Frequently asked questions

How do I screen

AOD Screening Hints  (link)


Who is this site for?

Service providers, health and welfare professionals and researchers who require validated and reliable AOD screening or withdrawal tools applicable to Australian populations and settings. 

How can I find out more about a specific tool?

For each tool there is a companion overview document covering:

  • Purpose
  • Drug(s) of concern
  • Time-frame/observation period
  • Populations and settings with whom the tool has been tested, or regarded as suitable for
  • Diagnostics: utility and psychometric properties
  • Electronic tool format links
  • Administrator, rater, scoring and interpretation
  • Resources, e.g. tool citation, copyright, manual/training available, brief intervention (if appropriate)
  • Knowledge gaps: an assessment was made of knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research.

Which drugs can be screened for?

The following drug(s) of concern are included in the collection:



Which withdrawal drugs can be assessed/monitored?

Withdrawal from the following drugs can be assessed/monitored with tools included in the online collection:


What tool screens for more than one drug of concern?

Online collection tools that can screen for more than one specific drug of concern:

  • Alcohol, Smoking & Substance Involvement Screening Test - short form (ASSIST-Lite)
  • Alcohol, Smoking & Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST).

What tool screens for any drug use?

Tools that screen for any drug use (not identified):

  • Drug Abuse Screening Test-10 (DAST-10)
  • Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT)
  • Indigenous Risk Impact Screen (IRIS).

What tools are particularly suitable for administration to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?

  • The Indigenous Risk Impact Screen (IRIS) has been specifically designed and validated with Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The IRIS screens for any alcohol or other drug (not identified) risk; as well as mental health and emotional wellbeing risk.
  • The three item Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test AUDIT – Consumption (AUDIT-C), screens only for risky alcohol consumption. The AUDIT-C is a key performance measure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Services.

What tool(s) can screen for one drug in one patient, and another drug in a different patient?

The five item Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) can be administered to screen for problem/risky use of a number of substances. For each drug of concern, the SDS has designated cut-off scores, i.e.:

Drug of Concern




3 or more

Lawrinson, et al., 2007


5 or more

Topp & Mattick, 1997


5 or more

Grande, et al., 2009


7 or more

De Las Cuevas, et al., 2000


3 or more

Swift, Copeland & Hall, 1998


3 or more

Kaye & Darke, 2002


4 or more

Bruno, et al., 2009


5 or more

Castillo, et al., 2010; Gossop et al., 1995

Which tool can client/patient(s) use to asses their experiences of withdrawal?

The 16 item Subjective Opiate Withdrawal Scale (SOWS) is a client-reported assessment of the presence and intensity of opiate withdrawal symptoms.