We have tools to support each interaction level as well as assessment tools, templates and best practice guidelines. Click on the titles below to access resources:
- The Substances and Choices Scale SACS
- SACS ABC
- Targeted Screening tools for mental health, addiction and gambling
- Brief Assessment tools
- Comprehensive Assessment Templates
- Best Practice guidelines
Screening and/or assessment are usually the ‘first contact’ a young person and their family/whānau may have with services. It is often the most important and effective intervention practitioners will provide.
There are three levels of first interaction that can be utilised with young people depending on their presentation, the services they present too and the time and skills/knowledge available.
Screening: Substances And Choices Scale (SACS) and more
Screening usually involves administering a brief questionnaire. The object of screening is to identify potential areas for further assessment. It is often the starting point of further work and should be a key part of an enhanced response for young people presenting with mental health and addiction issues.
Full Screening and brief intervention: The Substances And Choices Scale (SACS)
The Substances and Choices Scale (SACS) was developed in New Zealand and validated for use with adolescents aged 13-18 years. SACS records the number of times a substance has been used over the previous month and rates substance use related symptoms and harm. It is a short, freely available questionnaire which takes about 5 minutes to complete, and has high acceptability, validity and reliability.
The scale and an accompanying Clinician Guide are both freely available here, which provides information about how to score and interpret the SACS:
The scale is available here: SACS Clinical Questionnaire
The scale has also now been expanded into a brief intervention process (left), the manual and scale of which is also freely available here: Substances and Choices Scale (pdf)
During the development of the SACS, the consultation process found that some agencies and clinicians may be deterred from using it on account of the perception that being exposed to the names of potential illicit substances might increase a young people's interest in drugs.
To address this concern, a community version of SACS that lists a limited number of substances was created. The clinical and community version of the SACS differ only in terms of the content of Section A. The SACS difficulties score (Section B) is the same in both versions thus the psychometric properties of each version are the same.
We also have a desktop flowchart that provides a quick reference to the SACS intervention available. It provides a flowchart (below) of the SACS ABC scoring system, as well as intervention tips and Harm Reduction strategies
SACS ABC Video Guide
This video is a demonstration of an AOD worker utilising the SACS Brief Intervention with a young person. This clip illustrates how to utilise the SACS Brief Intervention tool. It should be watched in conjunction with the resources and information available here.
- Alcohol, Smoking Substance Involvement Screening Test (Assist) for Youth
The ASSIT is for youth aged 15-17 years. This is a six item screen for all types of substance use, accompanied by guidelines for feedback and brief intervention.
- Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT - Drinkcheck)
The AUDIT screens for problematic alcohol consumption and consists of 10 items. It can be used to further evaluate young people with alcohol problem
Smoking / Nicotine
- EIGHT Screen Youth
The Early Intervention Gambling Health Test-Youth (EIGHT Screen-Y) is an adapted version of an adult problem gambling screening test.
Brief and/or Comprehensive Assessments may be carried out in different ways, depending on the setting and available resources. Assessment forms or formats which prompt clinicians conducting an assessment to obtain information under specific categories, can be useful in terms of providing a worker with reminders and ensuring no omissions.
When time and resources are limited, or even when they are not, we highly recommend Werry Workforce Whāraurau's HEEADSSS tool.
The HEEADSS Assessment Tool
Assessment Record Templates
Matua Raḵi has developed the Mental Health and Addiction Screening and Assessment guideline to promote a standardised approach to screening and comprehensive assessment processes in primary and secondary mental health and addiction services.
This resource helps promote a common understanding and operating language with regard to mental health and addiction screening and comprehensive assessment.
Matua Raḵi Guidelines: Preparing External Agencies Reports
The guidelines also provide guidance on preparing reports for external agencies.