A federal program to head off substance abuse early is coming to the city of Trenton.

Pamela Hyde of the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says $7.5 million of $22 million will go to Trenton and New Jersey is one of three new states participating.

She says, "SAMSA welcomes Arizona, Iowa and New Jersey as new partners is the so-called, "SBIRT" program.

"SBIRT" stands for, "Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment."

The goal of the program is to deliver early intervention and treatment services in traditional healthcare settings to people with, or at risk of developing, substance use disorders.

Hyde says it helps expand and enhance the state continuity of care for substance misuse, prevention and treatment services.

Healthcare providers using SBIRT screen patients by asking patients about their substance use during routine medical visits.

They provide medical advice and, if appropriate, refer patients who are deemed to be at risk of substance use problems to treatment. In this way, SBIRT helps identify people with underlying substance abuse problems that might otherwise go unnoticed and untreated, then puts them on the road to recovery before their drug use becomes a life-threatening or criminal justice issue.

The program has been very successful in many other states in helping turn at-risk drug users away from long-term abuse problems.