1. Why do I have to pay for an evaluation? Can’t I just start taking classes?

An evaluation may seem like a formality, but it isn’t. Courts require substance abuse evaluations for substance-related charges. Employers, schools, physicians and parents sometimes require them as well. They all have the same goal in mind: pairing you up with the classes that will benefit you most. There are as many individual stories and circumstances as there and clients, and the art of evaluations is creating a dynamic individualized program for each person.

2. What happens in an evaluation?

A friendly, non-judgmental counselor talks with you for about 45 minutes to get an understanding of what brought you here. He/she will ask about the incident itself, but also about your personal/family history, physical and emotional concerns, work, hobbies/interests, and substance use history. Why? Because nothing happens in a vacuum. We want to understand what makes you unique. We ask that you be honest as possible during this process.

3. When will I know the recommendation of the counselor?

By the end of your evaluation, your counselor should be able to give you a clinical recommendation that would be appropriate for your particular situation.

4. I had my first DUI and I hardly ever drink. Why do I need to take a class?

A substance abuse education class is often the minimum recommendation that will be made when a person has had an alcohol or drug related incident. Even a “one time mistake” should be addressed with an education class.

5. I’m not saying I would do this, but who will know if I don’t tell the truth?

Probably nobody. But it would be like going to your doctor for a physical and not being truthful abour your symptoms. If there’s no real problem, it’s no big deal. However, if symptoms are early warning signs, addressing them quickly and correctly can prevent a lot of trouble later. On the other hand, sometimes the prognosis turns out to be less serious than you had imagined, and you got worked up over nothing. In either case, understanding what is really going is a relief.

6. Do you offer any financial aid or help if I cannot afford your services but are in need?

Columbia Addictions Center is a privately owned group of providers. Since we do not receive public funding, we are unable to offer a sliding scale. Clients who are unable to pay are generally referred to public agencies such as the Health Department.