Regional interprofessional conference to address substance use challenges

Dr. Jack Barber, director of the Virginia Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), will keynote the “Working Together to Address Substance Abuse Issues” conference at the Roanoke Higher Education Center April 28.

The conference will help  physicians, nurses, counselors, juvenile justice officers, community center administrators, community service providers and school administrators work interprofessionally to implement the SBIRT (Screening, Brief Interventions, and Referral to Treatment) protocol, an evidence-based practice used to identify, prevent and/or treat problematic use of alcohol and illicit drugs.

“SBIRT is a proactive approach to posing difficult questions that can prevent users from progressing to dependency. It is now considered a best practice and has been proven to be very effective,” said Radford University Assistant Professor of Nursing Linda Ely, who is co-leading the Radford University team that is preparing nurses and counseling students for drug and alcohol prevention efforts.

The conference is co-sponsored by Radford University’s School of Nursing and its Counselor Education Department, Virginia Tech’s Counseling Education Department, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences. The conference is also supported by a pair of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA).

Barber will discuss the response of the Commonwealth of Virginia on substance use issues.  Radford University’s Kate Brennan, associate professor of nursing, and Sheila Krajnik, assistant professor of occupational therapy, will open the conference and an expert panel including judiciary, health care, law enforcement and social service representatives will close the day-long session.  A key component of the conference will be several teamwork case studies exploring the ethics of substance abuse treatment, said Ely. 

Dr. William Rea will discuss the neurobehavioral aspects of addiction, Jonathan Martin, Psy. D., will present on motivational interviewing, Linda Hancock, Ph.D., and a nurse practitioner, will explore the psychology of substance abuse and Dr. David Hartman and Cheri Hartman, Ph.D., will share their extensive experience with the SBIRT model. 

“The conference will be an experiential learning exercise in using SBIRT and interprofessional collaboration – both research-based, best practices - in the clinical treatment of substance use,” Ely said. “Members of the community interested in reacting to the region’s serious substance use problem are welcome.”

Abuse of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs is a costly problem, exacting more than $600 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.  Related healthcare costs alone account for $137 billion. The SBIRT model calls for interprofessional, widespread and community-based screening for health risk behaviors. The SBIRT protocol has been in development for 10 years nationally.

Registration is ongoing and is $30. Professional continuing education credits can be earned by participation for an additional $15.  For more information, click here

Apr 25, 2017
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182