Our Clinical Helpline is free to all customers using the SASSI or BADDS products.  Simply call 800.726.0526 option 2, Monday through Friday between 1:00- 5:00pm (EST) for assistance with the administration, scoring, and interpretation of an instrument.

To understand how our questionnaires can be an integral part of the process when working with clients, please take a look at these sample interpretations.

Addressing the Ethical Issues of Mandated Client

This sample profile is about a 27-year-old, Sally, who is a single mother of two small children. Sally was ordered by the court to report for a substance abuse assessment following an arrest for illegal possession of a controlled substance. Sally is also being investigated by the county’s Child Protective Services Agency, who has placed her children into foster care pending the outcome of the case. An initial review of Sally’s scores indicates that, although… Read more

Defensiveness and Non-voluntary Clients

The Importance of Additional Assessment Data The client is a 38-year-old male named Jim (not his real name), who was referred for a substance use evaluation following a second arrest for domestic violence. The practitioner calling in the profile reported having collateral evidence substantiating a significant history of alcohol abuse for this client. The SASSI results indicate that Jim has a low probability of having a substance use disorder. He is not acknowledging any significant… Read more

Interpreting the Spanish SASSI

Carlos C. is a 36-year-old Mexican-American male who’s Spanish SASSI results indicate that he has a high probability of having a substance use disorder based on “yes” answers to Rules 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 and because his FPOS score is 5 or less (FPOS=2). Validation studies indicate that 86% of the people who have substance use disorders are correctly classified by the Spanish SASSI based on the Decision Rule (High Probability) and the… Read more

Client’s High SAT Score Indicates Lack of Awareness

Bob is a 43-year old male who was referred by his attorney for a substance evaluation following a traffic fatality in which he was driving under the influence. Bob seems to have understood the items and responded in a meaningful way (RAP = 0). There is no significant evidence that Bob was defensive (DEF = 7). The most salient feature of the profile is the significantly elevated SAT score, which is a key feature in… Read more

SASSI Identifies Rx Abuse (with video)

 ‘Reggie’ is a 37-year-old married man. He and his wife have two children. He works as a warehouse worker where he was recently injured in a shipping dock accident. He recently returned to work after being on worker’s comp for several months during which time he was prescribed opioids for his pain. He was sent to his employer’s EAP provider for evaluation after returning to work and struggling with coping with the continued pain and… Read more

Differentiating between Substance Use and a Substance Use Disorder in Teens Using the SASSI-A3

This sample case is based in part on SASSI-A3 scale scores that were called into our clinical help desk. The client, Josh (not his real name), is a 17-year-old male who was a senior in high school at the time of the assessment. Josh was referred to the school counselor after he was caught drinking beer on the school campus with some of his friends during a school-sponsored activity. Josh, an above-average student with no… Read more

SASSI Results Highlight Excessive Drug Use Including Rx Abuse

Angela T. illustrates a profile often seen in people who acknowledge that they use drugs excessively and have come to rely on them as a coping resource. Angela’s scores on the SASSI-4 meet the criteria for classifying her as having a high probability of a substance use disorder. Angela’s score on the Rx scale also indicates a high probability of prescription drug abuse. Reviewing her scale scores reveals openness in disclosing her use of drugs… Read more

Enhancing Your Clients’ Insight and Motivation Using the SASSI

Through the years, we have had the opportunity to share inspirational stories with our colleagues about their experience using the SASSI. One such story came recently from a psychologist who uses the SASSI in his practice. This was a gratifying story for us to hear and we are pleased that he has allowed us to share it with you. The mother of a 22-year-old woman called me because she felt very strongly that her daughter… Read more

Elevated RAP/ High Probability Results on an Adult SASSl-4

This profile on a 21-year-old female with the FVA and FVOD, based on the last 12 months, is interesting primarily because it is so unusual. As you look at the profile graph, all the scale scores are within the norm, i.e., between the 15th and 85th percentiles except for the SYM score which is above the 85th percentile. This tells you that she is acknowledging symptoms and consequences of her use and indicates she is… Read more

Pre-employment Screening / A Profile Review on the Proper Use of the SASSI-4

A recent caller wanted help in interpreting a profile completed by a 33-year-old male. He was instructed to complete the FVA/FVOD side of the questionnaire for the last 12 months. The administrator revealed during the call that the assessment was a pre-employment screening for the Department of Transportation. The helpline does receive regular calls from counselors who administer the SASSI-4 for the Department of Transportation after a driver has failed a drug or alcohol test… Read more

Reviewing an Adolescent SASSI-A3: Vaping Issue

This is an issue that may be turning up in your clinical practice. The caller wanted help with a profile interpretation on a 13-year-old male who had turned in a vaping pen. The school was mandated to do a substance use evaluation as a result. The online report indicated “inconsistencies” in the results so the counselor wanted more information. The client was instructed to complete the FVA/FVOD side for his whole lifetime. The overall result,… Read more

Explaining Results to a Client with a High Probability Result When Scale Scores are Within the Norm

Perplexed callers periodically raise the question of how to interpret the results to their clients when all the scores fall within the norm and are only one standard deviation above or below the T-score of 50. Clinical interpretation is minimal although you can glean some useful information than just reporting a high probability. The following profile result is of a 48-year-old female. She completed the FVA/FVOD side of the questionnaire for the last 12 months.… Read more

SASSI-4 Profile of Adult Male Involved in a Custody Suit with ex-Spouse

A substance use evaluation administered on an individual involved in a custody suit can reliably be fraught with issues. This one presents a number of them. This 39-year-old client was instructed to complete the FVA/FVOD questions for his whole lifetime. A significant issue was his history of 4 DUI’s from 2020 – 2021 while in the process of separation and divorce. He denies his current use is anything like it was during that period. The… Read more

Profile Configurations: When the OAT is higher than the SAT vs when the SAT is higher than the OAT     

One question we field often on the clinical helpline is what does it mean when either the OAT (Obvious Attributes) is higher than the SAT (Subtle Attributes) or when the SAT is higher than the OAT when both are elevated above the 85th percentile? Read more

A SASSI-4 Profile Analysis: Prescription Drug Abuse

A caller requested help interpreting the result of a SASSI-4 questionnaire on a male client who presented himself as having an opioid addiction. ‘Curtis’ is a 36-year-old married man. He and his wife have no children. He works as a landscaper which he describes as physically very demanding. His parents smoked marijuana while he was growing up and Curtis also smokes marijuana. His older brother died ten years ago, and Curtis is still grieving. His… Read more

Adolescent SASSI-A3 Review: High Probability Result with a VAL of 6

This adolescent male profile presents some initial complications for the reviewer in regards to the clinical interpretation as seen on the graph. The face valid scales fall either within the norm or below the norm. One of the subtle scales is above the 85th percentile so is clinically significant, and another is below the norm. An examination of the scales produces useful information to guide the discussion of the results with the client and directing… Read more

A Review of a SASSI-4

The SASSI-4 I am reviewing is interesting for what it is not. The client was instructed to complete the FVA/FVOD for the last 12 months.The client is a 34 year old male with a history of drug and alcohol use. He reports that two and a half years ago he successfully completed treatment. He stopped doing drugs but continues to consume alcohol. He was being evaluated by the order of the court for an “altercation… Read more

Adolescent A3 – Emphasis on COR Scale

This profile is a good example of needing to be careful with assumptions. Overview of CORRECTIONAL (COR) SCALE The COR scale provides information pertaining to the possibility that the client may have a relatively high risk of experiencing legal problems. It is composed of items that differentiated between people who had a history of involvement in the juvenile justice system and those who did not. It is very important not to over-interpret elevated COR scores.… Read more

Adult SASSI-4 Review: Does the SASSI evaluate for Video Gaming?

This is an interesting profile on a 23-year-old male as it brought up the question, we get on the helpline regarding video gaming. “Does the SASSI evaluate for video gaming addiction?”, especially if the administrator believes the client was possibly including video gaming as well as substance use in his answers. The simple answer is no, it does not, so please clarify with your client not to include video gaming.  A drug that is often… Read more

Interpreting the Results of an Adolescent SASSI-A3 with a High OAT Score

Happy New Year everyone! I received my first Adolescent A-3 call on the helpline and was so excited and when I heard the numbers, I knew exactly why the clinician was calling. As you look at the profile, you can see most of the numbers are within the norm. He meets Rule 6 so comes up with a High Probability of a Substance Use Disorder and no Prescription Drug Abuse.  So, what clinical information can… Read more

SASSl-4 Profile Analysis – DOT Client

We frequently receive calls requesting clinical interpretation of profiles done on Department of Transportation (DOT) clients. These clients have failed their drug/alcohol screening and their license to drive has been suspended pending an evaluation. In this particular case, the client is a 68-year-old female whose alcohol level registered above the DOT threshold. Her SASSI result indicated a high probability of a substance use disorder based on Rule 9. As you see on the graph, most… Read more

A SASSI-4 Profile Analysis: Context Matters

If you have attended one of our trainings either in-person or online, you know the section on how to administer the SASSI to a client is one of the most important. A thoughtful approach can set the tone for the entire assessment by helping a client feel more at ease and engaged in the treatment process. We emphasize the importance of first establishing rapport with the client. The questionnaire is presented as an aid, not… Read more

The “Unaware” Client

The client, Carol, is a 43-year-old married female, a successful business woman and mother of two children. She recently was arrested and charged with her first DWI after leaving a business dinner with sales associates. This is the first significant consequence related to her drinking. She claims that she does not have a drinking problem; however, she characterizes her mother as an alcoholic. As we take a look at her scores, first notice that Carol… Read more

A SASSI-4 Profile: When the Drug Use is Marijuana

It is no news that the use of marijuana is viewed by many, no matter what the demographic, as innocuous and far less than alcohol and certainly any other drugs. It has become increasingly difficult to convince users of the harm associated with marijuana use when the legal status ranges from fully illegal, to medicinal and/or decriminalized to fully legal. Users often describe marijuana as simply a plant so it is a natural and therefore… Read more

SYM Scale and Environmental Factors

We had the opportunity to consult with a treatment provider who had called in SASSI-4 scores for a Native American couple residing in Canada. Since both profiles nicely illustrate important clinical features of each client, we decided to present the interpretations in this sample. We are grateful to the treatment agency in Northern Canada that granted us permission to use the information included in this sample. To facilitate the presentation of the profiles in a… Read more

SAM Contributes to SASSI-4 Accuracy

This SASSI-4 profile of a 37-year-old female was called in to our clinical support line. As we look at her results, it appears that she answered the items in a meaningful manner (RAP=0).  She is likely to have a high probability of a substance use disorder (SYM=6, SAM=8) based on decision rule 6. Notice that despite the relatively low DEF score and apparent lack of defensive responding, the SAM scale score, when combined with the… Read more

BADDS Sample Report

Mr. M. is a 38-year-old Caucasian male, presenting to the DUI Court with a second DUI offense. His first offense occurred and he was sentenced to time served (1 day), one year probation, paid a $500 fine, and his driver’s license was suspended for 90 days. Mr. M.’s probationary period from his first offense ended successfully.    A year later, Mr. M. was arrested and entered into a no contest plea for drinking and driving under… Read more

A SASSI-4 Profile Analysis: Reading Aloud the Questionnaire and Interpretation of Low Scores

We regularly get inquiries about the acceptability of reading the questionnaire to a client who may have difficulty with their reading skills. We discourage the evaluator from reading the questionnaire to the client for a variety of reasons, but the primary one concerns the validity of the results. No matter how careful the reader might be, the tone of voice or emphasis on a particular part of the question may lead the client in one… Read more

Notes from the Clinical Director

Introducing Our New Clinical Director

We wanted to take this opportunity to introduce our new Clinical Director, Mr. David Helton, LMSW, LCDC. David has worked in the behavioral health field in Texas for over 35 years as a clinician, a manager, division director, trainer, an evaluator, a program developer, and a grant writer/reviewer. In addition to training on the SASSI for over 30 years, David has been a member of the SASSI Clinical Team for the last several years assisting… Read more

Retirement Announcement

Our long-time Clinical Director, Kristin S. Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC is officially retired as of May 2. Kristin started out as a Clinical Consultant in 2004 and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2011. During that time, she has helped the company expand their outreach, communication, dissemination, but most importantly our clinical service provision. In addition to working for The SASSI Institute, she also maintained a private clinical practice specializing in addiction services. She has been… Read more

SAMSHA Survey 

June is National Pride month so we thought we would bring attention to the just released SAMSHA survey on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Results from the 2021 and 2022 National Surveys on Drug Use and Behavioral Health. The results point to the heavy societal stressors of this minority population in regards to mental health and the overall use of substances as a significant coping response.  The behavioral survey looks at any mental illness, serious mental… Read more

LGBTQA issues: What side of the Profile Sheet to use in cases where gender is in question?

We receive regular phone inquiries regarding which side of the Profile Sheet to use in scoring either the Adolescent or Adult SASSI when the client identifies as transgender or neither male nor female. This comes up whether one is using the paper and pencil or the online version. To affirm one’s self-identity can be powerful and empowering so a discussion with a client who is either questioning their gender identification or sexual orientation or is… Read more

Profile Configurations: When the OAT is higher than the SAT vs when the SAT is higher than the OAT     

One question we field often on the clinical helpline is what does it mean when either the OAT (Obvious Attributes) is higher than the SAT (Subtle Attributes) or when the SAT is higher than the OAT when both are elevated above the 85th percentile? Read more

Notes from the Clinical Director: Important Notice Regarding the Helpline

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be reducing the free Clinical Helpline hours temporarily beginning Monday, October 5th. Clinical consultants will now be available Monday through Friday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm (EST). We will, of course, continue to closely monitor voice mail messages and return those as soon as possible. This change only applies to the clinical helpline. Our customer service remains available during normal business hours. Please contact us if you have… Read more

Notes from the Clinical Director: Clinical Interpretations

One of the trickier aspects of incorporating the SASSI results in a substance use assessment is extracting the clinical interpretation of what elevated scores mean and the relationship between the scales. If you have taken SASSI training, especially the Clinical Interpretation session, you were introduced to ‘Profile Configurations.’ This section gets more in-depth into interpreting the scales and clinically drawing on information that can better inform how to work with your client as well as… Read more