Purpose & Evidence:

  • Purpose: The Screening Instrument for Substance Abuse Potential (SISAP) assesses individuals with a substance abuse history and high risk for opioid dependency or abuse
  • Target population: Adults
  • Evidence:
    • The SISAP indicates good specificity and sensitivity, as well as a high correct classification rate and low rate of misses (Coambs et al. 1996).
  • Advantages/Limitations


    • This tool can help primary care physicians determine if a patient receiving opioids is at risk for opioid abuse, and has been shown to have relatively high sensitivity and specificity (McPherson and Hersch 2000).
    • Resistent to deception or falsification (Coambs et al. 1996).
    • Developed specifically for general practitioners to use within the context of their clinical practice (McPherson & Hersch 2000).
    • Designed so that patients can fail at several points in the assessment (Coambs et al. 1996).
    • The tool differentiates between drug and alcohol risk (Butler 2008)


    • Not validated in pain patients (Butler 2008)

Test features:

  • Estimated time: less than 1 minutes to administer and score
  • Length: 5 items
  • Administered by: Patient Interview
  • Intended settings: Primary care

Available Formats & Links:

  • Available Formats: Online, Print
View ReferencesHide References
Butler SF. Evidence of Co-occuring Alcohol and Prescription Opioid Abuse in Clinical Populations: Implications for Screening. Tufts Health Care Institute, Program on Opioid Risk Management: Conference on Co-Ingestion of Alcohol with Prescription Opioids. 2008.
Coambs RB, Jarry JL, Santhiapillai AC, Abrahamsohn RV, Atance CM. The SISAP: a new screening instrument for identifying potential opioid abusers in the management of chronic nonmalignant pain within the general practice. Pain Res Manag. 1996; 1: 155-162.
McPherson T and Hersch R. Brief substance use screening instruments for primary care settings: a review. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 2000; 18(2): 193-202. Available at: Accessed on: 2013-09-12.