The FAST Alcohol Screening Test Designed to Detect Hazardous Drinking

balanceThe FAST alcohol screening test was developed specifically to be used in busy medical offices and emergency rooms to screen patients for hazardous drinking, although it has also been used effectively in the general population.

The AUDIT test, a longer screening test, has been an extremely effective screening tool for many years. But, it takes too long to administer and score in most busy physician offices and emergency rooms. The FAST test was developed by taking four key questions from the AUDIT test and arranging them into a short, two-phase test.

When compared to the full AUDIT test, the FAST test detects 93 percent of hazardous drinkers detected by the longer version.

Shortest Test Available

Unlike the CAGE test, the FAST test measures a person’s hazardous drinking in the past year. The CAGE test is designed to test alcohol dependency over a lifetime.

More than half of patients given the FAST test only have to answer the first question. Depending on the response to the first question of the test, the other questions may not be asked at all, making the FAST test potentially the shortest screening tool available today.

1.How often do you have eight or more drinks on one occasion?
2.How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?
3.How often during the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of your drinking?
4.Has a relative or friend, a doctor or other health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?

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