Screening and brief intervention tools

Alcohol and other drug screening tools are sometimes used to identify people with early drug problems, and to facilitate referral to treatment services.

But screening can serve a broader purpose. When people are invited to reflect on their pattern of alcohol or other drug consumption and are provided with clear information about how to moderate their risk, a significant number will make positive changes without the need for more intensive, extensive and expensive healthcare services. 

Individuals can use self-administered screening tools to assess their own alcohol or other drug use. Or people working in various settings can offer screening as a "doorway to conversation" with students, patients, clients or community members.

Reality check

View our reality check info card.

Alcohol Reality Check: Use the online screening app to get personalized feedback related to your pattern of alcohol use as compared to Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. Or use the paper-based resources to assess your own use or to engage others in conversation about their use. This screen can be used by people of all ages.

Cannabis Reality Check: Use these paper-based resources to reflect on your own use or to engage others in conversation about their use. This screen, which takes into account Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, can be used by people of all ages.

Substance use and harms screen

This screen is designed for young people (up to age 24) who are using alcohol or other drugs. Rather than focusing on the use, it provides an opportunity to reflect on the potential impact of that use.

Art of motivation

This resource was designed to help school professionals engage in meaningful conversations with young people about their alcohol or other drug use. It applies the principles of motivational interviewing and incorporates screening as one tool among many that the professional (or any caring adult) can use to promote dialogue, reflection and action.

AME (awareness, motivation, engagement)

This resource for youth probation officers uses the principles of motivational interviewing to help correctional staff encourage positive behaviour change. Screening and other tools are offered as "doorways to conversation" rather than as assessment and accountability mechanisms. Reviews of the program have provided positive results.