What Does a Drug Evaluation Consist Of?


There are many reasons why someone might have to undergo a drug evaluation. For some, it’s court ordered because of a pending lawsuit or conviction. For example, if someone is convicted of a DUI (driving under the influence) or a DWI (driving while intoxicated), they will usually have to complete a drug evaluation to determine the extent of their problem.

In other situations, a drug evaluation could be required by an employer after observed substance abuse on the job. Whatever the reason for the evaluation, the process is typically very similar for each patient.


The first part of a drug evaluation is a screening, and there are two main purposes for this. First, it will determine the possible presence of any abnormalities. The patient will usually first undergo drug testing to determine what type of substance they use and how long they’ve used it. Second, it will help the practitioners decide if the offender is suitable for treatment. In other words, they want to find out if the patient will actually benefit from what they have to offer. 

The screening process usually also consists primarily of in-depth research on the patient. They will use medical records, emergency results, drug testing, interviews, police reports, and any other records that might be available. Of course, much of this depends on the purpose for the evaluation.

Often, a prison inmate will have more court and legal documents to analyze than a first-time offender. Other tools they might use for screening include an Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI), CAGE questionnaires, and other self-administered tests. These can usually be taken both online or in person. 


If it’s decided that the patient does need care and will benefit from it, they will then move on to the assessment phase. The goal here is to determine the methods that will be used to treat the patient. Providers will assess the patient’s mental and physical health, as well as identify certain triggers that could cause a relapse. These might include poor relationships, legal issues, financial problems, or mental illness among other things. 

The assessment will then go in-depth to determine a proper treatment method. Much of this will depend on the time they’re allotted to treat the patient. In some instances, such as court-mandated drug treatment, they are only allowed a set amount of time to measure progress. And in many cases, the funding is simply not available for long-term treatment, so they must choose the shortest path to wellness. 


Once the patient is cleared for treatment, they will be admitted into a facility, such as one of the Ontario drug rehab centres and undergo assessment. Or they will be assigned to outpatient care of some kind.

For example, they may be required to attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings on a regular basis. They may also need to attend counseling sessions or other substance abuse classes. And depending on the severity of the situation, they might be subjected to periodic drug testing to monitor their progress. 

If a patient fails a test, they might face consequences. Of course, this usually depends on the reason for the evaluation. If it was court ordered because of a criminal offense, they could be forced to serve jail time as a result of the violation. But if the patient entered into treatment voluntarily, a few failed drug tests will probably just result in re-evaluation.

At that point, they’ll begin the process all over again so that practitioners can come up with a more effective plan.