A qualified professional can determine the magnitude of a substance use disorder using various assessments. The most common assessments, though, are the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and the Patient Placement Criteria (PPC) offered by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.


The Addiction Severity Index Assessment 

The Addiction Severity Index is an interview-based assessment geared towards determining the extent of substance use. The evaluation aims first to understand the person and their life so they can know how much treatment they may need and what kind. 

The goal of an ASI is to provide an overview of the problems related to an individual’s substance use, rather than honing in on any single area. During the assessment, an administrator will address seven potential problem areas common to substance use: 

  • Medical status

  • Legal status 

  • Family or social status

  • Psychiatric status

  • Employment and support 

  • Drug use

  • Alcohol use


The Patient Placement Criteria Assessment 

In the 1980s, the American Society of Addiction Medicine devised the Patient Placement Criteria assessment. Since then, it has become the criteria for the recommendations of outcome-oriented and results-based treatment. Today, 30 states require PPC use. 

PPC addresses six life dimensions of an individual’s needs, strengths, assets, obstacles, and liabilities. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the six dimensions include:

  • Acute intoxication and/or withdrawal potential

  • Biomedical conditions and complications

  • Emotional, behavioral, or cognitive conditions and complications

  • Readiness to change

  • Relapse, continued use, or continued problem potential

  • Recovery and living environment, including people and places 

When administered by a professional, the results of ASI or PPC can provide guidelines for treatment, placement, or transfer of patients. To fully grasp the extent of substance use severity, use of at least one of these assessments is standard practice.