Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a proven strategy for improving pregnancy outcomes for women who are using a variety of substances.

Key questions to be addressed:  How should the community be involved in establishing an SBIRT system for pregnant women?  What is the role of the primary prenatal care provider? What is the best way to screen for substance use in pregnancy?  What good does toxicology testing serve, and what methodology is best?  What defines successful medication-assisted treatment in pregnancy?  What are the key barriers to establishing a fully functioning prenatal SBIRT system?  What responsibilities do prenatal care providers have in establishing a plan of safe care, as required by federal CARA legislation?

Why this is important:  Science tells us that SBIRT strategies are an effective and efficient means of prevention; however, widespread racial and social class bias as well as an inherent bias against women who use substances during pregnancy propel the call for punitive approaches that drive women out of prenatal care.  A successful SBIRT system will significantly reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality and drive down health care costs.