Abuse, addiction and polyconsumption: how to identify them

July 2017

Polyconsumption of pyschoactive substances

Polyconsumption of pyschoactive substances is defined by "people consuming at least two, simultaneously or sequentially, with at least for one of these the notion of a harmful use or a dependence".



Several health care professionals are concerned with identifying polyconsumption problems (attending physicians, school doctors, company doctors, pharmacists, etc).

A commission reccomended the need for systematic screening of polyconsumption by health professionals. And among other issues, for doctors to draw the awareness of the general public on the dangers of polyconsumption (information campaigns, setting self-assessment tools, etc), or the development of computerised pharmaceutical files (the pharmacist thus can locate them more easily).


In order to better locate polyconsumption problems, the commission provided some reminders:
  • A consumption can hide others (after the identification of a consumption, not to forget to systematically seek possible others)
  • Association with possible purely behavioral addictions is possible
  • Waiting for a care request is not enough: health professionals, in contact with the public, are incited to locate polyconsumption whatever the age or the socio-professional profile of the subjects,
  • The identification and evaluation of the problematic consumption must be based on reliable, simple and validated tools (producing and validating these tools are a priority).

Assessment of gravity factors

The assessment of gravity factors, the damage and motivation of the patient to change is done during one or several clinical talks.

A tool makes it possible "to systematise" the collection of information during these talks, it is the Addiction Severity Index (ASI).

This very detailed questionnaire would help collect information on the medical state of the patient as well as on his resources, legal situation or family and social relations.

Download the questionnaire here http://www.densonline.org/DENSASI.pdf.


Abuso, dependencia y policonsumo de sustancias: cómo detectarlas
Abuso, dependencia y policonsumo de sustancias: cómo detectarlas
Latest update on April 28, 2015 at 05:51 PM by Ambucias.
This document, titled "Abuse, addiction and polyconsumption: how to identify them," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (health.ccm.net).