A study to validate a self-reported version of the ONS Drug Dependence Questionnaire

M Uddin, VL Maskrey, RC Holland

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Aim: A prospective study to establish the reliability of a self-completion version of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) questionnaire for assessing drug dependence of substance misuse clients. Method: A total of 47 treatment seeking opioid-dependent clients completed the self-complete version of the ONS questionnaire (ONS-sc) followed by the interviewer-administered ONS questionnaire (ONS-ia) at a single clinic appointment. Scores for four Class A drugs (heroin, methadone, speed and crack/cocaine) from both formats were compared. Results: The observed agreement was 87% or more and Cohen's kappa was 0.7 (p < 0.001) or more for all four Class A drugs. Sensitivity for each Class A drugs was 56% or higher and specificity was 87% or higher. Sensitivity for severe heroin dependency was 98% (CI 89–100%). There was a 100% correlation between the ONS-sc and positive urine analysis for heroin use. However, methadone and crack/cocaine drug use appeared under reported. Conclusion: ONS-sc is a feasible, practical and time-saving alternative to a detailed interview on drug dependence. Further research with a larger sample size and non-opiate-dependent clients are needed, as this could prove a useful tool for monitoring clients in everyday practice, or for survey purposes where interviews are impractical.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

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