The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) – Addiction Assessment Tool Evaluation

Evaluating Addictions Assessment Tools

Addictions professionals can choose from many types of addition assesment tools. Addictions assessment are divided into screening and assessment tools. Addictions screening tools are meant to determine if an addiction might be a possibility; they are not intended to diagnose. Addictions professionals use them to gain a basic idea of an individual’s orientation to an addiction. Addictions assessment tools are typically geared toward detecting dependence on or addiction to a specific, identified substance or behavior. These tools are broader in scope and often take special training and considerable time to administer.

The difficulty often is not in finding a tool to use with a client, but rather in choosing the most effective and appropriate tool from a wide variety. Though choices of screening and assessment tools is often made by the organization in which an addictions professional works, many considerations including cost, time to administer, training, and accuracy enter into the selection of the right test for each individual with a potential substance or process addiction. Thus, it is important that addictions professionals be familiar with the tools available to them and understands the effectiveness of these tools in assessing what they are intended to assess.

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In this Assignment, you select one assessment tool from several well-known addictions assessment tools and research and provide an evaluation of its purpose, administration, and efficacy.

Assignment Directions:

Select one of the following assessment tools.

  • Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory-3
  • The Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test
  • The Addiction Severity Index

Research and select two articles of your choice on your chosen addictions assessment tool.

Write a 2- to 4-page critique of the addictions assessment tool you chose. Include the following:

  • Brief purpose of the assessment
  • Reliability of the assessment
  • Validity of the assessment
  • Type of normative data the assessment assesses
  • Time of administration
  • Cost
  • Reading level, if known
  • Any special administration considerations (e.g., need for a computer or special training)
  • Benefits and limitations
  • Overall utility of the test in an addictions assessment

The Addiction Severity Index (ASI)

The success of an addiction assessment process depends on the competency of the addiction professional and the choice of the assessment tool, among other factors. Owing to the availability of numerous addiction assessment tools, it is pertinent that an addiction professional to have appropriate knowledge regarding the tools (McLellan, Luborsky, O’Brien & Woody, 1980). Although the organizations often choose addiction assessment tools for specific disorders, having appropriate knowledge regarding the tools ensures that an effective assessment of a disorder is performed. The addiction severity index is a structured interview that is intended to assess several problem areas in substance abusing clients.

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The main purpose of the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) is to assess substance abuse, for example alcohol abuse (McLellan, Luborsky, O’Brien & Woody, 1980). The tool provides an assessment of other number of assessment areas, such as employment status, family relationships, legal problems, and psychiatric status (Carey, Cocco, & Correia, 1997). According to (Deady, 2009), the use of Addiction Severity Index (ASI) has yielded mixed results from different populations. However, (Carey, Cocco, & Correia, 1997) and (Deady, 2009) asserts that the tool has been found to have good inter-rater, split half, internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Moreover, the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) has been found to have good construct, content and criterion validity. The tool has been shown to have a varying internal consistency scales such as 0.89 for medical problems and 0.65 for employment problems (Carey, Cocco, & Correia, 1997) and (Deady, 2009).

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The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) has been used in treatment planning and evaluation (Deady, 2009). The tool typically assesses normative data based on two broad categories of the interviewer severity ratings and the composite scores. The interviewer severity ratings and composite scores include data on alcohol, drug, and employment, legal, family, medical and psychiatric status. The tool has been employed in various substance abusing populations such as pregnant women, incarcerated prisoners, psychiatric patients, and homeless people. Moreover, the studies have covered the abuse of substances such as the opiates, alcohol and cocaine.

The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) is administered by a technician and can provide data dating thirty days or even years in the course of substance abuse (Deady, 2009). The tool typically takes fifty minutes to one hour to administer. Although it requires one to be trained to administer the interview, there is a self-training packet. However, the tool is available in public domain for use at no cost but with the acknowledgement of the authors of the assessment tool.

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The administration of the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) does not demand any specialist training and can be administered by any trained drug treatment professionals and physicians who have been trained in the use of the tool (Deady, 2009). However, the tool requires high level of literacy and personal administration is strongly discouraged. Since the tool employs scoring techniques in the development of the ratings, a computer program has been developed to aid the process. The computer programme enables easy data input and processing. Moreover, the computer programme has eliminated errors that may occur in the data processing if manual scoring methods are employed.

The major benefit of Addiction Severity Index (ASI) is that it provides a measure of the other problem of alcohol and drug abuse in individuals (Carey, Cocco, & Correia, 1997) and (Deady, 2009). Unlike the normal clinical disorder assessment process, the use of Addiction Severity Index (ASI) enables the clinician to understand the effect of addiction in the social, financial and employment status among other effects. In addition, the tool offers higher reliability and validity across various adult subgroups. However, some researchers have found the tool is ineffective in assessment of other female-specific substance dependence, such as violence, care-giving and pregnancy-related issues.  The tool is widely used in many countries in addiction assessments owing to its high validity and reliability.

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