How Do You Get a Drug or Alcohol Assessment in New Jersey?

A drug or alcohol assessment is used to evaluate an individual’s drug or alcohol misuse. A drug or alcohol assessment can be done through a concerned loved ones recommendation. However, in most cases, a drug or alcohol assessment is mandated by the court after an unlawful event, such as a DUI. The main purpose of a drug or alcohol assessment is to determine whether or not addiction is present.

Although one may be initially overwhelmed by hearing the words “drug or alcohol assessment,” we assure you that this is a very beneficial step to take. A drug or alcohol assessment allows you to receive a wake-up call and address what’s truly going on in your life. 

After a drug or alcohol evaluation in New Jersey, an effective treatment plan will be developed for the recovering individual. Here at Footprints to Recovery, we can help you take care of a drug or alcohol assessment for personal or court purposes. 

What is a Drug or Alcohol Assessment?

A drug or alcohol assessment also referred to as an alcohol or substance abuse evaluation, is made up of screening, assessment, follow-up, and referral services. During the screening, individuals will be screened to determine if addiction or co-occurring disorders are present. A co-occurring disorder is a term used when a mental health disorder and addiction are present at once. Screening also incorporates a set of basic yes or no questions. 

The next part is a drug or alcohol assessment. This part focuses on defining and outlining the nature of any potential drug or alcohol issue. Screening is used to determine if there is a problem, while the assessment seeks to determine the depth of the problem. This allows the medical care providers to create a thorough and uniquely beneficial treatment plan.

The questions asked during an assessment are typically centered around your family background and history, your age of first drug use or alcohol use, and your family history of substance misuse issues. Assessments may also incorporate a quick drug test, with immediate results onsite.

The third part of the process is the follow-up, which isn’t always necessary. In certain cases, a follow-up is recommended when a treatment plan needs to be created, and an addiction is present.

Referral, the fourth part of the evaluation, is the process of referring drug or alcohol-dependent individuals to appropriate treatment services. For example, someone struggling with alcoholism may be referred to residential treatment at a recovery center in New Jersey, such as ours. 

Let’s say you or a loved one have a drug or alcohol assessment mandated by the court. A drug or alcohol assessment for this purpose includes tools such as:

  • Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV (DIS-IV): This is a tool used to determine the current level of an individual’s drug or alcohol use. The severity of addiction is dependent upon the person. This method is usually done through a questionnaire or series of questionnaires. 
  • Addiction Severity Index (ASI): This is a less rigid discussion that assesses up to seven areas, cited by NIAAA as “medical status, employment and support, drug use, alcohol use, legal status, family/social status, and psychiatric status.” This goes into depth regarding your or a loved one misuse throughout a lifetime. 

Why Does Court Mandate Drug or Alcohol Assessments?

A drug or alcohol assessment mandated by court is also used to decide whether or not addiction is present. An assessment mandated by the court is typically the result of an arrest. For example, driving while intoxicated or holding an illegal substance. 

After a drug or alcohol assessment for court, at least one of the following may be mandated:

  • DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program (RRP)
  • Random drug and/or alcohol screening
  • AA or NA meetings
  • Addiction education class(es)
  • Addiction counseling sessions
  • Rehab program; either individual or group and either inpatient or outpatient

We encourage you to view this drug or alcohol assessment in a positive light. Although this situation may be challenging, the goal is to help you or a loved one break free of addiction and receive help if necessary. 

What is the Purpose of an Alcohol or Drug Assessment Mandated by Court?

Drug or alcohol assessments are used as a way to determine whether or not an individual is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. These assessments serve as a thorough evaluation. After the evaluation, a treatment plan is put in place if deemed necessary. 

There are a variety of reasons as to why a drug or alcohol assessment is mandated by the court:

  • To decide whether or not the individual has a drug or alcohol addiction
  • To determine the severity of the substance use 
  • To detect any co-occurring disorders, (medically, psychologically, or psychiatrically)
  • To gauge the impact of drug or alcohol use in the individual’s life
  • To provide a foundation for creating a treatment plan

Be Prepared: The Drug and Alcohol Assessment Process

Whether or not the drug or alcohol assessment is mandated by the court, you’ll still most likely need to have certain documents with you. These may include: a copy of the results of your Needs Assessment if you attended a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program (RRP), a report from the Department of Driver Services or DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) describing your driving history (typically needs to go back 7-9 years), a copy of any criminal records or reports, and a copy of the arrest report.

The length of a drug or alcohol assessment will depend on many factors. However, they generally run between 60 to 90 minutes. You or a loved one can expect to be interviewed by an addiction specialist. The addiction specialist will do an in-depth review of your drug or alcohol abuse history. Then, they’ll evaluate the documents you brought and take it from there. 

Examples of Questions You May Be Asked During a Drug or Alcohol Assessment in New Jersey

We’d like to emphasize that there’s no reason to be nervous about a drug or alcohol assessment! This assessment is mainly just a means of gathering information. Some examples of questions you may be asked include:

  • Has anyone ever suggested you quit or cut back on your drug/alcohol use?
  • Has using drugs or alcohol affected your reputation?
  • Have you made promises to control your drug or alcohol use and then broken those promises?
  • Have you ever switched to different drinks or drugs or altered your using pattern to try to control or reduce your consumption?
  • Have you ever gotten into financial, legal, or marital difficulties due to using?
  • Have you ever lost time from work because of using or drinking?
  • Have you ever sneaked or hidden your use?
  • On occasion, do you feel uncomfortable if alcohol or your drug is not available?

A Drug or Alcohol Assessment in New Jersey Helps You Begin the Addiction Recovery Journey

We understand that learning about drug or alcohol assessments can be overwhelming and unpleasant. After all, when has an assessment even excited any one of us? That being said, we encourage you to view this as a learning process that’ll propel you forward in the long run. Getting through the initial hump of seeking help allows you to make the necessary changes to change your life. 

A major advantage of a drug and alcohol assessment is that it forces you to be honest with yourself. Coming to terms with any toxic behaviors allows you to take those rose-colored glasses off. In other words, it’s crucial to be honest with yourself about any toxic habits you’ve had in the past or currently have. 

The medical professionals and law officials around you want to help you so remember to be honest! Honesty will allow us, as well as them, to develop the most accurate and complementary treatment plan for you. This treatment plan will be tailored to your specific and unique needs.

Whether it’s a drug or alcohol problem, the court assessment will help you determine the steps you should take next. Drug or alcohol assessments in New Jersey help collect important information regarding a substance use problem. This information is then used to create a treatment plan that sets you off on the road to addiction recovery. 

At Footprints to Recovery, we offer an extensive range of treatment services. Covering all kinds of addictions and mental health disorders, our goal is to lead you towards a sober and fulfilling life.

Benefits of Enrolling Into a Treatment Program

Following your drug or alcohol assessment, we’ll create a treatment plan that works best for you. There are many benefits to a treatment plant at a recovery center such as ours. We use a variety of evidence-based therapies with a focal point on mental health. We’ll provide you with a toolkit of healthy coping mechanisms and ways to deal with cravings.

From comfortable amenities to around the clock care, you or a loved one can finally begin to get better. Some of these many benefits of treatment include:

  • A licensed and caring staff that puts your needs first
  • A range of evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical-behavioral therapy
  • High-quality medical care 
  • Use of amenities such as exercise rooms and holistic care

Footprints to Recovery is Here to Help!

Our approach to drug and alcohol treatment is straightforward; we listen to what your needs are and then meet you where you are at. Every recovering individual has a story and background that’s unique to him or her. From one-on-one sessions to group or family therapy, we work with you to develop a personalized plan that addresses all parts of your addiction.

No matter what you’re going through, please remember that there is most certainly a way out. With the willingness to get better and a thorough treatment plan, change can be made in your or a loved one’s life. A drug or alcohol assessment in New Jersey is the first step in assessing addiction and striving towards a long-lasting sober life. 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to find a Footprints to Recovery center closest to you here. We’re waiting for your call!

Stephanie Ballard, LPC, CADC

Currently attending The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Business Psychology PhD Program with an emphasis in Consulting. Graduate of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Masters of Arts in Clinical Counseling Program with an emphasis in Addiction.

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