Substance Use Disorders in Primary Care

Research demonstrates patients with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) are twice as likely to be seen by their primary care provider than those without an AUD. Recent studies also find that healthcare providers may not be good at recognizing substance use disorders (SUDs) in the outpatient setting. Thus, there is a need for healthcare providers to recognize the sequelae of SUDs and better identify and assist alcohol or drug-dependent persons. This activity will provide an overview of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for SUD and tools to incorporate alcohol and drug screening, intervention, and education into your daily practice and all aspects of medical care. We recognize that many healthcare workers already screen and assist. Still, we want to ensure that we are all asking the same questions and providing consistent, SBIRT-appropriate, evidence-based, and high-quality services.

Learning Objectives


At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Identify the main components and explain the rationale and research support for SBIRT
  • Discuss medical and social influences on our understanding of substance use
  • Explain the Stages of Change Model for use in SBIRT and understand how to apply the stages of change in clinical practice
  • Provide a brief overview of treatment options and criteria
  • Outline the steps to obtain your X-waiver through the Provider Clinical Support System