Screening Tools for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)


Why Should Patients Be Screened?

Screening allows healthcare providers to initiate conversations with patients regarding their alcohol and drug use and provide early interventions if needed.1 Screening may take approximately 5 to 10 minutes to complete and can help identify specific behaviors that may be preconditional to substance abuse.


Who Should Be Screened?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends healthcare professionals screen all patients for OUD at least annually.2 SAMHSA supports use of the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model.1,3


What Is SBIRT and Why Use It?

SBIRT is an evidence-based model designed to help reduce and prevent risky alcohol and drug use.1-3

  • Screening: allows identification of patients who may have a substance abuse problem
  • Brief Intervention: helps to increase a patient’s awareness of substance abuse and work towards changing behavioral patterns
  • Referral to Treatment: patients requiring more intensive treatment are referred to an appropriate treatment program

The SBIRT model increases the number of patients who receive specialized treatment, reduces hospital visits, and decreases healthcare costs.3


Selecting an Intervention

Universal screening with a validated tool can help prescribers identify a patient's risk for substance use disorder and offer an appropriate intervention.1

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SBIRT Resources

Technical Assistance Publication Series (TAP 33)

Chapter 3 provides guidance on implementing the SBIRT model.


Summary

OUD remains a national health crisis affecting millions of Americans. The SBIRT model can play a key role in reducing and preventing risky alcohol and drug use. Many screening tools are available to help identify patients with substance use disorder and determine an appropriate course of action.



  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Systems-level implementation of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2013. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4741. Technical Assistance Publication (TAP) Series 33. May 2013. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma13-4741.pdf
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Medications for opioid use disorder. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2020. Publication No. PEP20-02-01-006. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 63. May 2020. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/SAMHSA_Digital_Download/PEP20-02-01-006_508.pdf
  3. Screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT). National Council for Behavioral Health. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/topics/screening-brief-intervention-referral-treatment-sbirt/
  4. Screening and assessment tools chart. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Updated March 23, 2021. Accessed April 29, 2021. https://www.drugabuse.gov/nidamed-medical-health-professionals/screening-tools-resources/chart-screening-tools
  5. Tobacco, alcohol, prescription medication, and other substances use tool. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://www.drugabuse.gov/taps/#/
  6. Resource guide: screening for drug use in general medical settings. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Updated March 1, 2012. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://archives.drugabuse.gov/publications/resource-guide-screening-drug-use-in-general-medical-settings/nida-quick-screen
  7. CAGE-AID substance abuse screening tool. Pedagogy Online Learning Systems. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://www.pedagogyeducation.com/PedagogyEducation/media/Resources/Posters/CAGE-AID-Questionnaire.pdf
  8. Drug abuse screening test (DAST-20). European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/attachements.cfm/att_61480_EN_DAST%202008.pdf


Prepared by:

Hamzah Farooq, PharmD
Student Pharmacist
University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy

Sonia Shah, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist, Academic Detailer
University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy

Liana Osis, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist, Academic Detailer
University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy

The information presented is current as of October 2021. This information is intended as an educational piece and should not be used as the sole source for clinical decision making.