Being ordered to get an alcohol and drug assessment can create a lot of anxiety. What if I’m labeled an alcoholic? What if the evaluator just wants to say I have a problem just so she can send me to her own treatment program? What if my report makes me look bad in court?
These are all valid concerns but there are things you can do increase the chances that you won’t be manipulated in the process.
- Fear of Being Labeled - First, tell the truth about how you use alcohol and let the evaluator do their job. The evaluators report should clearly state the reasons for any conclusion and any recommendation. If it doesn’t and you think the outcome is not justified, ask the evaluator to provide reasons for their conclusions. And very important … never agree to have an evaluation sent to the court that you have not read first (for fairness and accuracy) and been given a chance to respond to.
- Fear of Being Referred for More Services - Be careful if you are using an evaluator that is employed by a treatment center or Intensive Outpatient program. While most treatment centers may be ethical and impartial there is a built-in risk that the treatment center will skew your evaluation towards diagnosing you and then recommending treatment….at their facility. This can be motivated by a desire for profit, but it also can simply happen because the evaluator is immersed in an environment that tends to equate alcohol use with disease and diagnoses. To this point, our service at ndsbs.com does not operate or have a financial connection to any treatment center or Intensive Outpatient program. And in those cases where we do recommend some outpatient counseling, it is never required to get that service from our facility.
- Fear the Evaluation Will Make You Look Bad in Court – A well done alcohol assessment should not draw conclusions about your overall use of alcohol based on a single incident…. And that includes a DUI, disorderly conduct, public intoxication or any other legal incident. Rather, the conclusion is based on use over time. A legal incident might be one “data point” that sheds light on a bigger picture but we frequently find that it misrepresents the bigger picture. Furthermore, a seasoned professional will stay away from comments in the final report about your guilt or innocence in an active legal case. Your attorney’s job is to provide you with a defense. An experience evaluator won’t pretend to be your lawyer and won’t interfere with your defense, by over- commenting on or over-disclosing the details you share with them about the incident.