The use of drugs and alcohol can impair judgment, impact your ability to drive safely, and affect you in other detrimental ways. Understandably, many people who abuse drugs and alcohol find themselves in trouble with the law. Often, an individual who faces drug and alcohol-related charges may be required to complete a court-ordered drug and alcohol evaluation. While this can seem intimidating, an evaluation can be the first step on your journey toward a healthier lifestyle. What can you expect during a drug and alcohol evaluation?
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Understanding a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation
An evaluation aims to determine the extent of a person’s drug and alcohol use. Important factors like the substances consumed, the dosages, and how frequently they are used will all be reviewed. Evaluations are completed by non-judgmental, impartial experts who will complete a thorough, honest assessment. Usually, these are licensed, trained professionals, such as a nurse, a doctor, social workers, a therapist, or other equally knowledgeable professionals.
The evaluation findings will be used to determine if misuse or abuse is present and the recommended treatment plan. Be aware that not everyone who completes a drug and alcohol evaluation will receive a recommendation for treatment. These evaluations are commonly completed because of a court order, but they can also be completed at the individual’s request. For example, if an individual wants to seek treatment and achieve sobriety, an evaluation would be completed upfront so that a customized treatment plan can be created.
The Steps in a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation
The process is the same regardless of your reason for requesting a drug and alcohol evaluation. Initially, a screening will be completed to determine if a problem with drug and alcohol use is present. If the screening reveals that no problem with misuse or abuse of a substance is present, the evaluation will conclude. The evaluation will progress to the next step if misuse or abuse is suspected. The drug and alcohol abuse screening is usually completed through one or more questionnaires. These may be a state-provided questionnaire, an Alcohol Use Inventory questionnaire, a CAGE questionnaire, or a Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory form.
The next step in an evaluation is a physical assessment. During this step, the specific problem and the severity of the problem will be determined. In many cases, blood and urine tests will be done at this time to look for the presence of drugs and alcohol in the system. Based on the outcome of this assessment, the individual may be advised to return to the treatment center for a follow-up in the near future. Alternatively, the individual may be referred to drug counseling or a treatment program. Be aware that you are not obligated to follow the recommendations unless the court orders you to do so.
The Assessment of an Evaluation
After the screening and thorough physical review have been completed, the evaluator can identify with certainty if there is a problem with drugs and alcohol. Specific symptoms will be outlined. In as many as 60% of individuals with a problem with drugs and alcohol, substance abuse co-occurs with a psychiatric illness. Often, one contributes to the other, or they both drive each other. The evaluator’s assessment can determine if this is present.
One resource that the evaluator uses during the assessment is a Diagnostic Interview Schedule IV, which helps to determine the presence of co-existing conditions. Another primary resource that is used during the assessment process is the Addiction Severity Index. This index considers seven unique aspects of substance abuse: legal status, alcohol use, drug abuse, psychiatric status, family and social issues, medical status and employment. Often, these are factors that may trigger or contribute to substance abuse or misuse.
What to Expect After Your Evaluation
After completing a thorough evaluation, your evaluator will spend time reviewing the findings with you. This discussion may include findings related to the significance of your substance abuse problem and contributing factors. These contributing factors could include your criminal history, your emotional stability, your work history, your personal and social history, and more. The evaluator will make a recommendation that is personalized specifically for you.
In some cases, counseling sessions and random testing for drug and alcohol use may be recommended to the court. Based on your performance in these areas, that may be the extent of the court-ordered requirements. Some people, however, may receive more significant treatment recommendations, such as completing an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Other recommendations or requirements could include substance abuse education classes and completion of a DUI Alcohol and Drug Use Risk Reduction program. Group therapy and 12-step programs may be required in conjunction with these other recommendations or as stand-alone requirements.
Request a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation Today
Regardless of the outcome of the evaluation, your current legal issues may be a wake-up call that a change is in order. At Long Island Treatment Center, we focus on helping each person achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We offer comprehensive evaluations and a full range of inpatient and outpatient treatment options. More than that, we will tailor your treatment plan to fit your unique needs. If you have received a court order for a drug and alcohol evaluation, our dedicated team is available to help. Schedule your evaluation by calling our office today.
Do you have to say yes to a drug test?
Yes, you can say no to a drug test. However, the consequences could be far worse than simply taking it.
Can the court drug test you without warning?
Yes, they can show up at the person’s home without warning and conduct regular inspections for drugs or other harmful items.