Protocol - Acute Subjective Response to Substances - Current - General

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The Drug Effects Questionnaire (DEQ) consists of simple, face-valid, visual analog scale (VAS) questions on which people report their subjective states after ingesting a substance. The analog scale of responses ranges from "not at all" to "extremely."

Specific Instructions

The Drug Effects Questionnaire (DEQ) is used in laboratory studies to assess the subjective effects of acute doses of alcohol or other drugs of abuse, usually administered under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions. The experimenter administers a single dose of a drug or a placebo using an appropriate route (oral, intravenous, intranasal, buccal, inhaled, or other). The participant typically completes the DEQ at regular intervals after ingesting an active drug or a placebo so as to characterize the full-time course of the drug effect, including the time of onset, time to peak, and return to baseline. Because the ratings refer to a drug that has recently been ingested (e.g., do you feel a drug effect, do you like/dislike the drug effect, are you high, do you want more), the DEQ does not need to be administered before drug ingestion. Respondents should be instructed to attend to the descriptors provided at either end of the visual analog scales (VASs), from "not at all" to "extremely," and to use the scales consistently throughout the study.

The questionnaire can be administered as a paper-and-pencil task or electronically. Care should be taken to maintain a constant line length when using VASs. Paper-and-pencil VASs are typically 100 mm.

The Substance Abuse and Addiction Working Group acknowledges that the following questions may gather sensitive information relating to the use of substances and/or illegal conduct. If the information is released, it might be damaging to an individual’s employability, lead to social stigmatization, or lead to other consequences.

Most researchers assure confidentiality as part of their informed consent process, as required by their institutional review boards. Further assurance of confidentiality may be obtained by applying to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a Certificate of Confidentiality, which helps researchers protect the privacy of human research participants. The procedures for the Certificate of Confidentiality can be found at the Grants Policy website of NIH: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/policy/coc/index.htm.


You will be asked to indicate your answers to the following questions about the drug you consumed by marking on the line to indicate how much the adjective or description applies to you. Please indicate how you are feeling right now.

1. Do you FEEL a drug effect right now?

2. Do you LIKE any of the effects you are feeling right now?

3. Do you DISLIKE any of the effects you are feeling right now?

4. Are you HIGH right now?

5. Would you like MORE of the drug you took, right now?

Scoring Procedure and Interpretation

The score is determined by the distance between the left anchor point and the participant’s mark on the line. Each item is scored separately.



Personnel and Training Required


Equipment Needs


Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered questionnaire


Adult, Senior


Adults aged 18 years and older

Selection Rationale

The five-scale Drug Effects Questionnaire (DEQ) was chosen by the Working Group because it is fairly standardized, simple, and descriptive.



Human Phenotype Ontology Addictive behavior HP:0030858 HPO
caDSR Form PhenX PX520103 - Acute Subjective Response To Substances Current Gene 6216633 caDSR Form
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #3 (ERP 3) reviewed the measures in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Substances, and Substance Abuse and Addiction domains.

Guidance from ERP 3 includes:

• Revised descriptions of the measure

Back-compatible: NA no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive (link)

Protocol Name from Source

Drug Effects Questionnaire (DEQ)


Fraser, H. F., Van Horn, G. D., Martin, W. R., Wolbach, A. B., & Isbell, H. (1961). Methods for evaluating addiction liability. (A) "Attitude" of opiate addicts toward opiate-like drugs, (B) a short-term "Direct" addiction test. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 133, 371-387.

General References

Meghan E. Morean, Harriet de Wit, Andrea C. King, Mehmet Sofuoglu, Sandra Y. Rueger, and Stephanie S. O’Malley (2013). The Drug Effects Questionnaire: Psychometric Support across Three Drug Types

Psychopharmacology (Berl), 227(1), 177-192. PMCID: PMC3624068

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX520103040000 Are you HIGH right now? N/A
PX520103030000 Do you DISLIKE any of the effects you are more
feeling right now? show less
PX520103010000 Do you FEEL a drug effect right now? N/A
PX520103020000 Do you LIKE any of the effects you are more
feeling right now? show less
PX520103050000 Would you like MORE of the drug you took, more
right now? show less
Substance-specific Intermediate Phenotypes
Measure Name

Acute Subjective Response to Substances - Current

Release Date

February 24, 2012


Instruments used separately to assess current acute subjective responses to substances that the respondent has recently ingested or used.


This measure is to assess a respondent’s feelings after recently smoking cigarettes, ingesting alcohol, or using drugs. The protocol is used to obtain subjective responses to the tobacco, alcohol, or drug administered. The Working Group recommends that investigators use the primary protocol to obtain general information on a variety of substances. The secondary protocols can then be used to obtain detailed information on a specific substance.


acute subjective response to substances - current - general, Addiction Research Center Inventory, Adjective Checklist, alcohol, Amphetamine, ARCI, BAES, Benzedrine, Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale, Buzz, cigarettes, dizziness, DEQ, Drug Effects Questionnaire, Early Response, Irritable, LSD, marijuana, mCEQ, modified Cigarette Evaluation Questionnaire, Morphine-Benzedrine, National Institute of Mental Health Addiction Research Center, Nausea, Pentobarbital-Chlorpromazine-Alcohol, Rush, SAA, smoking, substance abuse, Substance-specific Intermediate Phenotypes

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
520101 Acute Subjective Response to Substances - Current - Specific - Drugs
520102 Acute Subjective Response to Substances - Current - Specific - Alcohol
520103 Acute Subjective Response to Substances - Current - General
520104 Acute Subjective Response to Substances - Current - Specific - Tobacco

Winhusen, T., et al. (2016) Design considerations for a pilot trial using a novel approach for evaluating smoking-cessation medication in methadone-maintained smokers. Contemp Clin Trials. 2016 March; 47: 334-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2016.02.008

Morean, M.E., de Wit, H., King, A.C., Sofuoglu, M., Rueger, S.Y., O'Malley, S.S. (2013) The drug effects questionnaire: psychometric support across three drug types. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 May; 227(1): 177-92. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2954-z