Below is a quick assessment tool, based on the CAGE Questionnaire* designed to help primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals quickly and easily determine whether or not a patient is likely to have a drug or alcohol problem. Please complete the questions below with your patient and evaluate responses noting that item responses on the CAGE are scored 0 or 1, with a higher score an indication of drug or alcohol problems.
- Have you ever felt like you should Cut down on your drinking or drug use?
- Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking or drug use?
- Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking or drug use?
- Eye Opener: Have you ever had a drink or used a drug first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover from the day/night before?
TOTAL SCORE: 0
A total score of 2 or greater is considered clinically significant.
*Developed by Dr. John Ewing, founding Director of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CAGE is an internationally used assessment instrument for identifying alcoholics. It is particularly popular with primary caregivers. CAGE has been translated into several languages.
The CAGE questions can be used in the clinical setting using informal phrasing. It has been demonstrated that they are most effective when used as part of a general health history and should NOT be preceded by questions about how much or how frequently the patient drinks (see “Alcoholism: The Keys to the CAGE” by DL Steinweg and H Worth; American Journal of Medicine 94: 520-523, May 1993.)
The exact wording that can be used in research studies can be found in: JA Ewing “Detecting Alcoholism: The CAGE Questionnaire” JAMA 252: 1905-1907, 1984.
Source: Dr. John Ewing, founding Director of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill