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What To Expect from a Drug Assessment

woman undergoes drug assessment

A drug assessment is usually one of the first steps in treatment when entering drug or alcohol rehab. During an evaluation, clinicians develop a treatment plan that will include detox and treatment based on several factors, including severity of addiction. Considerations such as mental health will also be taken into account. Learn what to expect from a drug assessment in rehab.


The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI) helps clinicians assess people in rehab and help evaluate the likelihood they have substance abuse disorder. It also helps to evaluate the person’s beliefs around substance use (whether they think it is a problem) and their readiness to change or receive help. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a self-report survey which assesses attitudes, behaviors, and use of alcohol, which help to determine problematic drinking behaviors. A person may be asked:

  • How much they drink
  • Whether alcohol interferes with daily life
  • How they view their own alcohol use

Questionnaires and Tests

Some of the following are just a few of the questionnaires and tests that may be administered to help determine the best path for a person in rehab.

  • CAGE Questionnaire: an assessment that is a four-question survey used to assess alcohol abuse. The questions center around areas like the ability to cut back on drinking, feeling guilty about it, and needing to drink to feel ‘normal’
  • Laboratory tests: includes a urine test and sometimes a blood test. Determines substances a person may be using.
  • Background/history: treatment providers gather details about behavioral health history and substance use patterns, including family members. They get information about physical and mental illness experienced by the person and immediate family

Mental Health Screening

A mental health professional gathers information about co-occurring mental health symptoms and confirms or revises existing mental health disorder diagnoses. Examples of these tools may include:

  • University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale (URICA)
  • Mental Health Screening Form – III
  • Symptom Distress Scale (SDS)
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory – II (MMPI-II)
  • Millon Clinical Multiaxial Personality Inventory – III (MCMI-III)
  • Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)

People may also undergo trauma assessments which can look at underlying issues for substance use disorders that should be addressed in treatment. People who are in the assessment phase for treatment are also going to need a risk assessment for possible self-harm. People are screened to make sure they will not be of risk to themselves or others and that this is the right place for them in that moment to receive the best care. A physical assessment of blood tests, urinalysis, blood pressure, and weight checks will be performed to understand how their body will best receive and process medications. The end goal is to determine what was used, the severity, length, and any co-occurring conditions to determine best next steps for the person going to treatment.

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare knows that lifetime sobriety, health, and wellness, are completely possible. Each of our treatment programs offer the opportunity for holistic healing utilizing an integrative approach for the recovery of mind, body, and spirit. You can recover. You will recover. Call us today for more information: 844-560-7269