E-SACS Brief Intervention Resource

Monday, 19 November 2018

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As part of the SACS ABC an electronic version of the SACS (E-SACS) is available. This tool and the SACS ABC approach and resources are currently being trialled by the school-based health nurses in Counties Manukau and Christchurch.  The pilot runs until the end of the 2018 school year.

So far there have been excellent results and feedback. The E-SACS is available for services to use. A training package and a ‘Train the Trainer’ package have been developed.

What is the SACS ABC Approach?

This year we developed and trialled the SACS ABC and electronic SACS (E-SACS) within Primary Care Services.

The school-based health nurses in Counties Manukau and Christchurch were keen to trial and utilise this tool and resources so we have supported them with this pilot over the 2018 school year.

Pilot aims were to:

  • Trial the SACS ABC and E-SACS tool within Primary Care Services
  • Trial the number of resources that were developed
  • Discover that E-SACs is an acceptable way to screen Young People
  • Improve short/long term outcomes for Young People with AOD problems and provide Brief Intervention, harm reduction and referral if needed
  • Evaluate pilot outcomes for further promotion and development in the Primary Care Sector

What we achieved in 2018:

Graphs: 226 students on SACS from pilot study

  • Implementation of E-SACS tool on the pupil web patient management system (is that what it’s called?).
  • Training of school-based health nurses in Counties Manukau and Christchurch.
  • Evaluation of the training, resources, SACS ABC and E-SACS tool.

Feedback summary of the training and resources was that:

  • Resources developed were excellent tools to use in practice. They were simple, effective, concise and user-friendly.
  • Training was very effective in providing nurses with the confidence and skills to use the SACS ABC and E-SACS in their work.

E-SACS Feedback:

The nurses provided information in June 2018 which was part way through the pilot which showed:

  • School-based health nurses in 38 Schools (Counties Manukau = 30; Canterbury = 8) were involved in trialling the E-SACS tool within the pupil web system.
  • A total of 2,846 students were assessed mainly through their Year 9 assessments and Health Clinic visits (Counties Manukau = 2,403 Students; Canterbury = 443 Students). 


8% or 226 of the students received a score on the E-SACS… 

...and of these, 58% or 130 students received a SACS score in the high risk range (4-16).



High Risk Students: E-SACS ABC pilot study, Counties Manukau & Canterbury

65% referred to:
AOD Services; Stand UP AOD Programme; Child Protection; Mental Health; Guidance Counsellor; School Social Worker; Primary Health; Sexual Health


To find out more about SACS ABC, and to view resources go to the Opt for Wellbeing pages of our website: http://optforwellbeing.org/cep/screening.

  • SACS ABC manual
  • Substances Overview posters
  • Desktop poster quick guide to SACS ABC
  • SACS ABC video

Additional Resources:


More info:

Email: Michelle.fowler@auckland.ac.nz