Management of substance abuse

The WHO ASSIST Phase IV(2008-2011)

The WHO ASSIST Phase IV project is aimed at developing effective and sustainable models of ASSIST-based interventions which are capable of producing tangible benefits to public health and social welfare.

The project has the following objectives:

  • To support implementation and evaluation of ASSIST-based interventions in a wide variety of countries, language groups, health care systems and social care settings.
  • To compare different models of implementation of ASSIST-based interventions in health care systems.
  • To develop further WHO ASSIST package in order to facilitate integration of screening, brief interventions and referral procedures for psychoactive substance use and related disorders into health care and social services
  • Identify ways and models of implementation and dissemination of ASSIST-based interventions in health care and social welfare systems
  • Further development of the WHO ASSIST package
  • Strengthening evidence base for ASSIST-based interventions

The project main components are:

  • Dissemination, implementation and evaluation of ASSIST-based interventions in different settings and contexts

The additional components are:

  • Development supporting training packages
  • Further development of the WHO ASSIST screening instrument
  • Brief version
  • Revised paper and pencil version
  • Self-administered pen and pencil version
  • Computerized version
  • Web-based version
  • Testing and, if necessary, adaptation to different settings and populations
  • Different language versions
  • Research: strengthening evidence base for ASSIST-based interventions
  • International dissemination of ASSIST-based interventions

The potential settings and context in which to disseminate, implement and evaluate ASSIST-based interventions are:

  • Primary health care
  • STI clinics (outpatient)
  • HIV programs
  • Student health services (above legal age)
  • Mental health services
  • Programs of opioids agonist treatment for opioid dependence
  • Other services for substance use disorders
  • Social welfare system
  • Criminal justice system (e.g. in prisons, community-based correctional services)
  • Emergency rooms and trauma centers

The project requirements for dissemination and implementation are:

  • Pre-implementation assessment to define:
  • Readiness
  • Settings
  • Assessment of prevalence of substance use
  • Implementation team
  • Partners and alliance building
  • Required resources
  • Technical support from consultants as appropriate
  • Development of Phase IV implementation plan in each site
  • Review of the plan by the WHO ASSIST Phase IV Steering Committee
  • Support from WHO and other sources
  • Training
  • Implementation
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The ASSIST project

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.

ASSIST project phases:

Phase I (1997-1999)

Planning and ASSIST development.
International feasibility and reliability study of the ASSIST.

Phase II (2000-2002)

International validity study of the ASSIST.
Feasibility study of brief interventions linked to the ASSIST.

Phase III (2002-2007

International study of effectiveness of a brief intervention linked to the ASSIST (randomized controlled trial).

Phase IV (2008-2011)

Development of effective and sustainable models of ASSIST-based interventions. Dissemination, implementation and evaluation of ASSIST-based interventions in different settings and contexts.