Spotlight: Linda Cabral, M.M., Program Manager, CTC-RI

  • 11 Nov 2021

Why was the SBIRT program necessary in Rhode Island, and from CTC-RI's perspective, what did you hope to achieve?

The SBIRT grant funding allowed for further spread and implementation of a best practice for the early identification and treatment of substance use disorders. SBIRT was part of the toolbox for addressing the growing opioid epidemic and high rates of alcohol misuse in RI. CTC-RI was proud to support a campaign that sought to destigmatize substance use conversations and implement substance use screenings in over 60 settings, including primary care, community-based settings, hospital emergency departments, correctional facilities, and more.

What was the biggest challenge or lesson learned of the SBIRT program?

SBIRT funding came with federal grant reporting requirements. Working with 8 different implementation partners on establishing workflows for collecting the necessary data was challenging. But our partners demonstrated flexibility and a commitment to the project to ensure that all reporting requirements were met. RI had the highest SBIRT screening follow-up rate of all the states in our funding cohort!

How has the SBIRT program changed primary care in Rhode Island?

Substance use screening is more common now in primary care and substance use conversations are more normalized as a part of overall wellness. The SBIRT grant has educated primary care practices on the screening tools available, how to engage in conversations about substance use, and motivational interviewing techniques to encourage behavior change. Our goal was to create sustainable change in primary care and beyond around substance use screenings and we believe we achieved this!