LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA — On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) visited Lincoln University, the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University, to highlight successes within their Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) initiative aimed to address substance misuse among students at higher education institutions.
SBIRT is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders (SUD), as well as those who are at risk of developing these disorders. Primary care centers, hospital emergency rooms, trauma centers, and other community settings provide opportunities for early intervention with at-risk individuals before more severe consequences occur.
“We know that substance use disorder does not discriminate based on age, race, or socio-economic status and can often go undetected,” said DDAP Deputy Secretary Ellen DiDomenico. “I commend Lincoln University for their focus and diligent work on reaching young adults through early detection screenings, helping to reach a population of individuals who may not otherwise seek treatment or understand the course of their continued at-risk behaviors.”
The initiative at Lincoln University was implemented within its student health and counseling center designed to reduce binge drinking rates, daily marijuana use, and prescription stimulant misuse by providing students more opportunities to contemplate use by using the SBIRT tool.
“The integration of SBIRT into our practice at health and counseling services provides an early intervention that impacts our students’ physical, emotional, educational and ultimately their overall success,” said Rachel Manson, Lincoln University’s Director of Counseling Services. “Students have been cooperative in completing the screening and report, appreciating the knowledge they receive about their usage to address risks, making lifestyle changes regarding readiness to decrease or eliminate usage, learning the resources available on campus and how they can access treatment through our community drug and alcohol partners, Gaudenzia and Holcomb Behavioral Health.”
According to Lincoln University, of the total 2,422 students who were screened through the program from April 2021 through September 2022. Of those screened, 307 students scored in the brief intervention range and 12 students scored in referral to treatment range with one of the university’s partnering providers.
Lincoln University students also created a film project showing the SBIRT program from the counseling perspective in action. The goal of the project is to help alleviate the stigma associated with seeking additional services beyond the health services offices with Lincoln University’s Counseling Services counselors.
Lincoln University was one of five Pennsylvania colleges and universities to be awarded an SBIRT grant as part of Pennsylvania’s State Opioid Response II funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This initiative is a collaboration between DDAP, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), and University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy and Program Evaluation and Research Unit (Pitt PERU).
Additional grantees include Kutztown University, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Neumann University, and the Pennsylvania State University.
DDAP and Pitt PERU developed the Connect2Care mobile application for SBIRT services to identify individuals who may be at risk for substance use and mental health disorders. The Connect2Care app can lead a provider or patient through a questionnaire informed by evidence-based clinical screens for SUDs. After the user completes the screening, the Connect2Care app will automate outcomes based on screening results, which may recommend brief intervention steps and referral resources. The Connect2Care app is free and available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play.
DDAP’s Get Help Now hotline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), is also available for individuals and/or their loved ones if SUD treatment or resources are needed. The hotline is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and staffed by trained professionals who will connect callers to resources in their community. Callers can also be connected with funding if they need help paying for treatment.
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