TCU Drug Screen

Texas Christian University Drug Screen Evaluation

TEXT Box--TCUDS Proj Info (4-8-14)

Although most criminal justice agencies across the United States have become invested in treating drug-abusing offenders in the past decade, the demand for treatment resources has continued to exceed availability. Not only must officials decide who should have access to limited treatment services, but they also need to determine the most appropriate type and intensity of treatment in which a drug-involved offender should be placed. These critical decisions are complicated even further in large correctional systems such as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), which processes over 3,300 new inmates per month. For these agencies, improved drug abuse screening and treatment referral protocols are essential.

The primary goal of this proposal, therefore, was to examine psychometric properties and validity of the Texas Christian University Drug Screen, an experimental instrument then in early stages of implementation at several large correctional settings across the U.S. The TCU Drug Screen is now being used to assess all new admissions to the TDCJ-Institutional Division and the TDCJ-State Jail Division.

Psychometric criteria for this instrument have been established, particularly focusing on its internal consistency, and evaluations were conducted of the concurrent validity of the TCU Drug Screen and the ASI Drug Dependence scale. The project is yielding normative data on levels of inmate pre-incarceration drug use and will include prominent subgroups defined by sociodemographic and criminal background variables.

This project helped guide the development of a reliable and valid drug screen that can be used to assess the severity of drug use problems and guide efficient and effective treatment decisions within a wide range of correctional settings.


Knight, K., Simpson, D. D., & Hiller, M. L. (2002). Screening and referral for substance-abuse treatment in the criminal justice system. In C. G. Leukefeld, F. Tims, & D. Farabee (Eds.), Treatment of drug offenders: Policies and issues (pp. 259-272). New York: Springer.

Knight, K. (2002). Factors to consider when choosing a screen for drug-use problems. Offender Substance Abuse Report, II(3), 35-39.