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Simple Guide to a Court Ordered Substance Abuse Evaluation

What is a Court Ordered Substance Abuse Evaluation?

A court ordered substance abuse evaluation is used to determine the level of addiction that an individual is suffering from. It is also an effective way for treatment providers to determine a plan of action and create a plan that will address the specific needs of each individual addict. This will help ensure that the clinicians can provide the best level of care to the patient.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a disease that can often prove fatal if left untreated. It causes damage to the mind, body, spirit, and your personal relationships. When the addict suffers from an uncontrollable urge to use substances, they will often find themselves in trouble with the law, involved in dangerous situations, and damaging their health. When a person finds themselves in legal hot water and it is due to addiction and drug use; the court will typically order an evaluation.

Will an Evaluation Help?

Once a person navigates through the legal system and comes to the sentencing stage, a court ordered substance abuse evaluation is often one of the punishments levied by the court. Some states will even require the evaluation before sentencing to determine if the crime was committed due to addiction or while under the influence. This is typically a good thing as it will often lower the severity of the charges being faced if it is proven the person has addiction issues.

What Crimes Require an Evaluation?

There are a number of criminal offenses that are going to require the defendant to go through the evaluation process. Most of these are minor charges but there are times when even major, felony crimes will require a substance evaluation because there may be mitigating circumstances related to the drug or alcohol use that can impact the judgement and sentencing.

Here are a few other examples of situations that may induce the court to require a substance abuse evaluation.

Minor (child) in Possession

Arrested for possession of drugs or alcohol

Disorderly conduct

Public intoxication

Using a fake ID

Driving Under the Influence


What Happens if the Court Decides I am an Addict?

Many people that find themselves in the legal system for drugs or alcohol the first time will be frightened and confused as to what to expect when they are ordered to attend counseling or in-patient rehabilitation. While it can be a worrisome experience, it is also a very positive one that will empower the patient to live a life without the need for alcohol and drugs.

Out-patient counseling can be a rewarding experience that will place the patient in a comfortable atmosphere alone or in a group setting where the patient(s) and the counselor will go over information about addiction, how addiction changes your brain chemistry, how addiction impacts your health, how addiction causes personal relationship problems, and will help the patient find treatment options and techniques that will help them live a clean and sober life.

In-patient rehabilitation is often required when the patient requires a higher level of service. This is usually required when a person has a misdemeanor or multiple summary offenses and the Judge believes that they will benefit most from a more structure and intense environment. In-patient rehabs are often co-ed and many men and women from different walks of life will come together and share their stories and problems that have arisen because of their addiction issues.

In Closing

Having to go through substance treatment is not a bad thing and can often help people find their way through a difficult part of life and can lead to a complete change in character.

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