|The purpose of a substance abuse evaluation is to understand the person behind the substance use disorder, not judgment, allowing for a more empathetic and tailored education and treatment plan.
Learn what to expect and how to prepare for a SAP evaluation and how the SAP return-to-duty program can transform your life, your career, and your relationships.
In a rush? 🚀 Just click the link below to jump to the Most Frequently Asked Questions! ⬇️
What to Expect During a SAP Evaluation
The most common reason a person who has failed or refused a DOT drug test might be hesitant to schedule a SAP evaluation is typically a fear of judgment, denial, privacy concerns, or anxiety.
So, let’s explore what to expect during a SAP evaluation, so you can feel comfortable scheduling an appointment with a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).
For those of you who prefer all the information in the shortest form possible, we created this quick guide chart below.👇
|What To Expect
|Alcohol Use Questions
|The SAP evaluation inquires about the types, frequency, and quantity of alcohol consumed, emotions felt after drinking, and any concerns raised by others about the individual’s drinking habits.
|Drug Use Questions
|The SAP evaluation delves into the types, frequency, and quantity of drugs used, duration of drug use, past attempts to quit, medical or mental health conditions possibly exacerbated by drug use, and experience of withdrawal symptoms.
Family and personal history of substance abuse or addiction are also considered, as well as any indications of persistent issues, like repeated failed drug tests.
|Stress and Anxiety at Home
|The SAP evaluation explores the individual’s living situation, financial pressure, work-related stress, relationship difficulties, and the stability and supportiveness of their home environment.
|Personal History Questions
|The Substance Abuse Professional may ask about a history of arrests or convictions related to substance abuse, current employment situation, personal hobbies, interests, and the individual’s goals for treatment.
|Importance of Honest Responses
|Honesty is emphasized in the SAP evaluation process as it directly influences the diagnosis and treatment planning.
Confidentiality is ensured and the potential consequences of providing inaccurate or incomplete information are explored.
|Duration and Expectations
|The initial assessment is typically 1-2 hours, allowing the SAP time to understand the individual’s substance use disorder.
The substance abuse self assessment involves questions about substance use habits, medical history, mental health, and may include drug testing.
|A SAP evaluation is the first step for those who want to complete the DOT SAP return-to-duty program.
It provides a comprehensive evaluation of the individual’s substance use disorder and the basis for an individualized education and treatment plan.
|Risks and Confidentiality
|The SAP evaluation poses no privacy risks and is bound by strict confidentiality guidelines, ensuring the individual’s information is secure and private.
|Substance Use Disorder
|Substance Use Disorder is a complex issue involving psychological, social, and genetic factors.
The addiction severity index provides insights beyond mere substance misuse to support a holistic understanding of the individual.
|Role of External Factors
|External factors like living situation, current stressors, and the availability of a support system significantly impact the individual’s substance use and recovery journey.
|Value of a Comprehensive SAP Evaluation
|The SAP evaluation aims to understand the person behind the substance use disorder, allowing for a more empathetic approach to education and treatment and a plan tailored to the individual’s specific needs, values, and aspirations.
|Substance Abuse Evaluation
|The evaluation is integral in understanding the extent and nature of the substance use disorder, which involves questions about substance use, personal history, stressors, and support systems.
The result is a personalized education and treatment plan that serves as a roadmap towards recovery.
|Potential Benefits and Future Steps
|The SAP evaluation offers immediate and long-term benefits including a comprehensive understanding of the disorder, access to recovery services, support networks, and, in legal situations, improved chances of overcoming the disorder.
How to Prepare for a SAP Evaluation
For most people, the most difficult step in participating in the DOT SAP return-to-duty program is scheduling a SAP evaluation appointment and then showing up for the SAP evaluation appointment.
If you’re feeling anxious about scheduling a SAP evaluation or concerned about the cost, we have you covered!
If traveling is problematic, most SAP counselors provide virtual online appointments, which may be more convenient for you and will not impact the cost of the assessment.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking with a complete stranger after a failed drug test, consider calling a local SAP counselor for a free phone consultation.
Don’t know what questions to ask a SAP counselor on the phone or how to search and find a local SAP counselor?
Click to read our Guide to Finding a Highly-Recommended SAP Counselor near you.
How much does a SAP evaluation cost?
You can expect to pay between $500 to $650, depending on the complexity of your violations and the recommended education and treatment plan. Drug tests average between $30 to $60 each.
While some employers offer EAP programs to assist with the cost of treatment, health insurance may also cover the DOT return-to-duty program.
Which online directories do you recommend to find for a local SAP counselor?
What Happens at a SAP Evaluation?
The purpose of a substance abuse evaluation is to understand the person behind the substance use disorder, not judgment, allowing for a more empathetic and personalized treatment plan.
A SAP counselor may utilize the addiction severity index to provide insights beyond mere substance misuse to create a holistic understanding of the person and tailor an education and treatment plan to meet your specific needs and circumstances.
So, what happens after your arrive at your local SAP counselor’s office?
Here’s what to expect:
Questions about Alcohol Use
A comprehensive substance abuse assessment begins by examining the individual’s alcohol use.
The frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption is a factor in the severity of the dependency.
You will be asked about the types of alcohol consumed, and the timing and circumstances of your last drink.
A SAP counselor may also delve into the emotional aftermath of drinking – asking about feelings of guilt or shame.
They will also want to know about any concerns expressed by others (family members, colleagues, or friends) regarding your drinking habits.
Questions about Drug Use
Going beyond alcohol, the substance abuse evaluation explores the use of other substances, including the frequency and types of drugs used and the quantity consumed.
The duration of drug use and any previous attempts to quit are important for understanding the level of addiction.
A SAP counselor may be particularly interested in any medical or mental health conditions that may be exacerbated by drug use.
This may include conditions like depression, anxiety, or chronic pain, which may be magnified due to substance misuse.
Your experience of withdrawal symptoms will be discussed to gauge the physical dependency on the drug(s).
The SAP assessment also digs deeper into the your family history and personal history of substance abuse or addiction, in order to identify any patterns or genetic predispositions.
Multiple failed pre-employment or random drug tests, for instance, could indicate a persistent issue that needs to be addressed.
Questions about Stress and Anxiety at Home
Moving away from substance use specifics, the SAP evaluation also explores your living situation and stressors.
The current financial, relationship, and work-related pressures a person faces provide valuable insight into potential triggers for substance use.
A SAP counselor may ask questions like:
- What are your current financial pressures?
- Are there any stressful situations at work?
- Are you facing any relationship difficulties?
A stable home environment can significantly aid recovery.
A SAP counselor may also probe into the availability and quality of your support system for recovery.
The questions in this part of the evaluation help the SAP counselor identify and address the broader factors that may influence your substance misuse and recovery factors.
Questions about Personal History
To gain a more complete understanding of a person’s situation, the SAP counselor may also delve into other areas of your life.
Questions will likely include your history of arrests or convictions related to substance misuse.
A key part of this discussion will involve understanding your goals for treatment.
- Becoming completely substance-free.
- Learning coping mechanisms to prevent relapses.
- Improving relationships damaged by substance use.
By understanding your goals, a personalized treatment plan can be tailored to best meet your specific needs.
What happens if I fail a pre-employment DOT drug test?
Once you have failed a DOT drug test, your authorization to perform safety-sensitive tasks (like operating a commercial motor vehicle) is immediately revoked.
Importance of Honest Responses
Honesty forms the backbone of an effective substance abuse assessment and evaluation.
The information provided during your evaluation directly influences the diagnosis and treatment planning.
A SAP counselor will emphasize the need for honesty, reassuring you that your responses will be handled with utmost confidentiality as well as explain the potential consequences of providing inaccurate or incomplete information, which can lead to an ineffective treatment plan and prolong the recovery journey.
If you are a CDL driver, the FMCSA Clearinghouse provides current and potential future employers, state driver licensing agencies, and state law enforcement real-time information about your drug and alcohol recovery status.
Does a failed DOT drug test go on your record?
Your failed DOT drug test result shows in the FMCSA Clearinghouse and that information is linked to your commercial driver’s license number and issuing state. If you obtain a CDL in another state, the Clearinghouse will link your most recent data to the new CDL license.
However, your DOT drug test results are not accessible to the public.
What happens if I fail a DOT drug test twice?
If you fail a DOT drug test twice then you would start the entire DOT SAP return-to-duty program again.
Risks and Confidentiality
Engaging in a substance abuse evaluation poses no privacy risks to the individual per federal law.
The entire SAP evaluation process is bound by strict confidentiality guidelines, so you may feel more comfortable speaking honestly about all the circumstances that led to your failed drug test.
This commitment to confidentiality is critical in fostering trust, encouraging more honest and open responses, and ultimately, creating a more accurate and effective treatment plan.
Can any drug and alcohol counselor evaluate me?
No. Only a DOT qualified SAP counselor is authorized by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to evaluate you for the DOT SAP return-to-duty program.
Role of External Factors
External factors, such as the your living situation, can have a significant impact on your substance use and recovery.
An unstable housing situation, for example, can exacerbate stress and anxiety, potentially triggering substance use.
Conversely, a supportive living environment can be a powerful aid in the recovery process.
Understanding your current anxiety—whether it’s financial, work-related, or relational—can help identify potential triggers for substance misuse.
A SAP counselor can tailor the education and treatment plan to either leverage existing support networks or put in place mechanisms to compensate for a counterproductive support system.
Can I change my current SAP counselor to a new counselor?
Once your SAP counselor accepts the designation request, the Department of Transportation (DOT) does not allow you to seek a second opinion nor change SAP counselors.
However, the SAP who made the initial evaluation may modify his or her initial evaluation and recommendations based on new or additional information.
Substance Abuse Assessment Value
An integral part of tackling substance use disorder is understanding its extent and nature, which is precisely what a substance abuse evaluation and assessment does.
By asking specific questions about your substance use, along with understanding your personal history, stressors, and support systems, a SAP counselor can develop an education and treatment plan specifically for you.
The final output—a personalized treatment plan—is not a mere document but a roadmap towards recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions 🙋🏻♂️
Can I fail a drug test because of urine temperature?
Yes. If a urine specimen is outside the normal temperature range (90-100 degrees Fahrenheit or 32-38 degrees Celsius), it can be a reason to suspect tampering or substitution, which can result in a failed test.
Will I lose my CDL if I fail a pre-employment drug test?
No. Failing a pre-employment drug test will likely prevent you from being hired for a safety-sensitive position, including a job that requires a CDL.
You won’t be able to perform any safety-sensitive functions, like driving a commercial vehicle, until you’ve completed the SAP return-to-duty program.
What is a substance abuse evaluation?
A substance abuse evaluation is a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a SAP counselor to understand the extent and nature of an individual’s substance use disorder.
The evaluation involves asking questions about alcohol use, drug use, personal history, stress, and living situations, aiming to develop a personalized treatment plan for recovery.
How can I schedule a substance abuse evaluation in Texas?
How long do you lose your CDL for a failed drug test?
The person must complete a DOT SAP return-to-duty program, which includes an evaluation by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), possible treatment, follow-up evaluations, and a return-to-duty drug test.
Only when the SAP deems the person has successfully completed the SAP program and passed the return-to-duty drug test can the CDL driver be eligible to return to the job.
What is a court ordered alcohol and drug assessment?
A court-ordered alcohol and drug assessment is a mandatory evaluation conducted by a qualified substance abuse professional to determine the extent of an individual’s alcohol or drug use and its impact on their life.
The assessment is often required by a court to decide on appropriate sentencing or treatment options for individuals charged with alcohol or drug-related offenses.
Does delta 8 show up on a drug test?
Yes. Delta-8 THC can show up on a drug test that screens for THC metabolites, as it is a form of THC.
It’s important to note that most standard drug tests can’t differentiate between Delta-9 THC (the primary psychoactive component in marijuana) and Delta-8 THC, so using Delta-8 could result in a positive test for THC.
How long does weed stay in your system urine test?
The detection window for marijuana in a urine test can vary depending on several factors, including frequency of use and metabolism.
Generally, THC metabolites can be detected in urine for up to 30 days for frequent users, and 3 to 5 days for occasional users.
What drug store medications may cause a false positive drug result?
Robitussin, which contains dextromethorphan, can be mistaken for PCP in a drug test and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) could trigger a false positive for opioids.
Click-to-read more about surprising medications that may cause a false positive drug result.