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ASSIST (Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test)

The World Health Organization (WHO) Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) is a questionnaire that screens for all levels of problem or risky substance use in adults. The ASSIST (V3.1 or V3.0) consists of eight questions covering tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants (including ecstasy) inhalants, sedatives, hallucinogens, opioids and 'other drugs'. A risk score is provided for each substance, and scores are grouped into 'low risk', 'moderate risk' or 'high risk'. The risk score determines the level of intervention recommended ('treatment as usual', 'brief intervention' or 'brief intervention plus referral to specialist treatment').

The pencil and paper ASSIST questionnaire V3.1 (PDF 105KB) takes around seven to 10 minutes to administer. The eASSIST takes around five minutes to administer.

The resulting scores are recorded on the ASSIST Feedback Report card (PDF 27KB) and are used to provide feedback to clients about their substance use and associated risks as part of the linked Brief Intervention. The brief intervention can be delivered in as few as three minutes by following the Ten-Steps (PDF 27KB). The brief intervention is consolidated by giving clients the booklet Self-Help strategies for cutting down or stopping substance use: A guide.

  • The WHO ASSIST Project Fact Sheet (PDF 23KB)
  • eASSIST. Use this link to administer the ASSIST from your computer. Instructions and links to the relevant forms and resources are provided. Scores can be printed or saved to client's casenotes.

Clinical forms and client materials

Self-training resources for clinicians

Instructional video clips

How to administer the ASSIST and linked Brief Intervention.

Print this completed ASSIST Questionnaire prior to watching the ASSIST Demonstration DVD.

Training

Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA) offers a supported e-learning program designed for Australian health workers. There are several options for self-training, either as an individual or as a group. The individual self-training has two components, depending on how you intend to use the ASSIST with your clients - via the pencil and paper version, or the electronic version eASSIST.

The individual self-training can be completed in your own time and is not assessed, however, an expert is available to help you with queries. The group training can be done with your colleagues and a facilitator, and you can work through the same self-training documents as a team. The facilitator needs to read the below instructions, and prepare the training session accordingly.

All methods of training use some or all of the self-training resources listed above.

For support with ASSIST training email: dassapolicy@health.sa.gov.au

Instructions for self-training:

The University of Adelaide also offers online training for ASSIST and linked Brief Intervention and/or to train others to use the ASSIST and linked Brief Intervention. The University of Adelaide training has been designed for health care workers in the Asia Pacific, but is also available for Australian clinicians. It takes approximately 10 hours to complete self-training, and 20 hours to complete ‘train the trainer’. You need to register for training and you are assessed on your knowledge during the learning process, however the training can be done in your own time. Click on the link above or go to http://assistportal.com.au/.

 

Administering the ASSIST to young people (ASSIST-Y)

The ASSIST V3.1 has not been validated for use in people under 18 years of age.

Cut-off scores to denote the passage from low to moderate risk, and moderate to high risk, have been determined for an adult population. They are not appropriate for young people whose brains and bodies are still in the process of growth and development, and who have limited life experience compared with adults.

Recently DASSA developed the ASSIST-Y, under the guidance of the World Health Organization and using expert clinical consensus and the best evidence to date. There is an ASSIST-Y questionnaire and ASSIST Feedback Report card for 10 to 14 year olds, and another for 15 to 17 year olds. Clinical instructions for providing the appropriate intervention have also been developed. Please be aware they are draft versions. The ASSIST-Y and associated materials are currently being tested for face-validity, but have not had extensive psychometric testing. We would like to get feedback from any clinicians using the ASSIST-Y and associated resources, based on the attached list of evaluation questions (PDF 33KB).

Please email your feedback to: dassapolicy@health.sa.gov.au

Research publications

Research publications

 

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