UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type

Article Postprint


Data Interpretation, Statistical; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; New Jersey; Patient Satisfaction; Patient Selection; Population; *Referral and Consultation; Self-Assessment; *Software; Substance Abuse Treatment Centers; Substance-Related Disorders; Telephone; Treatment Outcome


Emergency Medicine | Health Information Technology | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Substance Abuse and Addiction | Therapeutics


The Dynamic Assessment and Referral System for Substance Abuse (DARSSA) conducts a computerized substance abuse assessment; prints personalized summary reports that include tailored substance abuse treatment referral lists; and, for individuals who provide authorization, automatically faxes their contact information to a "best match" substance abuse treatment provider (dynamic referral). After piloting the program and resolving problems that were noted, we enrolled a sample of 85 medical patients. The DARSSA identified 48 (56%) participants who were risky substance users, many of whom had not been identified during their routine medical assessment. Mean satisfaction scores for all domains ranged between "Good" to "Excellent" across patients, nurses, doctors, and substance abuse treatment providers. The median completion time was 13min. Of the 48 risky substance using participants, 20 (42%) chose to receive a dynamic referral. The DARSSA provides a user-friendly, desirable service for patients and providers. It has the potential to improve identification of substance abuse in medical settings and to provide referrals that would not routinely be provided. Future studies are planned to establish its efficacy at promoting treatment initiation and abstinence.


technology, substance abuse treatment, referrals, treatment matching, substance abuse screening, treatment initiation

DOI of Published Version



Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Jan 1;99(1-3):37-46. Epub 2008 Sep 4. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Drug and alcohol dependence


At the time of publication, Edwin Boudreaux was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. A definitive version was subsequently published in Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Jan 1;99(1-3):37-46. DOI 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.06.015

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID