Substance abuse and addiction often wreak havoc on a person’s life – it can impact them profoundly on many levels, and cause long-lasting damage to the mind, body, and relationships. When drug or alcohol use has spiraled out of control, they may participate in activities that jeopardize the well-being of themselves or that of others.
A drug and alcohol assessment is a tool used by medical and addiction professionals to ascertain the extent of a person’s abuse of substances and determine how to treat them most effectively and achieve the best outcome.
Whether a client’s motivation to undergo a drug and alcohol assessment is due to legal consequences (arrest/conviction of a crime), prompting from concerned family members or friends, or a personal desire to confront substance abuse, seeking an evaluation of this kind can be a catalyst and essential resource on the road to recovery.
Purposes of a Drug and Alcohol Assessment
- To determine if the individual suffers from drug or alcohol addiction
- To ascertain the extent of substance use or addiction
- To identify co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety, if any, or polydrug use
- To determine the extent to which drug or alcohol use impacts a person’s life
- To present an understanding of the person and their unique circumstances so that the team may set a baseline and design a treatment plan that is best suited for his or her wants and needs
More About the Drug and Alcohol Assessment Process
A substance abuse assessment is an essential first step in determining a person’s needs regarding drug or alcohol abuse treatment. An evaluation consists of gathering biological, social, psychological and historical information that is obtained through interviews and diagnostic screening materials. An investigation of these results should reveal a sharp picture of the person’s substance abuse and dependence.
This information is critical to professionals in making the appropriate professional recommendations, whether it consists of residential or outpatient substance abuse/addiction treatment, therapy or other approaches.
Court-Ordered Substance Abuse Assessment
If a criminal case involves drugs or alcohol, the presiding judge may order a drug and alcohol assessment to be administered by a certified agency. These are examples of circumstances/criminal charges in which a judge might order an evaluation:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) or Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Drug or alcohol possession (e.g., open intoxicant or minor in possession)
- Drug trafficking or unlawful distribution
- Manufacturing or distributing controlled substances
- Disorderly conduct
- Public intoxication
- Using fake identification
During an assessment, which may take up to two hours, clients interview with a licensed professional who is trained and specializes in substance abuse/addiction treatment. He or she will perform a thorough review of a person’s substance abuse, medical/mental health, and social/family history.
This assessment is essential because it can identify if a chronic condition such as addiction is present, or if there is not enough evidence to support that there is an ongoing problem. Regardless, a person may still have to participate in various programs or obligations as deemed necessary by the legal system.
Depending on the incident and sentencing in addition to the recommendations of the evaluating professional, a person may be required to go to one or more of the following:
- DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program (RRP)
- Random drug and/or alcohol urinalysis
- 12 step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous
- Drug or alcohol abuse education classes and counseling sessions
- Drug or alcohol abuse treatment programs
A Drug and Alcohol Assessment Is a Tool Meant to Foster Success
Although a person might feel embarrassed or ashamed and disinclined to be forthcoming about drug or alcohol use behaviors, he should acknowledge that this assessment is being performed for his own benefit. Moreover, an addiction professional cannot accurately develop a plan without knowing precisely where a client stands within a substance abuse or addiction problem.
Indeed, this is the time for a person to be honest about the extent of her substance abuse, as well as any other factors that may influence her drug or alcohol addiction or recovery options. By hiding habits or information, a person is only harming herself and hindering the chance for a full recovery.
Schedule A Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Today
Our center provides clients with comprehensive substance abuse assessment and treatment services. Whether for the purpose of meeting a probation requirement, driver’s license reinstatement, a court appearance, or personal issues, we can help. We use a variety of evidence-based alcohol and drug addiction assessment instruments, and these unbiased, objective tools are administered and analyzed by licensed clinicians.
Recognizing there is a problem is the first step in working toward a resolution, and this is especially true regarding substance abuse and addiction. An assessment is often an eye-opening experience for both clients and their loved ones, as it offers a compelling and undeniable case for the pursuance of sobriety.