Screening and Brief Intervention Project for Alcohol and Substance Use SAOR©

SAOR© Training in Screening and Brief Intervention for Alcohol and Substance Use   


Saor Report launch image

We deliver the HSE National Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) Project for Alcohol and Substance Use under our Primary Care Division.

The agreed HSE national model for training in Screening and Brief Intervention for Alcohol and Substance Use is the SAOR© (Support, Ask and Assess, Offer Assistance and Referral) model (O’Shea and Goff, 2009). The 2nd edition of SAOR (SAOR II) has now been launched and builds on the learning and understanding derived from delivering interventions and training workers in a diverse range of settings including: acute care settings, mental health services, child and family, community based drugs services, homeless agencies, primary care services, third level colleges, criminal justice, youth and sporting organisations. 

SAOR II offers a step-by-step guide for practice, to guide workers in using a person-centred approach throughout their conversation, encounter or engagement with a service user. SAOR II supports workers from their first point of contact with a service user to enable them to deliver brief interventions and to facilitate those presenting with more complex needs with entry into treatment programmes as per the NDRF National Protocols and Common Assessment Guidelines (2011).

Since 2012, the SBI project has coordinated the national roll out of a one-day SAOR© screening and brief intervention training programme for alcohol and substance use in partnership with the National Addiction Training Programme.

We set up the National Addiction Training Programme (NATP) in 2007. We formed it to meet the training needs of staff within drug and alcohol services. Through the programme we aim to:

  • provide training using evidence-based practices;
  • prioritise training programmes to meet current and emerging service needs; and
  • make sure there is adequate and appropriate validation for training.



Towards a Framework for Implementing Evidence Based Alcohol Interventions IMJ article
A Guiding Framework for Education and Training in Screening and Brief Intervention for Problem Alcohol Use.pdf (size 1.5 MB)

Alcohol and Substance Use Screening and Brief intervention Resources

A Quick Question.pdf (size 337.3 KB) 

This leaflet was designed to encourage service users to consider drinking less alcohol. It can be used after using an alcohol screening tool to discuss a screening score and to provide brief advice. You can order this leaflet here.

M-SASQ.pdf (size 39.2 KB)

The Modified-Single Alcohol Screening Question (M-SASQ) tool provides one question for screening purposes. Research results published in 2012, by the SIPS Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention team, found that the M-SASQ is the most efficient and effective screening tool in the emergency department setting. You can find more information on SIPS research here

AUDIT – C.pdf (size 78.4 KB)

(AUDIT-Consumption) This screening tool is based on the first three questions of the full AUDIT. The remaining AUDIT questions can be asked if someone scores five or above.


The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) provides 10 alcohol screening questions. It is considered to be the gold standard of screening tools and was developed by the World Health Organization. The WHO AUDIT Manual describes how to use the screening tool to identify people with hazardous and harmful patterns of alcohol consumption.

DUDIT.pdf (size 115.5 KB)

The most widely used drug screening tool is the eleven-item questionnaire, the DUDIT (Drug Use Disorders Identification Test). This screening tool was developed to function as a parallel instrument to the AUDIT. have created an online version of DUDIT :

TWEAK.pdf (size 73.7 KB)

The TWEAK alcohol screening test is a short, five-question test wh ch was designed to screen pregnant women for harmful drinking habits. The TWEAK has been validated for use with pregnant women but focuses on identifying heavy drinkers.

CRAFFT.pdf (size 71.2 KB)

The CRAFFT screening tool is validated for use with adolescents aged fourteen years and older and consists of six questions
designed to identify adolescents for high-risk alcohol and other drug-use disorders simultaneously.

NIAAA Practitioner's Guide.pdf (size 626.2 KB)

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have developed a practitioner’s guide for age groups 9-11, 11-14 and 14-18. The screening element of this guide focuses on both friend’s drinking habits as well as the young person’s drinking.

SAOR Training

In-house SAOR training request form

SAOR training outline and general booking form

Communicating Clearly

The HSE Communications Division has produced a guide to communicating clearly for staff when speaking and writing to patients and services users.
Posters are also available which encourage patients to feel free to ask for their health professional’s name, get further information and have medical terms explained. You can find more information here.