A Brief Screening and Assessment Tool for Opioid Use in Adults: Results from a Validation Study of the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication, and Other Substances Tool.



This secondary analysis evaluated opioid-specific validation results of the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication, and Other Substances (TAPS) tool for screening in primary care.


This study is a secondary data analysis of the TAPS validation study. Performance of the TAPS tool for screening for unhealthy opioid use (with a score of 1+ for heroin and/or prescription opioids representing a positive screen) was evaluated. Discriminative ability was examined in comparison with reference standard measures across the spectrum of unhealthy opioid use: timeline follow-back with and without oral fluid testing identifying past-month use and the modified Composite International Diagnostic Interview for past-year problem use, opioid use disorder (OUD), and moderate-severe OUD.


In a sample of 2000 primary care patients, 114 screened positive for opioids on the TAPS tool. With a TAPS cutoff equal to 1+, the TAPS accurately identified past-month use, problem use, any OUD, and moderate-severe OUD (sensitivities = 68%-85%, specificities = 97%-98%, area under the curve = 0.80-0.91). When past-month use was expanded to include timeline follow-back with oral fluid testing, accuracy declined (52% sensitivity [95% confidence interval, 43%-60%], 98% specific [95% confidence interval, 97%-98%]).


While further testing in a larger population sample may be warranted, given their brevity, simplicity, and accuracy when self-administered, the TAPS opioid items can be used in primary care settings for a spectrum of unhealthy opioid use; however, self-disclosure remains an issue in primary care settings.






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Bunting, Amanda M, Robert P Schwartz, Li-Tzy Wu, Aimee Wahle, Margaret Kline, Geetha Subramaniam and Jennifer McNeely (2023). A Brief Screening and Assessment Tool for Opioid Use in Adults: Results from a Validation Study of the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication, and Other Substances Tool. Journal of addiction medicine, 17(4). pp. 471–473. 10.1097/adm.0000000000001139 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28943.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Li-Tzy Wu

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Education/Training: Pre- and post-doctoral training in mental health service research, psychiatric epidemiology (NIMH T32), and addiction epidemiology (NIDA T32) from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health (Maryland); Fellow of the NIH Summer Institute on the Design and Conduct of Randomized Clinical Trials.

Director: Duke Community Based Substance Use Disorder Research Program.

Research interests: COVID-19, Opioid misuse, Opioid overdose, Opioid use disorder, Opioid addiction prevention and treatment, Pain and addiction, Chronic diseases and substance use disorders, diabetes, pharmacy-based care models and services, medication treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD), Drug overdose, Polysubstance use and disorders, cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, hallucinogens, stimulants, e-cigarette, SBIRT (substance use Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment), EHR-based research and intervention, data science, psychometric analysis (IRT), epidemiology of addictions and comorbidity, behavioral health care integration, health services research (mental health disorders, substance use disorders, chronic diseases), nosology, research design, HIV risk behavior. 

FUNDED Research projects (Principal Investigator [PI], Site PI, or Sub-award PI): 
R03: Substance use/dependence (PI).
R21: Treatment use for alcohol use disorders (PI).
R21: Inhalant use & disorders (PI).
R01: MDMA/hallucinogen use/disorders (PI).
R01: Prescription pain reliever (opioids) misuse and use disorders (PI).
R01: Substance use disorders in adolescents (PI).
R21: CTN Substance use diagnoses & treatment (PI).
R33: CTN Substance use diagnoses & treatment (PI).
R01: Evolution of Psychopathology in the Population (ECA Duke site PI).
R01: Substance use disorders and treatment use among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (PI).
UG1: SBIRT in Primary Care (NIDA, PI).
UG1: TAPS Tool, Substance use screening tool validation in primary care (NIDA, PI).
UG1: NIDA CTN Mid-Southern Node (Clinical Trials Network, PI).
UG1: EHR Data Element Study (NIDA, PI).
UG1: Buprenorphine Physician-Pharmacist Collaboration in the Management of Patients With Opioid Use Disorder (NIDA, PI).
PCORI: INSPIRE-Integrated Health Services to Reduce Opioid Use While Managing Chronic Pain (Site PI).
CDC R01: Evaluation of state-mandated acute and post-surgical pain-specific CDC opioid prescribing (Site PI).
Pilot: Measuring Opioid Use Disorders in Secondary Electronic Health Records Data (Carolinas Collaborative Grant: Duke PI).
R21: Developing a prevention model of alcohol use disorder for Pacific Islander young adults (Subaward PI, Investigator).
UG1: Subthreshold Opioid Use Disorder Prevention Trial (NIH HEAL Initiative) (NIDA supplement, CTN-0101, Investigator).
NIDA: A Pilot Study to Permit Opioid Treatment Program Physicians to Prescribe Methadone through Community Pharmacies for their Stable Methadone Patients (NIDA/FRI: Study PI).
UG1: Integrating pharmacy-based prevention and treatment of opioid and other substance use disorders: A survey of pharmacists and stakeholder (NIH HEAL Initiative, NIDA, PI).
UG1: NorthStar Node of the Clinical Trials Network (NIDA, Site PI).
R34: Intervention Development and Pilot Study to Reduce Untreated Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Opioid Use Disorders (Subaward PI, Investigator).
UG1: Optimal Policies to Improve Methadone Maintenance Adherence Longterm (OPTIMMAL Study) (NIDA, Site PI).
R01: Increasing access to opioid use disorder treatment by opening pharmacy-based medication units of opioid treatment programs (NIDA, PI)

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