People with mental health and substance abuse problems remain untreated for a variety of reasons. A major reason is being undiagnosed. But early identification through routine screenings within primary and other healthcare settings can lead to early intervention. Screening and brief intervention in primary care can promote significant reductions in alcohol and substance use. Additionally, other physical health, emotional, and interpersonal problems associated with substance abuse can also be addressed once identified.
There are hundreds of screening instruments available to aid clinicians and others in identifying patients with alcohol and substance abuse problems. Indian Health Service recommends the following tools for alcohol screening:
- Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT)
- Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test - C (AUDIT-C)
- CRAFFT (for children and youth under 21 years old)
- CAGE (a four-item assessment test)
Various screening tools are available on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Center for Integrated Health Solutions screening tools webpage.
The National Institute of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists tools and links to these tools designed to be used with adults and youth on their Evidence-Based Screening Tools for Adults and Adolescents page.