Early Insights into Implementation of Universal Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Perinatal Substance Use

Sarah E. Reese, Annie Glover, Stephanie Fitch, Joe Salyer, Valerie Lofgren, Clayton “Tersh” McCracken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Perinatal substance use is a growing concern across the United States. Universal screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is one systems-level approach to addressing perinatal substance use. The objective of this study is to assess early efforts to implement SBIRT in an outpatient obstetric clinic. Methods: The research team implemented universal screening with the 5 P’s screening tool. Providers then engaged patients in a brief intervention and referred to a care manager who then worked with patients via tele-health to connect patients with needed services. Feasibility was measured through the collection of aggregate data describing frequency of universal screening and referral to treatment. The implementation team met bi-weekly to reflect on implementation barriers and facilitators. Results: In the first year of implementation, 48.5% of patients receiving care in the clinic completed the 5 P’s screener at least once during the perinatal period. Screening occurred in a little over a quarter (26.5%) of eligible visits. Of the 463 patients that completed the 5 P’s at least once during the perinatal period, 195 (42%) unique patients screened positive (answered yes to at least one question). Conclusions for Practice: Early implementation efforts suggest this approach is feasible in this obstetric setting. Similar implementation studies should consider implementing universal screening for substance use and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders simultaneously; guide efforts using an implementation framework; invest resources in more intensive training and ongoing coaching for providers; and adopt strategies to track frequency and fidelity of brief intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue numberSuppl 1
StatePublished - Nov 17 2023


  • Implementation
  • Perinatal
  • Substance use
  • Universal screening
  • United States
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders/diagnosis
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Pregnancy
  • Mass Screening
  • Female
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Mentoring


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