Wisconsin Partnership Supports New Substance Abuse Prevention Initiative
Eleven Wisconsin high schools in six school districts are taking part in a new substance abuse prevention initiative aimed at raising awareness among students about the dangers of alcohol and illicit drug use before dependency and addiction can take hold.
In partnership with IMPACT Inc., a Milwaukee-based community health service provider, participating 9th and 10th grade students will meet with trained health educators to discuss risky alcohol and drug use as part of the SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) program. SBIRT helps identify alcohol or drug problems and provides referral to treatment if a problem may exist.
The Southeastern Wisconsin SBIRT Project is a Community Academic Partnership between IMPACT Inc., and Dr. Richard Brown, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. It is funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
The initiative targets rural, urban and suburban school settings, including Evansville High School. “Evansville High School is excited to take part in this initiative providing our students the opportunity to have open and honest conversations about risky substance use,” said Meaghan Hannibal, school psychologist.
“We know the majority of high school students are avoiding risky use of alcohol, prescription opiates and other dangerous drugs, but for some, these addictive substances can get in the way of their academic success,” she said. “Through early prevention programs like SBIRT, we can provide positive encouragement and extra support for those in need before unhealthy use becomes a potential crisis.”
During a confidential consultation, trained health educators talk with students to determine his/her level of risk, then provide positive reinforcement or offer brief motivational counseling.
“What is exciting about this project is that the participating schools are modeling a best practice for youth substance use prevention that could have implications statewide and even nationally,” said Julie Whelan Capell, SBIRT project coordinator.
The SBIRT model is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Generally used in clinical settings, this initiative is unique because it brings SBIRT to the schools, where conversations about substance abuse can help prevent or delay the use of alcohol and drugs. More than 3500 students will participate in the project.
The Wisconsin Partnership Program represents a far-reaching commitment by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health to improve the health and well-being of Wisconsin residents through investments in research, education and community partnerships. Established in 2004, the Wisconsin Partnership Program has awarded more than 400 research, education and community partnership grants totaling more than $180 million, aimed at improving the health of the people of Wisconsin.
Date Published: 02/18/2016