Chemical Health Assessment Info

What is a Chemical Health Evaluation in MN?

To schedule, call   612-249-3656. A Chemical Health Assessment is a comprehensive evaluation used determine if a person has a problem related to alcohol, drugs, substance abuse or chemical dependency. Following the completion of the Chemical Health Assessment, the person is provided with recommendations. Recommendations vary from person-to-person and can be simple suggestions such as speak to your doctor about quitting smoking to attend "rehab" for alcohol- or drug-related problems.

If a person has alcohol or drug related criminal charges, such as a DWI or DUI, a Chemical Health Assessment will be court ordered in Minnesota. The recommendations are used by judges and probation officers and can impact a person’s court outcomes and probation supervision requirements. The court system will expect that a person follows all recommendations, including if alcohol or drug treatment is recommended.

Most people call their local Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center, or “rehab,” for their assessment – out of convenience. According to research from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, treatment center evaluators often lack the advanced education to provide quality assessments, misdiagnosis a person as an “alcoholic” or “drug addict,” and are more likely to recommend intensive treatment over the lowest level of appropriate medical care for a person with an actual problem. Further, treatment centers are biased toward their treatment services and oftentimes recommend their treatment center offerings, which is viewed by some as a conflict of interest.

It is important to meet with a "Private" Chemical Health Assessor:

  1. Private Chemical Health Assessors are unbiased and work for you.
  2. Private Assessors act as your personal advocate, not a treatment center, “rehab,” or governmental agency representative. Working with a private evaluator with advanced education ensures you do not get mislabeled and pressured into treatment when not medically appropriate, which are lengthy, costly, and disruptive to one’s life.
  3. Your Chemical Health Evaluation can be kept away from your permeant medical record.
  4. If you are seeking alcohol and drug counseling, Private Assessors are more likely to refer you to the best available treatment; whereas, a treatment center evaluator is more likely to refer you into their rehab program - even when it is not the best fit. For example, you may have the goal of learning how to moderate your drinking, but a treatment center evaluator will typically refer you into their “abstinence-based” program.

Where should I go for a private Chemical Health Evaluation in MN?

Michael,   612-249-3656, is a medical professional working in private practice through Avitity Health.

Michael received his addiction medicine training and psychology degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He authored, A Frenzied Mind: Clarifying the science behind addictive disorders. Additionally, he is an experienced MN- and court-certified Chemical Health Evaluator.

Selecting Michael to complete your Chemical Health Evaluation has many benefits:

 Collaboration will occur. Michael cares about your wants and needs. He will complete the assessment with recommendations that interest you.
 Your goals take priority, not a treatment centers profit margin.
 Your assessment can be kept off your permanent medical record.
 There’s no risk of being mislabel an “addict,” “alcoholic,” having a chemical dependency issue, substance abuse problem, or substance use disorder.
 There’s no risk of excessive or inappropriate “rehab” or addiction treatment recommendations, which would be expensive and require time away from your family and/or job.
 If you’re seeking help to moderate or quit chemical use because of substance abuse or chemical dependency concerns, Michael can refer you to the most effective, professionally-ran clinics based upon your specific goals.
 Direct, after-hours access to Michael.
 You will secure a personal advocate who will go above and beyond for you. If desired, Michael will write a professional opinion to Ramsey, Hennepin, Anoka, or Dakota, or other County Court judges. This is especially impactful for criminal charges – such as DWI or DUI - or family court-ordered assessments.

What is the purpose of a Chemical Use Assessments in MN?

Chemical Use Assessments are meant to determine if a person has a substance abuse problem or chemical dependency issue. These alcohol assessments are sometimes court-ordered and/or required by the DMV or Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services - DVS, or the Department of Transportation - DOT in Wisconsin requires these assessments with a driver saftey plan to determine if a person needs alcohol treatment. Additionally, Iillinois requires an Out of state petitioner alcohol/drug evaluation uniform report for DUI offenders, to ensure a driver is safe to start drivcing again. As of 2013, chemical use problems are now called “Substance Use Disorders.” For example, if a person has a serious alcohol misuse problem, a medical professional would refer to that illness as “Alcohol Use Disorder.”

What are Substance Use Disorders?

Substance Use Disorders are mental health conditions in which the use of one or more psychoactive drugs leads to clinically significant impairment, distress, or problems. Substance Use Disorders are life-threatening conditions. According to research, Substance Use Disorders resulted in 127,000 deaths in 2013; up from 53,000 in 1990. Medical professionals screen for eleven symptoms. When two or more of these symptoms will lead to a Substance Use Disorder diagnosis. These 11 symptoms are:

  1. A chemical (alcohol or other drug) is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control chemical use.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from a chemical’s effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use a chemical.
  5. Recurrent chemical use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of chemical.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of chemical use.
  8. Recurrent chemical use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. Chemical use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the chemical.
  10. increased amounts of a substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
  11. Physical withdrawal where the chemical may be taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms or “feel normal.”

What is Chemical Dependency and a Chemical Dependency Evaluation?

Chemical Dependency is a term that originates from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is a book used by medical professionals to help diagnose mental health disorders in the United States. The term Chemical Dependency was a diagnosable mental health disorder until the 5th edition of the DSM was released in 2013. Since 2013, the term Chemical Dependency and “Substance Abuse” have been merged and replaced with the term Substance Use Disorders as the only available diagnosable illness. However, as you can imagine, the term Chemical Dependency is still used by some people and organizations. For example, some courts in Minnesota use the terms Chemical Dependency Assessment and Chemical Dependency Evaluation in court sentencing paperwork when a person has criminal charges related to alcohol or drug use, such as a DWI or DUI. Chemical Dependency Assessment and Chemical Dependency Evaluation are essentially the same as Chemical Health Evaluations in MN because all of them screen for Substance Use Disorders and serve the same function. The terms alcoholism, addict, and drug addiction are used less by medical professionals and more outside the medical community.

How is a Substance Use Disorder treated?

The good news is that there are more “evidenced-based” treatments available than any time in history. The bad news is that, according to research, it is unlikely you will receive the best treatments. This is because “rehabs” and treatment centers are staffed with counselors who lack advanced education and training on the most modern, effective therapies. This is also because many treatment centers fail to provide access to evidenced-based medications and instead rely solely upon “talk therapies.” Furthermore, most Alcohol and Drug Counselors lack “treatment fidelity,” which is adhering to the actual talk therapy treatment manual. Instead, they modify the therapy to their liking, which makes the evidenced-based therapy less effective. Lastly, a worrying trend is group size. Instead of individual or small group therapy, treatment centers or “rehabs” typically have group therapy sessions with 10-20 - and sometimes more - clients in the room. While this is profitable, it is not effective treatment and makes individualized care nearly impossible.

Call Michael,   612-249-3656, a Harvard-trained addiction specialist who can help you get the best counseling and medications available. He possesses a deep understanding of the available treatment options in your area. If you are seeking help in quitting or moderating your alcohol/drug use, he will provide referrals into the best programs based upon your goals.

Michael’s Locations for a Chemical Health Evaluations

Michael provides private, court- and Minnesota-certified Chemical Health Assessments to individuals in St Paul, Minneapolis and the surrounding metro. He can be reached directly at 612-249-3656.

Links and Resources

Steps to complete a Chemical Health Assessment

  1. Schedule your appointment by calling 612-249-3656.
  2. The day of your appointment, bring your photo identification and court documents (such as a letter from MN Driving and Vehicle Services or a DUI or DWI citation).
  3. Meet with your Assessor for the Chemical Health Evaluation interview.
  4. Provide contact information for “collateral contacts,” which are the people that need to be involved in the assessment.
  5. After the assessment, a recommendation letter will be sent to you with your chemical dependency evaluation results.

Patient rights during a Chemical Health Assessment in MN

  • You have the right to respect – the same courtesy that you expect from any other medical professional.
  • You have the right to not to be pressured into treatment or “rehab.”
  • You have the right to agree to or decline any recommended treatment services. You are the ultimate authority of your own health care.
  • You have the right to a second opinion if you disagree with your Chemical Health Assessment.
  • You have the right to have your health information kept private and secure as regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • Chemical Health Assessment are also referred to as Substance Use Assessments, Rule 25 Assessments, Chemical Dependency Evaluations, CD Assessments, and Comprehensive Substance Use Disorder Assessments.