What are the Drug & Alcohol Assessment Screening Tools?

During our drug and alcohol evaluations we use tools based upon a standard known as ‘evidence-based.’ This means the screening tools we use as we perform an alcohol and drug assessment must rest upon scientific research and proven evidence, not anecdotal declarations or theory.

Your future is too important for us to inject our personal opinion into the evaluation process. There must be data to support our conclusions.

NIDA Drug Screening Tools

NIDA created this drug screening tool to help the medical field:

  • “Identify drug use early and prevent the escalation to addiction.”
  • “Increase awareness of the interaction of substance use with a patient’s medical care, including potentially fatal drug interactions.”
  • “Identify patients in need and refer them to specialty treatment.”[i]

For us, it is primarily a tool that helps us spot early warning signs or recognize, based on hard data, that you need our help—whether you are able to recognize it or not.

The NIDA Quick Screen was adapted from “A Single-Question Screen for Drug Use in Primary Care” published in JAMA Internal Medicine by Smith et al. 2010[ii] and Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician’s Guide (Updated 2005 Edition), published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.[iii] NIDA-Modified ASSIST (NM ASSIST) is adapted from the third version of the World Health Organization’s Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST).


Audit is another evidence-based drug and alcohol assessment tool developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). It asks only 10 simple questions. This is an important part of our alcohol assessment.[iv]


This evidence-based test focuses only upon drug use. This test addresses the use of both prescription and over-the-counter meds, and the use of controlled substances. It is also another 10-question screening tool used during drug assessments.[v]


This is a behavioral health screening tool developed just for teens and adults under 21. It consists of just six questions. They are very effective for identifying at-risk teens and young adults.[vi]

These are the primary tools we work with as we conduct alcohol and drug assessments.

Why We Use These Tools

Because they are standardized, research-backed tools, they help us screen your answers objectively. They are time-tested and scientifically proven, thus we believe they provide the best foundation for guiding you to appropriate treatment options if there is reason for concern.

[i] https://www.drugabuse.gov/nmassist/?q=nida_questionnaire

[ii] http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/225770

[iii] http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Practitioner/CliniciansGuide2005/clinicians_guide.htm

[iv] https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/files/AUDIT.pdf

[v] https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/files/DAST-10.pdf

[vi] http://www.ceasar-boston.org/CRAFFT/selfCRAFFT.php