Nov 17, 2020  |   2 minute read

Drug Use | DAST-10

The Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST-10)

Recommended frequency: Every 4 weeks


The Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST-10) is a 10-item brief screening tool that can be administered by a clinician or self-administered. This tool assesses drug use, not including alcohol or tobacco use, in the past 12 months. Each question requires a yes or no response, and the tool can be completed in less than 8 minutes.

Psychometric Properties

The original DAST contained 28 items that were modelled after the widely used Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (Selzer, American Journal of Psychiatry, 1971). Two shortened versions of the DAST were devised using 20 items and 10 items that were good discriminators. The 20 item DATS correlated almost perfectly (r = .99) with the original. Moreover, the internal consistency reliability (alpha) was extremely high. The DAST-10 correlated very high (r = 0.98) with the DAST-20 and has excellent internal consistency reliability for such a brief scale (.92 across the total sample).

The DAST instruments (10, 20 and 28) tend to have moderate to high levels of test-retest, interitem, and item-total reliabilities. They also tend to have moderate to high levels of validity, sensitivity, and specificity. In general, all versions of the DAST yield satisfactory measures of reliability and validity for use as clinical or research tools.



The Scale

The following questions concern information about your potential involvement with drugs,  excluding alcohol and tobacco, during the past 4 weeks.

When the words “drug abuse” are used, they mean the use of prescribed or over‐the‐counter medications/drugs in excess of the directions and any non‐medical use of drugs. The various classes of drugs may include: cannabis (e.g., marijuana, hash), solvents, tranquilizers (e.g., Valium), barbiturates, cocaine, stimulants (e.g., speed), hallucinogens (e.g., LSD) or narcotics (e.g., heroin). Remember that the questions do not include alcohol or tobacco.

These questions refer to the past 4 weeks.

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In these statements, the term “drug abuse” refers to the use of medications at a level that exceeds the instructions, and/or any non‐medical use of drugs. Patients receive 1 point for every “yes” answer with the exception of question #3, for which a “no” answer receives 1 point.

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Copyright Information

Skinner, H. A. (1982). The Drug Abuse Screening Test. Addictive Behavior7(4),363–371.