It is important to gain an understanding of the range of substances currently used, the quantity and frequency of use, duration of use, previous AOD-related problems, circumstances of use, risk behaviours related to use, and previous treatment/attempts to change (and why these were successful or unsuccessful). Clinicians should also gain an understanding of the development of the client’s AOD use over time, including periods of abstinence, and how these were supported .
Enquire also about the use of any non-traditional or new psychoactive substances (substances produced to mimic the effects of illegal drugs), which may be referred to by a range of names including legal highs, herbal highs, research chemicals, analogues, and synthetics (more information can be found through the Drug Trends monitoring program [279, 280]).
It can be useful to ask the client to describe a normal day, in order to try to help the client evaluate the ways in which his/her AOD use affects his/her health, relationships, legality, and livelihood (e.g., finances, work). The typical day situation is explained in greater detail in Appendix E on MI.