
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