The severity index: An indicator of alcohol and drug dependence using administrative data

Yael Caspi, Winston M. Turner, Lee Panas, Dennis McCarty, David R. Gastfriend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Administrative data systems are a valuable resource for health care services research, especially in the assessment of treatment services for alcohol and drug dependence. However, clinical and diagnostic indicators are commonly not collected. The current report describes the development of a composite measure of substance abuse severity from items routinely recorded by publicly funded alcohol and drug abuse treatment services. Designed to capture varying patterns of substance use, the Severity Index can be readily calculated, interpreted and applied by health care providers as part of routine clinical care. To determine its validity, the performance of the Severity Index, was tested against the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), a well-researched measure of substance abuse severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
JournalAlcoholism Treatment Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this paper was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (P50 DA10233 and RR01 DA08781) and support from the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS), Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The authors also thank Mayra Roderiguez-Howard, Director of BSAS, and Dr. Teresa Anderson for their support and facilitation of access to the BSAS Management Information System (MIS).


  • Addiction Severity Index (ASI)
  • Administrative data
  • Substance abuse severity


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