Screening Tools for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

Screening Patients

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.1,2 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 the severity of drug and alcohol use, and decreases healthcare costs.3

Validated Screening Tools

The following table includes validated screening tools for identifying substance use disorders.4-7

Screening tools for OUD3.png

Adapted from the NIDA Screening and Assessment Tools Chart

For detailed information on each screening tool, click the links below.

Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription medication, and other Substance Use (TAPS)

Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-Opener Questions Adapted to Include Drugs (CAGE-AID)

Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST-10, DAST-20)

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


SBIRT Resources

Technical Assistance Publication Series (TAP 33)

Chapter 3 provides guidance on implementing the SBIRT model.


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 August 9, 2022.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Medications for opioid use disorder. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; 2018. Publication No. PEP21-02-01-002. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 63. May 2021. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  3. The Medicare Learning Network. SBIRT services. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. January 2022. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  4. Screening and assessment tools chart. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Updated March 21, 2022. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  5. Tobacco, alcohol, prescription medication, and other substance use tool. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  6. CAGE-AID substance abuse screening tool. Pedagogy Online Learning Systems. Accessed August 9, 2022.
  7. Skinner, H. Guide for using the drug abuse screening test (DAST). The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Updated 2019. Accessed August 9, 2022.

Prepared by:

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 August 11, 2022. This information is intended as an educational piece and should not be used as the sole source for clinical decision making.