What screening tools are available for identifying drug and alcohol abuse/addiction?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a bureau within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They are responsible for improving the quality and availability of rehabilitation and treatment along with reducing the costs to society related to substance abuse and mental illness.
An organization's Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) carries out a screening process to determine if a problem with substance abuse is present and then performs an assessment to define the problem and assign a diagnosis.
SAMHSA suggests relevant screening tools for each area of mental illness as well as tools specific to substance abuse. The latter can be used by SAPs to determine whether substance abuse is applicable to an employee.
Screening tools that have been recommended by SAMHSA to identify drug and alcohol abuse/addiction and can be used in the workplace include:
- Computer-based tools from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH). These are designed to improve the availability and cost-effectiveness of assessments and interventions as compared to face-to-face tools
- The substance use screening and assessment instruments database. This can be used by clinicians and researchers to identify instruments used for substance use screening.
- SBIRT training for early intervention and treatment for those with substance abuse or who are at risk of developing it.
- The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). It's a 10-item questionnaire that screens for harmful alcohol consumption and can classify a person as an alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
- NIDAMED provides medical professionals with the tools needed to screen their patients for drug and alcohol use.
- CAGE AID is a quick, 5-question tool to determine whether a further assessment is needed.
- AUDIT-C is another fast tool with only three questions, that can either be used on its own or alongside other tests or personal history.
- The Drug Abuse Screen Test is a 10-item yes/no tool for clinical screening and treatment evaluation.
Additional drug screening tools are available for use in the workplace, outside those recommended by SAMHSA. These include:
- Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST). Like AUDIT, this was developed by the WHO to detect and manage problems with substance use in medical care settings.
- Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST) which is comprised of instrument tests to discover the consequences of substance abuse.
- TWEAK, a screening test to identify risky drinking habits.
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