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NIDA Quick Screen

NIDA Quick Screen

What is NIDA-QS

The NIDA Quick Screen (NIDA-QS) is designed to assist clinicians serving adult patients in screening for drug use. It was adapted from a single-question screen for drug use in primary care by Smith et al. 2010 and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician's Guide Updated 2005 Edition.

NIDA-QS Printable PDF

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NIDA-QS Scoring and Interpretation

PsyPack can automatically score the NIDA-QS assessment and prepare corresponding tables and graphs.


Substance Use

What does NIDA-QS measure

The purpose of the evaluation is to:

  • identify drug use early and prevent the escalation to addiction,
  • increase awareness of the interaction of substance use with a patient's medical care, including potentially fatal drug interactions, and
  • identify patients in need and refer them to specialty treatment.



Type of outcome tool


Assessment modes


Age and eligibility

18 years and above

Estimated time

About 1 minute


Brief Intervention

Review results with patient, then:

  • Advise patient about drug use
  • Assess readiness to quit
  • Assist patient in making changes
  • Arrange treatment or follow-up care

Reminders to improve patient rapport:

  • Avoid tone that the patient might think is judgmental or confrontational.
  • Show an interest in what the patient's life is like.
  • Acknowledge the patient's current view of his/her drug use.
  • Signal to the patient that having mixed feelings about a drug use problem is normal.
  • Highlight patient confidentiality (and its limitations).


The screen is only one indicator of a patient's potential drug use problem. It is not a substitute for clinical judgement, which you should use to determine when an intervention is warranted.

Offer continuing support at follow-up visits.

  • Refer patients as appropriate.
  • Schedule follow-up.
  • Offer continuing support at follow-up.

Attribution and References

National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.