Making a decision on who you want to conduct your substance abuse or DWI evaluation is a crucial one to make. If you are getting this evaluation to meet the requirements asked of by your attorney or the legal requirements of the court, you’re likely suspicious that the professional requiring the evaluation is going to require you to participate in treatment. This may happen, so how do you know that you can trust the evaluation that you are getting? This list of things to consider is a good starting point in who you choose to conduct your substance abuse evaluation.
- A SASSI-3 is a good screening tool to have done, but it is not an evaluation or diagnostic tool by itself. This is considered to be a standard part of doing any substance abuse evaluation, but if this is the only tool that you complete, then you need to ask why.
- You should complete an in depth biopsychosocial assessment. Biopsychosocial means that the evaluator should ask questions about your medical history, your mental health history, and your family and social history in this evaluation. The ASI and the CASI are two commonly used assessment tools. The ASI is used for adults and the CASI is used for adolescents.
- Your evaluator should be credentialed or trained in providing substance abuse treatment. Some Licensed Professional Counselors have had training in providing substance abuse treatment, but many have not. Do not be afraid to ask your evaluator about his/her credentials or training. Look for credentials such as a licensed or certification in alcohol and drug counseling or chemical dependency counseling.
- The evaluator should follow the ASAM criteria for determining the level of care that you need for this substance abuse evaluation. This will determine if you need substance abuse education, outpatient substance abuse treatment, intensive outpatient treatment or a residential level of care.
- Your evaluator should know the barriers to you participating in the recommended level of care from the evaluation, and alternatives should be pointed out as appropriate.
Finding a professional who will provide you with an objective substance abuse evaluation is extremely important. If you are in legal trouble, and you need and evaluation, the above tips can help you with this. Please also check out my guest post on Frisco Attorney, Hunter Biederman’s website regarding completing objective substance abuse evaluations: http://www.friscodwilawyer.com/2011/11/articles/probation/substance-abuse-evaluations-in-a-dwi-probation/
Also, check out Hunter Biederman’s Blog Post on DWI Evaluations, which influenced me to write about this topic: http://www.friscodwilawyer.com/2008/07/articles/ramifications-of-a-dwi-convict/substance-abuse-evaluations-sassi-in-dwi-cases/