Assessment of Students Support Services Centre Approach to Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment of Substance Abuse Management in a Private Institution of Higher Learning

  •  Okondu Ogechukwu Emmanuel    
  •  Lazarus Phebe Victoria    
  •  Okondu Emmanuel Confidence    
  •  Khadija Abubakar    
  •  Banjo Oluwafikayomi Opeyemi    
  •  Ikonta Peter C    
  •  Chigeru Chinyere Florence    
  •  Iloma Unwobuesor Richard    
  •  Okafor Ukamaka Gladys    


Substance abuse among young adults is a major public health issue which can cause significant damage to their mental health. The screening, brief, interventions and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a public health prevention tool used in identifying persons at risk of substance use and abuse. This study assessed the approach to screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment of substance abuse management in a higher institution of learning. The study adopted a qualitative key informant’s interviewer assessment method. Key informants from the Student Support Service (SSS) Centre were interviewed to assess the SBIRT management approach of substance abuse in a university setting. The interview guide had a total of 5 themes with 8 questions and 14 follow-up questions. Interviews and observation of key informants was used to obtain research information. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis. This study revealed that the study population utilized reliable drug tests, students’ performance, behavior and appearance of the students as an approach to screening students for substance abuse. Management was dependent on level of risk of the student determined from the screening process. Substance use disorders varying from moderate to high risk were given counselling therapy; patients with severe risk dependency were referred to specialty treatment (rehabilitation) for further treatment. The SBIRT approach in the treatment of students at risk of substance abuse have been found to be useful. There are however challenges with students complying to treatment which needs to be addressed.

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