Key Takeaways

  • Alcohol and psychoactive medication misuse and abuse is a major concern among older adults, but a method known as screening and brief intervention (SBI) is a powerful prevention and treatment tool.

  • This screening and brief intervention guide was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), JBS International, and NCOA.

  • Clinicians and Organizations can use this guide to set up and measure the success of early prevention intervention programs for alcohol and/or psychoactive medication misuse or abuse.

As the U.S. faces the challenge of caring for an increasingly large population of older adults who have significant health care needs, research indicates this population is continuing to use alcohol and psychoactive prescription medications at a higher rate than previous generations.

Developing effective prevention and early intervention methods for substance misuse and abuse among older adults is imperitive. To begin to help determine the best ways to optimize the use of proven models to reach older adults at risk for problem alcohol and/or psychoactive prescription medication use, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminsitration (SAMHSA) funded the translation of science to service project that formed the basis for developing this manual.

How can this guide help my organization address alcohol and prescription drug misuse among older adults?

Explore this guide for strategies focused on implementing programs to prevent alcohol and psychoactive medication misuse/abuse in older adults, based on screening and brief intervention (SBI) clinical trial research results and field-based implementation evaluations.

Lessons learned were gathered from four sites that received funding to implement SBI focused on alcohol and psychoactive prescription drug misuse:

  1. Broward County Elderly and Veterans Services Division in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  2. The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston in Houston
  3. Partners in Care Foundation in San Fernando, California
  4. Rush University Medical Center Older Adult Programs in Chicago

This evidence-based practice SBI manual gives both organizational leadership and clinicians the tools to successfully meet the prevention and early intervention needs of this rapidly growing population.

The content of this guide is divided into two major sections:

  • Section I focuses on all of the information needed by clinicians and supervisors to conduct SBI.
  • Section II guides organizations through determining where and how to embed SBI into their settings. The guide's Appendices include a list of targeted psychoactive medications of concern, prescreening and screening instruments, a list of brochures and pamphlets on safe use of alcohol and medications, a brief intervention workbook, and process evaluation instruments to aid in determining how implementation is working and provide methods to maintain fidelity to the SBI model.