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Developed by South Africa ITTC

Published on 3/31/2023

The Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) ( makes use of risk categories determined by screening scores to help determine the ideal intervention strategy.  This tool was developed by WHO as a paper-based tool which requires that providers who will administer the tool receive appropriate training and supervision to correctly calculate the risk score based on responses from the patient/client and to then provide the appropriate level of intervention. The Web App ASSIST was developed initially by ITTC as part of a collaboration with Department of Correctional Service.  The collaborative project sought to characterize the extent and nature of harmful substance use within the prison population amongst inmates at three levels: admission units, incarcerated inmates and prerelease stage, and to then enable access to detection and intervention for the prison population using the evidence-based principles of Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).  The paper-based tool was initially used.  However, during piloting activities logistical factors proved prohibitive.  These included challenges with the courier process to enable paper-based tools to reach UCT from around the country for capturing, capturing errors, and data cleaning challenges.  The Web App ASSIST was thus developed to mitigate these logistical challenges and create a seamless real-time strategy for data collection and analysis. Once development was underway it became clear that the utility of the tool was broader and met the requirements outlined in the NDMP for fostering intersectoral and interdepartmental collaboration and synergy of data collection.  Subsequently additional utility was cleated for the tool to enable health and social practitioners to administer the tool with their clients and for members of the public to take their own well-being into their own hands through self-screening.  The tool is usable regardless of where one is in the world.


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