Health care professionals often lack the time to informally interview clients about drug abuse. Also, informal interviews can tend to be unsystematic, making it difficult for a clinic to ensure that illicit drug use among all clients is being assessed.
In light of such issues, some primary care settings use questionnaires to assess for drug misuse, and typically administer the questionnaires as part of the intake process and/or as part of the client’s general history. These questionnaires range from one/two brief questions to a standardized instrument with formal scoring. To date, several relatively brief questionnaires have been developed and standardized for the screening of alcohol. However, there are few if any such instruments for the screening of illicit drugs.  An example of a screening instrument can be found in the “downloads” section to the right.