Tag: Substance Use Disorder Screening Instrument

SASSI Training

As we prepare to move into 2023, we are excited that our certified SASSI trainers throughout the U.S. and Canada have begun doing live in-person trainings again and with more frequency. We invite you to check out our training page to view a list of currently scheduled workshops at https://sassi.com/sassi-training/.  These lists are updated frequently and also contain contact information for your local trainer/s. If nothing is scheduled in your area, we encourage you to reach out directly to the trainer so they know there is interest in their area. We also continue to offer online training webinars both live and on-demand if in-person is not a viable option for you.

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.

Happy holidays to all.

Registration Open for more FREE LIVE Clinical Q&A Sessions

Please join us for one of our new Clinical Q&A sessions online. The Q&A is hosted by our Clinical Director, Kristin Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC, and lasts one-hour. We invite you to ask questions or share experiences regarding unusual or difficult profiles you may have come across, but all questions are welcome. You can also join just to listen to the group discussion.

Join us for one or both sessions. There are two dates currently scheduled: Tuesday, November 15th and Tuesday, December 13th from 1-2 pm ET. Click here to register today. Due to time constraints, each session will be limited to the first 25 registrants. As new dates are added we will post them to our blog page or you can check the registration page via the link within this blog.

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

See you there!

Research Update: New Publication in Women’s Health

The SASSI Institute recently published an article in Women’s Health on early intervention and resources for expectant mothers with substance use problems and service shortages in the present age. Within it, we discuss the need for more research and collaboration in regards to substance use disorder  and criminal Justice, especially to assist women avoid the stigmatization and ostracizing they may experience; many simply by virtue of having experienced the disease of addiction. When combined with the criminalization of drug use, society inevitably finds itself entrapping these women in a revolving door fed by the “drug-crime” connection, but now also including newborns. Babies should NOT be born in prison, especially sick babies; however, when they are, quality prenatal care, early intervention, and community support upon release from prison are imperative to help those babies and their mothers have positive long-term outcomes. Please consider this a call to action, we welcome your interest in collaborative efforts.

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 for substances, but not for pre-employment screening.

In review, the client comes up with a high probability of a substance use disorder based on Rules 2,5,6 and 9. The RAP is 0 and the Rx Prescription Drug Scale is 0.

The FVA is below average use, the FVOD is on the 50th percentile. The SYM scale of 7 is above the 85th percentile, considered elevated and thus Rule 2 meets the criteria of a High Probability of a Substance Use Disorder. The rest of the scale scores are within the norm (between 15-85th percentiles) so clinically are not significant but are significant in meeting the criteria of a Substance Use Disorder if accounting for the additional rules of # 5, 6 and 9. The SAT of 5, being in the norm indicates the client was not in denial about his usage.

Considerations

Although the results do not account for current or actual use, further assessment may include urine screens that would give a more accurate representation of current use of substances. He does come up with a high probability of a Substance Use Disorder, so deeper inquiry is necessary.

The administration of this SASSI was part of a pre-employment screening and our position on the proper use of the SASSI in this regard, is very explicit:

From our User’s Guide and Manual: *

“The purpose of the SASSI is to help identify people who are likely to have substance use disorders so that early intervention and treatment can be initiated when appropriate.”

“To use the SASSI to discriminate against individuals violates the intent of the authors and may even violate the law.”

“SASSI results should not be used to abridge the rights of individuals or to disqualify applicants for positions, such as jobs or benefits, such as public assistance programs.”

Thus, it is extremely important to use the results in the most therapeutic way possible with the best intentions of helping individuals with a substance use disorder.

If you have any questions, please contact the Clinical Director, Kristin S. Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC at kristin@sassi.com.

*SASSI -4 User Guide & Manual – Chapter 1 (overview), pg.7
SASSI-4 Online User Guide – Proper Use of the SASSI. pg. 8

FREE LIVE Clinical Q&A Registration Open

As discussed in a prior blog, we are expanding our free clinical phone service by offering free live clinical Q&A sessions online. These Q&A sessions are open to everyone. The Q&A will be hosted by our Clinical Director, Kristin Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC, and will last one-hour. We invite you to ask questions or share experiences regarding unusual or difficult profiles you may have come across, but all questions are welcome. You can also join just to listen to the group discussion.

Our first free Q&A session is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4th from 1-2 pm ET. Click here to register today. Due to time restraints, the session will be limited to the first 25 registrants. As new dates are added we will post them to our blog or you can check the registration page via the link above in this blog.

Note that this Q&A does not provide CEUs and is not a substitute for SASSI Training.

We hope you will join us!

Coming Soon: LIVE Clinical Q&A Sessions

Since the release of the original SASSI in the late 80’s we have had the pleasure of providing free clinical consultation and support for those using our instruments via our toll-free phone line. Our clinicians have enjoyed speaking with professionals about SASSI results and strive to make it a useful and pleasant experience. We are planning to expand on this service by offering free live clinical Q&A sessions online. We invite users of our instruments, those considering implementing our instruments, and students, to join our Clinical Director, Kristin Kimmell, LCSW, LCAC, for these FREE live one-hour sessions. Here you will be able to ask questions or share experiences regarding unusual or difficult profiles you may have come across, but all questions are welcome. You can also join in simply to listen to the group discussion and are not required to ask questions.

We hope this will be a useful expansion of our clinical service and look forward to having engaging group discussions. We believe we can learn from you as well and these discussions will help us be sure that our research is up to date with current concerns in the field of SUD. We will be announcing the date, time and registration information for our first Clinical Q&A next month on our Blog so be on the lookout for it!

SASSI Online Tips & Tricks Volume 3 | SASSI to Go

In this edition of SASSI Online Tips and Tricks we take an in-depth look at our SASSI to Go delivery option! SASSI to Go is an application designed to be used offline for administration of SASSI questionnaires.

SASSI to Go is downloaded to a laptop or thumb drive, then the questionnaires are administered to clients with or without an Internet connection.

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 very clear about either one can be a very supportive encounter. The message given is one of sensitivity, respect, and validation for their choices.

As a way of addressing this issue the adult SASSI-4, adolescent SASSI-A3, and Spanish SASSI ask for ‘gender’ in the demographics rather than ‘sex.’ This allows the client to indicate their self-identity. What side of the profile sheet used for scoring purposes should either (1) conform most closely to what the client indicates or (2) after discussion with the client, what they feel most comfortable with given the gender limitations of M/F on the SASSI.  The research is based on binary identification and as such, we are limited in adding additional categories. Future research will undoubtedly be more inclusive. Regardless, the results are valid. The overall goal of the inventory is to give both the administrator and the client a compass to follow with useful information regarding the extent that substance use may or may not be a problem.

To be clear, score the side of the profile sheet that the transgender client self-identifies with. Not when or if they started hormones, or in a current state of transitioning, or they identified as a different gender when the legal offense happened.

A client may express a preference to not identify in any way and decline any gender identification. In that case, the administrator may want to score both sides of the SASSI to see if there is any difference in the result. More often than not, the result will be the same. The primary differences in M/F are in the FVA/FVOD scales which impact Rule 1 and Rule 10 in SASSI-4. There are no differences in the SASSI-A3.

The following is a list of LGBTQA terminology and definitions provided from the Prism Youth Community, part of Bloomington PRIDE here in Indiana:

These definitions were borrowed and adapted from several sources including the University of California- LA LGBT Campus Resource Center, the University of California Berkeley Gender Equity Resource Center, the University of Michigan Spectrum Center, and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee LGBT Resource Center.

Definitions may vary with location, era, and culture. It is very important to respect people’s desired self-identifications. One should never assume another person’s identity based on that person’s appearance. It is always best to ask people how they identify, including what pronouns they prefer and to respect their wishes.

Ally – Typically any non-LGBT person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people, though LGBT people can be allies, such as a lesbian who is an ally to a transgender person.

Androgyne A person appearing and/or identifying as neither man nor woman, presenting a gender either mixed or neutral.

Asexual – A person who is not sexually attracted to any gender or does not have a sexual orientation. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy.

Bisexual or Bi – A person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to males/men and females/women. This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others.

Cisgender – A person who feels comfortable with the gender identify and gender expression expectations assigned to them based on their physical sex.

Gender Expression – The way in which a person expresses their gender identity through clothing, behavior, posture, mannerisms, speech patterns, activities, and more.

Gender Identity – A person’s sense of being masculine, feminine, or other gendered.

Genderqueer A gender variant person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders.

Homosexual or Gay – A person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex.

Intersex – A person whose sexual anatomy or chromosomes do not fit with the traditional markers of “female” and “male”. For example: people born with both “female” and “male” anatomy (penis, testicles, vagina, uterus); people born with XXY.

Lesbian – A female-identified person attracted emotionally, physically, and /or sexually to other female-identified people.

LGBTIQA+  – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual or ally, and other identities.

Pansexual – A person who is sexually attracted to all or many gender expressions.

Partner – A significant other in an intimate relationship; a gender-neutral alternative to boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, or other binary-based relationships terms.

Queer – 1. An umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or cisgender. 2. A reclaimed word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by some members of the LGBTIQA+ community, who use it as a term of defiant pride.

Sex – A medical term designating a certain combination of gonads, chromosomes, external gender organs, secondary sex characteristics and hormonal balances.

Sexual Orientation – The desire for intimate emotional and/or sexual relationships with people of the same gender/sex, another gender/sex, or multiple genders/sexes.

Sexuality – A person’s exploration of sexual acts, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, and desire.

Trans – An abbreviation that is sometimes used to refer to a gender variant person. This use allows a person to state a gender variant identity without having to disclose hormonal or surgical status/intentions.

This term is sometimes used to refer to the gender variant community as a whole.

Transgender – An umbrella term for a person whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth.

Recent Article Investigating Denial Among Mandated Adolescents

The SASSI Institute is proud to announce our newest manuscript addressing adolescent substance
abuse. The title of this article is Mandated Treatment for Troubled Adolescents and Substance Use Disorder: Identifying and Breaking Through Defensiveness and Denial. It provides an investigation of the defensiveness demonstrated by teens who are mandated to participate in treatment as compared to their non-mandated peers. Part of the data set we collected for The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI) Institute’s third iteration of the Adolescent SASSI-A3, the present study focused on data from 164 mandated teens that participated in the principal study. As in the principal study, these cases were drawn from substance use treatment, criminal justice programs, community corrections, and private clinical practices, among other venues, and all cases were provided by clinicians working within these service settings throughout all U.S. Census Regions.

In addition, we review cases demonstrating high-levels of defensiveness and denial in these mandated teen clients, and ethical ways to break through that barrier towards effective treatment engagement. Finally, we present two brief de-identified treatment case studies, aptly demonstrating defensiveness and denial from a clinical standpoint. We at The SASSI Institute are very proud of this work, and I want to personally thank my co-authors for making this work possible. The article is available free of charge as it was submitted as an open-access article distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which allows readers to copy, redistribute, remix, transform, and reproduce in any medium or format, as long as the original authors are properly cited. You can read this article, as well as other articles related to the SASSI, on our References page.

This article also apears in the Indiana Criminal Justice Association’s, The Comment, Spring Edition.

SASSI Online Tips and Tricks: Volume 2 | Delivery Options

In this edition of SASSI Online Tips and Tricks we highlight setting up a questionnaire and the delivery options. When administering a questionnaire, you have six options. This volume will cover the first five in depth. The last one, SASSI to Go, will get its own volume, so watch for that!

Read more