WHO ASSIST Test for Substance Use Disorder Testing

Description of the ASSIST Substance Use Disorder Test

The selected substance use disorder test is the NIDA modified ASSIST (NM-ASSIST).  This is the World Health Organization (WHO) enhanced Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) for recognizing substance use disorders. The screen focuses on patient screening for drug abuse and not full assessment. This test asks about the use of opioids, cannabis, hallucinogens, cocaine, sedatives, stimulants, and inhalants among other drugs in the past three months and lifetime. It also probes drug dependence symptoms. A substance involved (SI) score for every drug is computed and the results are used to categorize respondents into high risk (SI score 27 and above), moderate-risk (SI score 4 to 26, and low-risk (SI score 0 to 3), for use of drug according to the history of the past three months (Coleman-Cowger et al., 2018).

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Why The Selected Test is used?

NM-ASSIST is normally selected since it is a validated instrument structured to help providers in assessing substance use among adults. It is simple to administer as it is in a form of a questionnaire with moderated and simple questions. It is also selected as it screens for all degrees of issues or risky substance use among adults. The tool directs clinicians via a series of questions to recognize the risky use of the substance in their adult patients. The complementary resources help clinicians in offering patient feedback and organizing specialty care where required, by the use of 5As intervention(WHO ASSIST Working Group, 2002).

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How the World Health Organization (WHO) enhanced Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) Test is administered?

The NM-ASSIST is a self-administered or interview-based drug use assessment tool that takes about 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The test is administered to individuals of majority age; 18 years and above. The participants are required to answer questions in the questionnaire that indicate their drug use trend in the last three months. The test is normally administered together with the NIDA Quick Screen that assesses the drug use for the past year. Normally, if a participant gives a negative response to NIDA Quick Screen, the screening is terminated. However, if the Quick Screen response is positive, an NM-ASSIST is administered. The NM-ASSIST inquiries about the past 3 months and lifetime drug use. It inquires about problematic drug use or substance use routine that would qualify as a drug use disorder. The test can be administered physically by use of a pen and paper or electronically through the e-ASSIST (WHO ASSIST Working Group, 2002).

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How the Test Results are Interpreted and Used in Diagnosis and Treatment

The test results are categorized into three main groups based on the risk of developing drug use disorder. The three groups include low for those who score 0 to 3, moderate for those who score 4 to 26, and high for those who score 27 and above. The results are used to determine the patients that need drug abuse treatment attention while undergoing other forms of treatment as it is mostly used to assess drug use among a group of patients. For instance, it can be used to measure the use of drugs or substances among pregnant women or any other group of patients. Those at high score risk are enrolled in drug treatment programs, after conducting hair or urine test to determine the content of the drug in the system. Those at the moderate level are also given assistance based on their drug level, while those at low scores are ignored or cautioned about the negative effects of using these drugs (Coleman-Cowger et al., 2018).

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