The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), written at the request of the World Health Organization/US Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Task Force on Psychiatric Assessment Instruments, combines questions from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule with questions designed to elicit Present State Examination items. It is fully structured to allow administration by lay interviewers and scoring of diagnoses by computer. A special Substance Abuse Module covers tobacco, alcohol, and other drug abuse in considerable detail, allowing the assessment of the quality and severity of dependence and its course. This article describes the design and development of the CIDI and the current field testing of a slightly reduced "core" version. The field test is being conducted in 19 centers around the world to assess the interviews' reliability and its acceptability to clinicians and the general populace in different cultures and to provide data on which to base revisions that may be found necessary. In addition, questions to assess International Classification of Diseases, ninth revision, and the revised DSM-III diagnoses are being written. If all goes well, the CIDI will allow investigators reliably to assess mental disorders according to the most widely accepted nomenclatures in many different populations and cultures.