Author: Scarlett Baker, AA

Scarlett is The SASSI Institute's Project Director and Director of Training Services.

SYM Scale FAQ

A frequent question we get is regarding the web-based version of the SASSI-4 and how to identify the SYM (Symptoms) scale items on a client’s completed questionnaire. Because the SYM items are face valid they can give you information concerning the client’s substance use and it may be worthwhile to do a content analysis of the SYM items as they directly relate to substance use.

While logged into your sassionline.com account, click on the tab ‘My Clients’ and then click on ‘Support Materials.’ On the Support Materials page click on ‘SASSI-4 User Guide.’ Go to page 19 for the information on SYM. There you will see the 20 SYM items listed. We suggest you print this page out to assist in identifying the SYM items on your clients’ completed questionnaires.

As always, we encourage you to call our free clinical help line for interpretation assistance at 800.726.0526 Option 2.

Across the Pond and Beyond

Did you know that SASSI screening tools are available for use and are obtainable through our international distributors? If you are in, or have friends/colleagues in the UK, Australia, or Greece, please take note of our licensed distributors there for affordable access to SASSI screening tools.

In the UK, the paper & pencil version of the adult SASSI-4 and adolescent SASSI-A3 is available through SASSI Direct Ltd. For ordering information please email sassi@sassidirect.co.uk.

In Australia, the paper & pencil version of the adult SASSI-4 and adolescent SASSI-A3 is available through The Help Now Group. Since purchasing the web-based version of the SASSI through SASSI Online can be challenging for our Australian colleagues due to issues with credit card processing, access and administrations of the web-based version can also be purchased through The Help Now Group. For ordering information please email rodney@thehelpnow.org.

In Greece, a reliable and validated version of the translated adult SASSI-3 in Greek is available through Panagiota Kontoleon. For ordering information please email panagiota@kontoleon.com.gr.

We are pleased that these distributors are working with us to promote screening for those individuals suffering from substance use-related issues and disorders.

Last Clinical Q&A Until Summer | Register Now!

We wanted to welcome you to join us for a free one-hour online SASSI Q&A session hosted by our Clinical Director, Kristin Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC. This will be our last free Q&A session until Summer.

The Q&A is scheduled from Noon-1pm ET on: April 16th. You can save your spot by clicking here. We welcome you to share profiles to discuss with the group by sending them (de-identified) via email any time prior to the session to scarlett@sassi.com. These profiles will help others learn about the SASSI and offer insight into the various profile configurations.

Note: Q&A sessions do not provide CEUs and are not a substitute for SASSI Training.

In-Person SASSI Trainings

Happy Spring! Our certified SASSI trainers have been busy doing live in-person training this year and would like to hear from you about the need in your local area for this service. Please visit the training page on our website to view a list of currently scheduled workshops at www.sassi.com/sassi-training. If nothing is scheduled in your area, please reach out directly to the trainer so they know there is interest in their area, and they can plan accordingly. They are also happy to schedule private in-person training for your agency/organization.

Reminder: Our clinical team is available M-F to answer questions about the administration, scoring, and interpretation of our instruments at 800.726.0526 option 2. This is a free service, and we encourage you to call often.

Another Public Health Threat: The Extensive Use of Bromazolam

We recently published a commentary in Public Health Open Journal regarding Bromazolam (fake Xanax) use. It is increasingly being found in the illicit drug supply, mixed with other drugs like fentanyl and heroin, among others. Within the commentary, we examine the current state of the science as it pertains to the public health dangers of Bromazolam and its various illicit distribution networks, not only in North America but across the world. We also examine possible directions the substance use disorder (SUD) field may undertake to address the proliferation and abuse of this substance along with overdose prevention efforts that include the public health dangers of Bromazolam use. 

We invite you to download this free commentary to read and share with your friends, family, and colleagues. 

Yet Another Public Health Threat: A Commentary and Examination of the Extensive Use of Bromazolam  

Upcoming Clinical Q&A and Live Online SASSI Training | Register Now!

We wanted to remind you about our free one-hour online SASSI Q&A sessions hosted by our Clinical Director, Kristin Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC.

We love hearing about how you are using the SASSI and answering your questions about our screening tools. We currently have three more FREE Q&As scheduled from Noon-1pm ET on: February 13th, March 12th, & April 16th. You can save your spot by clicking here. We welcome you to share profiles to discuss with the group, please send them (de-identified) via email any time prior to the session to scarlett@sassi.com. These profiles help others learn about the SASSI and offer insight into the various profile configurations. If you are a SASSI Online (www.sassionline.com) user, we have a LIVE certified SASSI training webinar for Session 1: Administration & Scoring of the web-based version of the SASSI scheduled for February 6th and Session 2: Clinical Interpretation on February 20th. Each session is 9am-1:30pm ET and costs only $60 USD per session. You can register by clicking here.

Note that the Q&A sessions do not provide CEUs and are not a substitute for SASSI Training. SASSI training provides 3.5 NAADAC CEUs per session or you can choose 3.5 TCBAP (for Texas professionals) or CACCF (for Canada professionals) CEUs.

Upcoming Clinical Q&A | Register Now!

We wanted to let you know that we are still offering our free one-hour online Clinical Q&A sessions hosted by our Clinical Director, Kristin Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC.

We enjoy hearing how you are using the SASSI in your clinical practice and agencies as well as answering your questions. We currently have three more free Q&As coming up this year. You can reserve your spot and view available dates and times by clicking here. If you have profiles you would like to share with the group for discussion, please send them (de-identified) via email any time prior to the session to scarlett@sassi.com. Your contributions would be of great value.

Also, a reminder that we have a live certified SASSI training webinar on Administration & Scoring of the paper & pencil version of the SASSI on November 28th and Clinical Interpretation on December 5th. You can register by clicking here.

Note that the Q&A sessions do not provide CEUs and are not a substitute for SASSI Training. SASSI training provides 3.5 NAADAC CEs per session.

We hope to see you there!

Xylazine: The Real Deal

Xylazine is a significant drug used by veterinarians specializing in the care of large animals such as horses, cattle, and deer as it provides needed pain relief. Despite this usefulness, as often happens with legal drug supplies, illicit uses become commonplace and result in unintended consequences—in this case, devastating ones. In our new peer reviewed article we examine the current state of the science as pertains to xylazine and the various uses of the illicit supply line, as well as exploring possible answers to directions the substance use disorder field may have at their disposal to address this ever-mounting set of calamitous circumstances. In addition, we provide possible directions on what next steps may be appropriate to address these multiple dangers.

We invite you to read and share the paper with your colleagues.

The Real Deal: A Commentary and Examination of Xylazine Use and Unintended Consequences

The Skeptical Inquirer’s New Editor and Investigating Pop Psychology

We would like to congratulate Stephen Hupp, PhD, co-developer of the Behaviors & Attitudes Drinking & Driving Scale – BADDS, on his recent appointment as Editor of the skeptically themed print publication Skeptical Inquirer Magazine.

Dr. Hupp has been a long-time reader and contributor to the magazine and his most recent contribution is a FREE presentation “Investigating Pop Psychology: Pseudoscience, Fringe Science, and Controversies.” Science-based advances in the field of psychology continue to grow at an impressive rate; however, even more claims in psychology have little-to-no research support. What does it mean for a mental health treatment to be considered “evidence-based” and “science-based”—and how can you tell the difference? In the presentation, Dr. Hupp offers recommendations for how to resist false claims and avoid the pseudoscience of pop psychology, and he speaks to a wide range of topics such as phrenology, extrasensory perception, dream interpretation, learning styles, brain training, energy psychology, and the role of alternative medicine in the field of mental health. The presentation also includes contributions from several fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and several other prominent skeptical scholars.

If you would like to learn more about the magazine, we encourage you to watch an interview conducted with Dr. Hupp by Rob Palmer, an online columnist with the Skeptical Inquirer: “Introducing Skeptical Inquirer’s New Editor: A Conversation with Stephen Hupp.” You will get Dr. Hupp’s insights about being the new editor of the magazine, his thoughts on how the Skeptical Inquirer differs from other skeptical publications, and the story of how he got the job. The interview also includes his opinions about the accuracy of Wikipedia, the trend of print magazines slowly becoming obsolete, and the controversy surrounding the continued use of the term “skeptic.” You can subscribe to the print and digital magazine for less than $20 a year!

Hygiene and the Mental Health Conversation

Every quarter the Indiana Criminal Justice Association (ICJA) sends out its magazine publication “The Comment.” I am pleased to be a member of this association and our CEO, Dr. Nelson J. Tiburcio, is the southern region director for them.

While reading the March 2023 edition I came across an article that I was granted permission to share with SASSI blog subscribers. The article is titled: “Hygiene Indifference: The Symptom We Don’t Talk About” written by Ivory Smith, B.A., B.S. It discusses the connection between hygiene and mental health and contains tips for practicing hygiene during a mental health episode.

I hope you will find the content as valuable as I did and will share it with your colleagues and anyone who may find the tips helpful. You can download a copy of the article by clicking here.