Quality standard

Quality statement 2: Assessment

Quality statement

People in drug treatment are offered a comprehensive assessment.


People with drug use disorders have a better chance of recovery, and of maintaining recovery in the longer term, if their resources for recovery are assessed and tailored advice and support is provided.

An assessment is intended to identify needs and determine appropriate interventions and the key resources available and needed to support recovery and prevent relapse.

Quality measure

Structure: Evidence of local arrangements to ensure people in drug treatment are offered a comprehensive assessment.

Process: Proportion of people in drug treatment who receive a comprehensive assessment.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator receiving a comprehensive assessment.

Denominator – the number of people in drug treatment.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers ensure systems are in place for people in drug treatment services to be offered a comprehensive assessment.

Healthcare professionals offer people in drug treatment a comprehensive assessment.

Commissioners ensure they commission services that offer people in drug treatment a comprehensive assessment.

People in drug treatment are offered a full assessment of their drug use and needs in relation to recovery.

Data source

Structure: Local data collection.

Process: Local data collection. The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System collects data on all clients receiving specialist treatment for their problematic use of drugs; some aspects of the assessment of resources for recovery are collected, such as 'accommodation need', 'acute housing problems', 'housing risk', 'employment status', 'education' and 'paid work'.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

A comprehensive assessment should consider both drug use and resources for recovery and include:

  • treating the emergency or acute problem

  • confirming the person is taking drugs (history, examination and drug testing)

  • assessing the degree of dependence

  • assessing physical and mental health

  • identifying social assets, including housing, employment, education and support networks

  • assessing risk behaviour including domestic violence and offending

  • determining the person's expectations of treatment and desire to change

  • determining the need for substitute medication

  • obtaining information on any dependent children of parents who misuse drugs, and any drug-related risks to which they may be exposed.

Equality and diversity considerations

All assessments should be accessible to people with additional needs such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to people who do not speak or read English. People who need a comprehensive assessment should have access to an interpreter or advocate if needed.