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Keywords:

  • alcohol;
  • assessment;
  • dependence;
  • illicit drug;
  • substance misuse

Abstract

Issues

Health-care systems globally are moving away from process measures of performance to payments for outcomes achieved. It follows that there is a need for a selection of proven quality tools that are suitable for undertaking comprehensive assessments and outcomes assessments. This review aimed to identify and evaluate existing comprehensive assessment packages. The work is part of a national program in the UK, Collaborations in Leadership of Applied Health Research and Care.

Approach

Systematic searches were carried out across major databases to identify instruments designed to assess substance misuse. For those instruments identified, searches were carried out using the Cochrane Library, Embase, Ovid MEDLINE® and PsychINFO to identify articles reporting psychometric data.

Key Findings

From 595 instruments, six met the inclusion criteria: Addiction Severity Index; Chemical Use, Abuse and Dependence Scale; Form 90; Maudsley Addiction Profile; Measurements in the Addictions for Triage and Evaluation; and Substance Abuse Outcomes Module. The most common reasons for exclusion were that instruments were: (i) designed for a specific substance (239); (ii) not designed for use in addiction settings (136); (iii) not providing comprehensive assessment (89); and (iv) not suitable as an outcome measure (20).

Implications

The six packages are very different and suited to different uses. No package had adequate evaluation of their properties and so the emphasis should be on refining a small number of tools with very general application rather than creating new ones. An alternative to using ‘off-the-shelf’ packages is to create bespoke packages from well-validated, single-construct scales. [Sweetman J, Raistrick D, Mdege ND, Crosby H. A systematic review of substance misuse assessment packages. Drug Alcohol Rev 2013;32:347-355]