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Online screening for alcohol and other drug problems: an acceptable method for accessing help

To the Editor: Alcohol and other drug (AOD)-related harms are considerable,1 yet individuals with AOD disorders are reluctant to seek treatment.2,3 Barriers to help-seeking include issues of stigma and a lack of understanding of what treatment involves. One possible approach to improving access is the use of online tools that provide advice about available help options. While online screening for alcohol has shown value as a complement to AOD-related treatment in a Swedish sample, limited work has been conducted examining such utility for AOD-related problems within an Australian context.4

From 4 December 2012 to 10 January 2013, an integrated online screening tool (comprising the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Drug Use Disorders Identification Test, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale [K10] and a three-point Likert scale measuring subjective quality of life) to identify problematic AOD use, psychological distress and subjective wellbeing, was posted on the Turning Point website (http://www.turning point.org.au) and promoted through Counselling…