What to Expect

Focus On Recovery – Spokane Regional Opioid Task Force

What should I expect at a SUD Assessment?

In order to get into a substance use disorder treatment program, the first step in treatment is an evaluation. An evaluation can help you determine the level of care you need and develop a treatment plan that will work best for you. It is an open, honest dialogue between you and the behavioral health professional.

During the assessment, you will be asked a series of questions to determine your goals and expectations of treatment, and the level of treatment you need to be successful. The assessment must consider your life status and other significant needs that you identify. The assessment cannot be complete if the counselor cannot gather sufficient information about your mental health and stability, your preferences, your past treatment history, your family history, medication history, physical health status including past hospitalizations, social history, spiritual beliefs, employment and education history, and legal stressors. The assessment counselor will also ask you questions about trauma you’ve experienced, such as sexual assault, violence, neglect, or abuse. Questions should be included to determine if you’ve taken risks with your safety. These are very personal questions, so your answers are confidential. By law, the behavioral health professional cannot share your answers unless you provide written permission.

If you need assistance with the assessment process, you will be provided help. By law, the substance abuse disorder assessment must utilize assistive technologies to help you through the process. For example, if you cannot read or write, or if you are hearing-impaired, there should be people or devices that aid you. Some programs also provide interpretive services for people are not comfortable speaking English.

After the assessment process, the counselor must either arrange for your admission into their program if you so desire or refer you to another level of care. The counselor cannot just send you away without giving you a clear idea of what to expect next. While the program rules may require you to detox from alcohol or benzodiazepines, for example, or to become stabilized mentally, there has to be some clear direction for you to take.

What to bring to an appointment

When you come for your appointment, you should bring your state-issued photo I.D., like a driver’s license, and your health insurance card if you have one. Some programs bill insurance and some do not, but they will need to know about your insurance. If you do not have insurance, are unemployed, or are low income – contact your local Community Service Office, 509-227-2200, to see if you are eligible for publicly-funded treatment.

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