This 20-item instrument may be given in either a self-report or in a structured interview format; the client replies “yes” or “no” to each of 20 questions. It is constructed similarly to the earlier Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST), and the DAST items tend to parallel those of the MAST.
The purpose of the DAST is:
- to provide a brief, simple, practical, but valid method for identifying individuals who are abusing psychoactive drugs; and
- to yield a quantitative index score of the degree of problems related to drug use and misuse.
It obtains no information on the various types of drugs used, or on the frequency or duration of the drug use. There is a question regarding multiple drug use, and some of the types of problems caused by drug use/abuse in the following life areas are surveyed: marital-family relationships, social relationships, employment, legal, and physical (medical symptoms and conditions). A brief examination of the individual item responses indicates the specific life problem areas.