The ASSIST project - Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test
There is substantial evidence for the benefits of screening and brief intervention in primary health care for alcohol problems. However, there is a need for screening and brief interventions with cross-cultural relevance for substances other than alcohol or tobacco, such as cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine and opiates.
The Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) was developed for the World Health Organization (WHO) by an international group of substance abuse researchers to detect and manage substance use and related problems in primary and general medical care settings. Primary health care professionals are well-positioned to provide interventions targeted to all substances irrespective of their legal status
The ASSIST has undergone significant testing in three sequential phases (I, II and III) to ensure that it is feasible, reliable, valid, flexible, comprehensive and cross-culturally relevant, and able to be linked to brief interventions. ASSIST is currently in its fourth Phase aimed at world wide dissemination. See more information about the four phases in the right column.
The ASSIST screening test
The ASSIST package is developed to help the primary health professionals to detect and manage substance use and related problems in primary and general medical care settings.
The package includes three different manuals:
The Alcohol, Smoking and Substance involvement Screening Test (ASSIST): manual for use in primary care
The ASSIST-linked brief intervention for hazardous and harmful substance use: a manual for use in primary care
Self-help strategies for cutting down or stopping substance use: a guide
The three different manuals in Spanish:
La prueba de detección de consumo de alcohol, tabaco y sustancias (ASSIST): Manual para uso en la atención primaria
Intervención breve vinculada a ASSIST para el consumo riesgoso y nocivo de sustancias: Manual para uso en la atención primaria
Estrategias de Autoayuda para reducir o eliminar el consumo de sustancias: Una guía
ASSIST training resources
- DVD and manual targeted at nurses to provide a step-by-step approach on how to administer the ASSIST and provide an effective brief intervention in a primary health care setting
WHO ASSIST Working Group (2002). The Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST): development, reliability and feasibility. Addiction, 97 (9): 1183-1194.
Humeniuk RE, Ali RA, Babor TF, Farrell M, Formigoni ML, Jittiwutikarn J, Boerngen de Larcerda R, Ling W, Marsden J, Monteiro M, Nhiwhatiwa S, Pal H, Poznyak V & Simon S (2008). Validation of the Alcohol Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST). Addiction 103(6): 1039-1047
Validation of the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) and Pilot Brief Intervention: A Technical Report of Phase II Findings of the WHO ASSIST Project
The Effectiveness of a Brief Intervention for Illicit Drugs Linked to the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) in Primary Health Care Settings: A Technical Report of Phase III Findings of the WHO ASSIST Randomized Controlled Trial