Frequently Asked Questions

Your particular question not listed? Email or call us (319-390-4611) with your inquiry.

  1. What are the signs of substance abuse?
  2. How can I determine if I have an alcohol problem?
  3. What should I do if I suspect my child or teen is experimenting with drugs/alcohol?
  4. What should I do if a friend or relative has a problem with alcohol or other drugs?
  5. What can I do if a friend or loved one will not go to treatment?
  6. What do I need to bring to my first ASAC appointment?
  7. How much does an assessment cost?
  8. How can I pay for assessment and treatment services?
  9. Can anyone obtain information regarding my assessment/treatment?
  10. As a parent, why can’t I have access to information regarding my child’s assessment or treatment?
  11. When will my information be provided to the Department of Transportation?
  12. Does ASAC provide detox services?
  13. Can ASAC provide drug tests for non-clients?
  14. Where are the offices located?
  15. What are your hours?
  16. How do I get into residential treatment?

1. What are the signs of substance abuse?

Look for a series of changes, not isolated behaviors or incidents. These behaviors may indicate alcohol or drug use:

  • Absenteeism or tardiness from school or work
  • Accidents or frequent careless mistakes
  • Unusual behavior, such as frequent visits to the bathroom, secretive phone calls, dressing inappropriately for the season, or wearing sunglasses indoors
  • Personality changes, such as sudden and erratic mood or personality swings, excessive giddiness, aggressive or depressed behavior, or loss or appetite or memory
  • Physical signs, such as hyperactivity, dilated pupils, tremors, slurred speech, problems with coordination, excessive weight fluctuation, chronic runny nose or encrustation around the nose
  • Physical evidence of drug use such as cigarette papers, glassine envelopes, medicine droppers, bent spoons, razor blades, short straws

2. How can I determine if I have an alcohol problem?

Researchers use the term “alcohol problems” to refer to any type of condition caused by drinking which harms the drinker directly, jeopardizes the drinker’s well-being, or places others at risk. Depending on the circumstances, alcohol problems can result from even moderate drinking, for example when driving, during pregnancy, or when taking certain medicines. Alcohol problems exist on a continuum of severity ranging from occasional binge drinking to alcohol abuse or dependence (alcoholism).

If you consume alcoholic beverages, it’s important to know whether your drinking patterns are safe, risky or harmful. Take the confidential alcohol screening quiz at AlcoholScreening.org to help you find out. You can assess your own drinking, learn about alcohol and health issues, and find resources for additional help.

3. What should I do if I suspect my child or teen is experimenting with drugs/alcohol?

The first thing to do is to ensure you have accurate and up-to-date information about substances. Here are some great resources on general substance abuse information:

http://www.drugfree.org/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/

The next thing you can do is to sit down and talk to your child. There are many resources available to help parents start the conversation about drugs or alcohol with their child. ASAC recommends the following resources as a good place to start:

http://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking/mobile-application

http://www.drugfree.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/How-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-drugs-if-you-did-drugs.pdf

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-parents-need-to-know/talking-to-your-kids-communicating-risks

Be specific about your concerns. Explain exactly how his or her behavior or appearance has changed and why it worries you. Tell your child that alcohol and drug use is dangerous and that it is your job as a parent to steer them away from dangerous situations. Get more information from your child. Be firm but loving with your tone and try not to get involved in an argument. Try to connect with your teen and find out why he/she may be making bad choices. Remember that you likely do not know the whole story, so seek to understand where your child is coming from and what is actually going on.

Be prepared that your teen will deny using drugs. Your child will probably get angry and might try to change the subject. Be prepared for your discussion with your child. Practice what you will say. The main thing is to act now. Have that conversation then closely monitor your child’s activities.

If you discover that your child is using drugs or alcohol, reflect with your child on why he/she is using and try to understand the reasons why so that you can help solve the problem. When you get a better idea of the situation, then you can decide the next steps. These could include setting new rules and consequences that are reasonable and enforceable as well as finding ways to address any underlying issues your child is dealing with. For example, if they are feeling depressed, they may need to speak with a doctor or therapist. Many youth self-medicate for an underlying mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, and proper treatment can help prevent future substance misuse.

You can also talk to an ASAC Prevention Specialist, Family Counselor, or Youth Counselor. See Locations for a list of ASAC offices. We have Youth Outpatient Counselors available at all Cedar Rapids and College Community Schools and at Vinton Shellsburg High School and the Jones County Regional Education Center. You can contact any school administrator or faculty member to help you get connected with an ASAC counselor.

4. What should I do if a friend or relative has a problem with alcohol or other drugs?

The person who has someone close who drinks too much or who uses other drugs has plenty of company. People experiencing alcohol and other drug problems often feel they hurt only themselves. That isn’t true. They also hurt their families, friends, coworkers, employers, and others. It’s important to remember that rarely, if ever, does someone use to intentionally hurt another person. Most often, the person using drugs or alcohol is doing so as an unhealthy way to cope with life stresses and mental health disorders.

The person who sets out to help someone with an alcohol or other drug problem may at first feel quite alone, possibly embarrassed, not knowing where to turn for help. We have preserved so many wrong ideas and attitudes about problem drinking and other drug abuse, too often thinking of them as moral weakness or lack of willpower.

You are in a good position to help your relative or friend, because you know a good deal about their unique qualities and their way of life. Having made the effort to gain some understanding of the signs and effects of problem drinking or other drug abuse, you should be in a better position to consider a strategy for helping.

Be active, get involved. Don’t be afraid to talk about the problem honestly and openly. It is easy to be too polite, or to duck the issue by saying, “After all, it’s their private affair.” But it isn’t polite or considerate to let someone destroy their family and life. You may need to be persistent to break through any denial they have.

To learn more, check out some of the following resources:

http://www.drugfree.org/want-help-adult-family-member-friend-drug-alcohol-problem-7-suggestions/

https://www.ncadd.org/family-friends/there-is-help/helping-a-family-member-or-friend

You can also talk to an ASAC Prevention Specialist or Family Counselor. See Locations for a list of ASAC offices.

5. What can I do if a friend or loved one will not go to treatment?

Family members or friends can request court ordered substance abuse treatment by going to the local clerk of court (except Polk County*) and complete an Application Alleging Substance-Related Disorder  that states why the person is a danger to him/herself or others because of their substance abuse and an Affidavit in Support of Application Alleging Substance-Related Disorder. Examples include driving drunk, threatening suicide, becoming aggressive with family members, not eating, etc. The papers are filled out right there and filed with the Clerk. Two people are required to sign the commitment paper. If it is determined that the person will be sent to treatment, local law enforcement will pick up the individual and take him/her to a local hospital. A committal hearing will be scheduled within 48 hours. The persons who file the committal papers must attend the hearing. If the hearing determines that the person needs immediate 24-hour residential treatment, the committed client may be transported from the hospital to ASAC residential or another agency for placement. For more information regarding the committal process please visit the Iowa Courts website at http://www.iowacourts.gov/Court_Rules__Forms/Commitment_Forms/

* In Polk County, call Addiction Treatment Services at Broadlawns (515-282-6610) to set up an appointment to complete the required committal paperwork.

6. What do I need to bring to my first ASAC appointment?

You will need to bring with you proof of income that could be a current paycheck stub, last year’s income tax return, or other proof of current family income. If you have medical insurance, be sure to bring in your insurance card. You also need to contact your insurance company prior to your appointment to see if ASAC services will be covered. If you have Title XIX, you must bring your Medicaid card with you or if it is a child, we need their social security number and date of birth.

7. How much do assessments cost?

OWI and Zero Tolerance assessments are $125. All others are based on family income.

8. How can I pay for assessment and treatment services?

We accept cash, check, money order, debit card, credit card (Master Card, VISA, and American Express), Title XIX, and insurance payments.

9. Can anyone obtain information regarding my assessment/treatment?

No, all information you give to us will be held strictly confidential. We cannot divulge any information without a signed release. To have any information shared you will need to complete a release of information form for us. This includes information you wish to go to your attorney, probation officer, mental health counselor, DHS worker, family member or any other individual.

10. As a parent, why can’t I have access to information regarding my child’s assessment or treatment?

ASAC encourages children to sign a release for open communication, however, if a release is not signed, State confidentiality regulations mandate that no information regarding an individual’s substance abuse treatment can be shared. If your child does not sign a release form, we cannot provide information to you.

11. When will my information be provided to Department of Transportation?

You must have completed all recommended treatment and all fees related to OWI/Zero Tolerance must be paid before any information is faxed to the DOT. If payment is made by check, the DOT form is held for 14 days to guarantee that the check clears.

12. Does ASAC provide detox services?

No. ASAC does not have medical staff on site around the clock. We are only authorized to  administer medications prescribed by a doctor, including but not limited to those for medication assisted treatment.

13. Can ASAC provide drug tests for non-clients?

No, we only perform urinalysis (UA) drops for clients as part of their treatment plan. For non-client drug tests, you will need to contact your local hospital, medical laboratory, or family physician.

14. Where are your offices located?

We serve a five county area with offices in Cedar Rapids, Vinton, Belle Plaine, Anamosa, Maquoketa, Clinton and De Witt. Please see the locations section of this web site for a listing of the street addresses and services provided at each office.

15. What are your hours?

In our full-time offices, our business hours are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, or by appointment. In Belle Plaine, our hours are Tuesdays 8 am to 5 pm and Thursdays 8 am to noon. The DeWitt office hours are Mondays by appointment only. Please see the locations section of this web site for hours and phone numbers of each facility.

16. How do I get into residential treatment?

The first step to getting into any level of treatment is to have a substance abuse assessment. It must be within the past 90 days to still be valid. If you have had a recent assessment at a hospital or another treatment center, contact that facility and ask them to fax us that information to (319) 390-4381. You will need to sign a release of information allowing them to do this. If you have not had an assessment, and live in the local area, please call us at (319) 390-4611 to schedule an appointment. You will meet with a counselor who will discuss treatment options with you and recommend a level of treatment.

If you do not live in close proximity to Cedar Rapids, please contact a substance abuse agency/service provider in your local area to schedule an assessment. You will need to sign a release to have the provider forward the assessment information to ASAC. To obtain a list of substance abuse treatment providers please contact the Iowa Substance Abuse Information Center at 1-866-242-4111 or go to www.drugfreeinfo.org.

If residential treatment is recommended in the assessment, the Director of ASAC’s Residential Services or the Director of ASAC’s Youth Services will be notified of the referral. There is often a waiting list for these programs, so outpatient services may be offered in the meantime, for those individuals living in the local area. While on the waiting list, we recommend that you keep in contact with us periodically so we know you are still interested, and how to reach you.

on October 24 • by