Do You Need a Court-Ordered Substance Abuse Assessment?

When it comes to an alcohol or drug addiction, what is true for some may be different for others. Substance abuse is a different experience for every single person. Unfortunately, this includes the consequences. Many times people find themselves in a legal dilemma because of their addiction. 

how to get a drug assessment

Whether it is a DUI, disorderly conduct, or worse, when substance abuse is involved, it must be taken into consideration. Whether it is alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or prescription medication, an assessment for the disease of addiction may be considered before conviction. At that time, you may be presented with a court-ordered substance abuse assessment request. 

Substance dependency changes more than just a person’s biological function. These harmful chemicals alter the way a person thinks and acts. A sober person is typically more capable of differentiating between right and wrong, at least in many cases. However, in a difficult situation, someone under the influence may not be able to think clearly enough before acting.

When it comes to trouble with the law, all factors need to be addressed appropriately, especially addiction. Because every case is different, it is important to look at these issues individually. In order to provide the best level of care, officers of the court typically request a substance abuse assessment. The assessment can make a difference in the outcome of the legal situation.

Gathering all information, including the instance of drug or alcohol abuse, allows for other treatment options to be discussed. Before deciding their ruling on misconduct, a judge or lawmaker will try to do what is best for all involved. This includes doing what will benefit the offender as well. Sometimes that means getting help for an alcohol or drug addiction. 

What Exactly is a Substance Abuse Assessment? 

A substance abuse assessment is mainly used to understand the severity of a person’s addiction. Specifically, how that addiction may have contributed to misconduct. A punishment and treatment options can then be formed, based on these findings. 

Addiction assessments include a vast amount of information that is gathered during the process. This determines which services are available to treat addiction in terms of also complying with the rulings of the court. More than 59% of rehab treatment facilities rely on these assessments to develop targeted addiction treatment and specialized rehabilitation methods. 

Many people are not familiar with how to get a drug assessment once one is ordered for them. In California, 700 physicians are licensed to perform these assessments, and 446 of them are specifically certified by the Board of Addiction. When required by law to acquire a substance abuse assessment, it is important to understand how the information collected will be used. Choosing the best service to use can have major impacts on how your individual case is treated. 

Court Mandated Assessments

There are many circumstances where you might find yourself in need of an addiction assessment. While not all evaluations are court-mandated, a good majority of them are. Addiction has an effect on family situations, so they are sometimes requested in cases involving children. 

Some common reasons many request information on how to get a drug assessment in California include: 

  • Child custody cases, either to regain or have a ruling regarding the outcome
  • Separation and divorce rulings
  • For sentencing of a DUI
  • For sentencing of a DWI
  • Regarding any other possession or drug charges
  • When taking part in or being considered for drug court programs 

Because the findings of drug and alcohol assessments can affect the outcome of a situation, the information must be precisely recorded. Once you are required by a judge to have an evaluation performed, you must refer to a reputable and certified specialist for these services. 

They can especially come in handy when facing a driving violation and the consequences that follow. Whether it is deferred sentencing, or addiction treatment requirements, knowing how to get an alcohol assessment is going to be very valuable. 

Who Performs these Assessments?

Most often, when asking how to get a drug assessment, the question of who performs them is also asked about. Drug and alcohol evaluations are done by professionals that have been trained in this area of expertise. 

These specialists consist of medical professionals from a wide variety of fields. Some health care workers that are available when determining how to get a drug assessment performed for you are: 

  • Social workers
  • Rehab professionals
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists
  • Specialized nurses
  • Medical doctors

Most often, those that are capable of performing these services accurately are trained in the science of human behaviors. They may also work in drug and alcohol rehab treatment centers. They will be able to assess physical, emotional, and behavioral conditions that will be relevant. 

There is typically a questionnaire that must be completed and made to be presented to a judge in court. They also typically include having a drug screening performed. Every certified professional has their own specific method when determining the severity of the addiction. Their findings are to conclude how addiction may have an influence over a person’s life, actions, and wellbeing. 

When are Substance Abuse Assessments Required?

how to get a drug assessment

After you are required to have a substance abuse assessment performed in California, it is your responsibility to take action. The findings must be done by a recognized and certified professional in order to be considered admissible. 

While you may be able to find some online services to be done at home, they may not be considered efficient enough to be considered a legal option. Many times the questions can be confusing to the average person, rendering them inconclusive. This can lead to communication errors or contamination of the results. Because of this, they are often deemed unacceptable and could lead to unnecessary or inappropriate punishments, void of medical attention. 

To ensure that each case is handled individually, an administrator from the probation or parole division may be utilized to obtain this information. Other times, the court will be very specific as to the information that needs to be acquired through these evaluations. 

However, in order to avoid confusion regarding how to get a drug assessment, drug treatment centers are available to assist. Reaching out to a rehab center for information on taking the next step is a great option to take advantage of. Otherwise, your legal representation may have some options to consider, as well.

Asking the Right Questions About a Drug or Alcohol Assessment

When deciding on how to get a drug assessment for you or a loved one, choosing a reputable source can make a difference. It can be difficult to find the right specialist for your addiction evaluation. Because the process can be unique to each service, doing some research will help to make the best possible choice. 

Drug and alcohol treatment centers specialize in this type of evaluation. They often refer to the findings in order to provide you the best addiction treatment programs that are available. They utilize these tools as part of their detox programs to set you up for the rest of your therapy. 

However, upon request from the court, you may need to look into these services on your own. Be sure to address some of the common differences between each service, or call your local rehab to make an appointment. Some things to consider are detailed below. 

Experience, Credentials, and References

Just as you would when shopping around for any other health care provider, you must do so in this case. When looking into how to get a drug assessment, the same consideration must be taken in order to get accurate results. 

Be sure to learn about professional sanctions and state-approved licensing for each individual. This is important when it comes to what information will legally hold up in court. However, it is also important to ensure that you receive the best addiction care once you begin your intensive rehab program. In order to make sure that your addiction assessment is considered in a court of law, the examiner must be reputable and certified. 

Additionally, with a reputation in mind, having experience in the area of drug assessment will also benefit you in the long run. Rehab treatment centers are known for having excellent reputations in these matters. Most examiners, after having performed these services at length, will know how to get a drug assessment done accurately. 

In most cases, the experience will be easy to identify by simply asking. Other times, it may be valuable to look into testimonials or references from previous cases and their outcomes.  

Private Practice or Substance Abuse Professional

In absolutely any situation, the more a person knows about their specialty, the better they will be at it. Rehab treatment professionals perform daily in an environment that revolves around getting help for addiction. Especially in terms of residential treatment centers, they are very educated in providing care for addicts working toward recovery. 

Those that work in private practices are considered capable of identifying signs of addiction; however, it isn’t exactly their specialty. They work with many other illnesses aside from substance abuse, which runs the risk of misdiagnosis. Drug and alcohol trained specialists see patients struggling with addiction and mental health daily. This contributes greatly when it comes to how to get a drug assessment with accuracy. 

Unique Report or Simple Checklist

How a substance abuse assessment is presented is just as important as the information reported in it. If the evaluating party submits a minimal checklist to the court, it can be seen as unprofessional. The presentation is then at risk of being deemed inadmissible or lacking consideration in rulings. 

Sometimes, less is more. However, this is not the case when being sentenced or convicted of a crime. Rehab treatment specialists take the time to ensure that each report is unique and professionally crafted. Furthermore, this goes to show that the alleged offender is serious about getting help for their addiction. It suggests that each patient was fairly and properly assessed.

Whether or not substance abuse played a part in an offense is essentially up to the judge. Regardless, a well-documented analysis does tend to influence the severity of the sentencing. Unique and professional reports can sometimes even lead to the recommendation to defer jail time to first receive rehabilitation treatment. 

Take the Time to Review Your Assessment

Rehab treatment centers take the time to thoroughly review your individual addiction situation. They do this to determine whether you are eligible for partial hospitalization or if more aggressive treatment methods would better suit you. Because of the sensitive nature of the information, these are very trusted sources for addiction assessment. 

However, when acquiring these documents from another source, take care to review the information recorded carefully. These are personal and private health care records. Be aware of the information that is being shared in court or otherwise. There is no room for error when your future can depend on it. 

Drug Screening and Past History

In the same ways that detox and therapy are essential to rehab treatment, drug screenings are important to these examinations. This is why it is important that you chose a source that will evaluate you in person. If you choose a virtual assessment, additional fees may be required in order to gather the mandatory information. 

Especially in cases of alcohol addiction and DUI charges, this information is very useful. 

How Many Assessments are Necessary?

When looking at how to get a drug assessment, it is important that you only do the exam one time. Regardless of how many substances you struggle with an addiction to, only one test is acceptable. 

Many people that suffer from addiction are using multiple substances at the same time. When faced with driving under the influence of alcohol, one might not consider disclosing information about having a dependency on other medications. Having abused medications such as opioids or benzodiazepines may be essential to the method of care required. Having more than one assessment can make things confusing. 

Are you Obligated to Use the Services Recommended? 

how to get a drug assessment

Where and how to get a drug assessment is essentially up to you. There are many options available. Getting an assessment done based on the recommendations from your legal team may be the best way to go. However, rehab treatment centers are professionally trained to look for both underlying psychological illnesses as well as many types of addiction. Often, these are present at the same time. 

In addition to performing the initial evaluation, they are also best equipped to treat addiction as well as mental and behavioral illnesses. Presenting with more than one illness at the same time is referred to as having a dual diagnosis.

In cases where a dual diagnosis is present, having multiple reviews of the case can cause the information to be skewed. Be sure that whatever source you receive evaluation through, they are capable of identifying mental illness as well as addiction. The right company will construct an appropriate write up that includes all of these conditions. 

Getting a Fair Price

In this case, what they say is true, you get what you pay for. When looking into how to get a drug assessment, you may come across a wide variety of price ranges. Especially considering this written evaluation could alter the course of punishment in some cases. The quality and presentation will genuinely make a difference. 

Ensuring that the facility performing the service is accredited and that their work is presentable is a must. For reference, in order to obtain a document to be considered in court, one should expect to pay at least $150 to $200 or more. This is true, at least as far as pricing in the United States. 

However, the more detail that is given in the report, the higher the price range may be. All things considered, paying out to have the proper research done could save you twice as much in the end. That is something to consider. 

While this price out of pocket is not likely to be covered by insurance, it may be worth putting in the extra funds. Rehab treatment facilities commonly include this documentation within their treatment practices. That suggests that by participating in their rehab program, you may be able to cut the cost and still reap the rewards. 

In addition, the cost of rehab can be partially covered by insurance in some cases. Looking into these services, along with a drug assessment, may benefit you financially. 

However, if you are dealing with a short time frame, and need to find out how to get a drug assessment completed in a hurry, the cost may reflect the rush. Take the time to do the research ahead of time. This can ensure that you are not only getting a good price, but quality work to go along with it.

Going to Court without a Drug or Alcohol Assessment

Unfortunately, going to court without a required assessment will only hurt you in the long run. Failing to set up and complete an appropriate exam can result in more harsh sentences or extended lengths of probation. Not only will you have violated a court order, but you may face unnecessary consequences and continue to struggle with ongoing addiction. The sooner, the better, and the better is available with a trained and experienced rehab treatment specialist. 

Find Out More on How to Get a Drug Assessment Today

Relying on the services available at CNV Detox can help you through this process in a stress-free manner. Accurate, private, and respectful evaluations can be done by professionals in the substance abuse treatment field. Ensuring that your documents are appropriately presented and legally admissible is a guarantee. 

Through years of experience and the work of certified professionals, you can rely on their services then and after. From initial assessment, through rehab and into recovery, with an individual aftercare plan, it is never too late to turn your life around. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction and is facing legal charges, don’t wait to get them the help that they need. Substance abuse ruins lives in so many ways. Addiction treatment can be the answer you are searching for. Contact us today for more information on rehab and treatment services available for you today. 

References: 

https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/files/SAFERR_AppendixD.pdf

https://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/dui-and-dwi/the-importance-dui-evaluation.htm

https://healthdata.gov/dataset/california-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-assessment-caldata-1991-1993

https://catalog.data.gov/dataset/california-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-assessment-caldata-1991-1993

https://www.datafiles.samhsa.gov/study/california-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-assessment-caldata-1991-1993-nid13527