Announcement: Impaired Driver Assessments

It’s official. I’m now recognized by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) as an Impaired Driving Offender Clinical Screening and Assessment Provider.

Please read that sentence carefully before jumping to any conclusions.

No, I was not convicted of drunk driving. But, if you have been, or if you are just facing charges, I may be able to help you get your license back and ensure that you don’t make that mistake again.

Lots of things happen when you are arrested for a DUI or DWI. You might have to meet with an Impaired Driving Offender Clinical Screening and Assessment Provider. That person will determine whether you need chemical dependency treatment.

There are certain regulations that dictate how we make an assessment, as well there should be.

If you come to me for an assessment, I’ll have to meet with you at least twice: two fifty minute sessions.

In the first, we will talk about the incident, what and how much you used, what were the circumstances, and how you came to get arrested. Was there an accident? Were there any injuries? So on and so forth.

We will also talk about your general relationship with substances, if this has been a problem in other ways or if you’ve had other arrests. We’ll also have to talk about the rest of your life, just to put the incident into context. I’ll ask about your job, your relationships, your family, your health, what you do for recreation, other legal issues. I’ll assess for mental health problems.

You’ll have to give me permission to review your driving record and interview at least two others who know you well, about your substance use.

You’ll have to go to an ACM Medical Laboratory Patient Service Center and pee in a cup.

We’ll meet a second time to go over all the information I have collected, I’ll tell you my assessment, and we’ll devise a plan.

In some cases, no treatment will be necessary. If it is, I may be able to provide it. If you need more intensive help, I can refer you to a group or rehab, or another counselor if we don’t click.

I will enter all of our findings in the Impaired Driver System (IDS), a state-wide database. The courts, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and OASAS have access to the IDS.

If you disagree with my assessment, you’re free to get a second opinion, but you have to comply with the second one. Are you feeling lucky?

The cost for the whole assessment is $350. That’s two sessions, reviewing the record, the lab results, interviewing the collateral sources, and writing it up. It doesn’t include any treatment. It does include the cost of peeing in the cup.

Next time, for God’s sake, call a cab.

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