What is a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation?
A drug and alcohol evaluation, also referred to as a substance abuse evaluation, is a complete review of your drug and/or alcohol usage and determines the appropriate treatment or intervention.
How is a drug evaluation different from an alcohol evaluation?
What makes an evaluation for drug use different from an alcohol evaluation? While both are used to help assess the existence and/or severity of a problem with controlled substances, the assessment for drug use is more complex. Alcohol, if obtained and consumed over the age of 21, is legal in the U.S. It is widely accepted as an enhancement to social settings, and is easily acquired. A majority of the population actually expects that most young adults will at least try alcohol upon turning the legal drinking age. How much you consume, how much control you demonstrate while consuming, and whether you decide to abide by the rules of alcohol consumption, will determine whether or not you may eventually have a problem with it.
Drug use is different. Possession and use of illicit drugs is not socially accepted, and is illegal. We have education in schools to try and prevent children and young adults ever getting involved with drugs. We have “Just Say No” campaigns, and a “war on drugs” all to minimize the numbers of people who may become dependent upon them or become involved in criminal activity involving drugs. However, there is another serious category of drugs that on their own are not illegal. Drugs prescribed by a physician, and used as prescribed, by the patient on the label, are legal. Yet, more and more, we are seeing just how easy it is for an individual to acquire and become addicted to prescription drugs, and how others are taking advantage of selling them for recreational use, which is dangerous and illegal. Therefore, when evaluating drug use (or abuse), there are several important factors to consider, such as: the large variety of drugs available, how they are acquired, the types of reactions that differ from drug to drug, the variety of ways in which the drugs are used, and that certain types can be more addictive than others.
In the test below, you will find a list of 20 YES/NO questions similar to those you would find incorporated into a comprehensive drug evaluation process conducted by professionals, and are similar to ones you can find in other online sources. They are available here, to serve as a “self-test” that you can take which will give you a better idea as to how serious your drug use is. These particular questions can be found on the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction website, which offers a wide variety of important information. Carefully read each statement. When preparing each response, take into consideration your actions over the course of the past 12 months. Answer each question with a YES or NO.
To be clear, “drug abuse” refers to: (1) the use of prescribed or "over-the-counter" drugs in excess of the directions, and (2) the consumption of any non-medical use of drugs. The various classes of drugs may include: cannabis (also known as marijuana, hash), solvents, tranquilizers (such as Valium), barbiturates, cocaine, stimulants (as in Speed), hallucinogens (such as LSD), or narcotics, like heroin. Remember that the questions in this test do not include alcoholic beverages
The Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST):
1. Have you used drugs other than those required for medicinal reasons?
2. Have you abused prescription drugs?
3. Do you abuse more than one drug at a time?
4. Can you get through the week without using drugs?
5. Are you always able to stop using drugs when you want to?
6. Have you had "blackouts" or "flashbacks" as a result of drug use?
7. Do you ever feel bad or guilty about your drug use?
8. Does your spouse (or parents) ever complain about your involvement with drugs?
9. Has drug abuse created problems between you and your spouse or your parents?
10. Have you lost friends because of your use of drugs?
11. Have you neglected your family because of your use of drugs?
12. Have you been in trouble at work because of drug abuse?
13. Have you lost a job because of drug abuse?
14. Have you gotten into fights when under the influence of drugs?
15. Have you engaged in illegal activities in order to obtain drugs?
16. Have you been arrested for possession of illegal drugs?
17. Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms (felt sick) when you stopped taking drugs?
18. Have you had medical problems as a result of your drug use (e.g. memory loss, hepatitis, convulsions, bleeding, etc.)?
19. Have you gone to anyone for help for a drug problem?
20. Have you been involved in a treatment program specifically related to drug use?
If you take this test online through an organization such as NCADD, you can submit your answers and receive test results directly from them. If you find that you hardly answered YES, remember that you obviously had some concern in order to take the time to answer the questions in the first place. Heed that inner guide, the warning you are giving yourself, to find help from those with the knowledge and experience who can provide you with important information about drug abuse and suggest how to keep you on a positive path.
However, if you answered YES to more questions than you answered NO, you probably understand that you need to seek professional help. If you have experienced withdrawal symptoms or experienced medical problems as a result of your drug use, you require medical attention in order to regain control and heal your body. Trained professionals will be able to offer you a comprehensive assessment and recommend necessary treatment.
If you are involved in illegal or criminal activity due to your drug use, you also have a serious problem, and risk obtaining a criminal record and/or jail time. As you may already know from personal experience or by watching those you “use” with, finding and maintaining a job becomes increasingly difficult with a criminal background. Dependence on drugs also seriously interferes with making and maintaining important personal relationships. Getting caught up in drugs can turn your life upside down. However, there is always hope and help available. If you are reading this now, you have already taken action in a positive direction toward taking care of yourself. Use this self-evaluation as your means to finding the right solution to your needs.
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Moffitt Wellness Retreat is a luxury addiction treatment center in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Our focus and expertise is in developing and administering personalized addiction programs to optimize each individual patient’s treatment. Do not hesitate to connect with our professional staff to provide answers or get you the necessary support.
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