A Complete Guide To Taking A Substance Abuse Evaluation

We all make mistakes, right?

When it comes to mistakes including drug and alcohol use, though, we need to be somewhat circumspect. The number of deaths due to drug overdose has spiked in recent years, with over 70,000 Americans losing their lives in 2019. Governments and numerous institutions are battling to curb this sad statistic.

Have you found yourself in a position where you are required to complete a substance abuse evaluation? If so, what can you expect?

Let’s explore this together.

What Is a Substance Abuse Evaluation?

A substance abuse evaluation is generally mandated in situations where a person has broken the law. Perhaps they have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They may have been caught in possession of illegal substances, or are minors in possession of alcohol.

However, these assessments can also be voluntarily undertaken if an individual is seeking help in overcoming drug and alcohol dependency. This is especially true when it starts affecting their home life, their health, and financial security.

Evaluations like these serve to determine if there is a substance abuse problem, and if so, what the scale of the problem is. Professionals will explore the type of substance used, the family, social and health situation of the person, and various other personal matters.

Ultimately, its purpose is to assist the person on the road to recovery by providing the most effective treatment plan.

Screening Processes

All evaluations will begin with a screening process. These vary depending on the individual and the substance used, the most common being:

  • Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI)
  • Substance Abuse Subtle Screening (SASSI)
  • CAGE questionnaire
  • Brief Screener for Alcohol Tobacco, and Other Drugs (BSTAD)
  • Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Drugs (TAPS)

There are several ways of conducting a drug and alcohol evaluation online which many prefer when starting down this road.

While the screening methods vary, the purpose is to gain a deeper understanding of the problem and where the person is, mentally and emotionally. These tools provide a jump-off point for the next step in a substance abuse evaluation.


Based on the results of the screening tests, an experienced medical professional will conduct an assessment. Again, various interview methods are used according to the situation. The aim of the interview is to get a deeper understanding of the individual’s lifestyle, medical, or mental health challenges. They may want to engage with family members to ensure that they have a complete picture.

Treatment Recommendations

Once the assessment has been concluded, trained professionals consult for treatment recommendations. Social workers and doctors work alongside counselors and psychologists to develop a recovery plan. The best results come from tailored programs that take into consideration each individual’s unique history.

Don’t Delay

If you or a close friend or family member are struggling with addictions that are affecting the quality of your life, then don’t wait. A substance use evaluation is the critical first step in identifying disorders that can ultimately prove fatal. Recovery is possible with the right care.

If you’ve found this article helpful, we’d like to encourage you to look into our other conversations on health, lifestyle, and living in this modern age.

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