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Methadone Questionnaires: What Happens at Patient Intake?

Posted on :  July 13th, 2016  |  By :  towardsrecovery

When a patient is ready to give up their heroin addiction and get involved with a methadone clinic. While this sounds rather easy, there are several steps involved before the clinic can actually give a patient the right dose of methadone. In most cases, there are several questionnaires that have to be completed prior to the start of treatment.

How the Questions are Designed

It is important that the patient answers the questions honestly so that the therapist and physicians can accurately diagnose and treat the addiction. The questionnaires have questions that are built in so that addicts cannot “outwit” the questionnaire. The questions are required for intake to outpatient treatment, which is the type of treatment that methadone therapy is considered. The questions are updated by national agencies as needed, so clinics have to be sure that they have the most recent versions. The questions allow the clinic to see if progress has been made with the patient based on the prescribed doses and other treatments.

The Initial Assessment

The first step that a clinic takes is an initial assessment. The counselor will give a battery of questions that ask the patient about his or her history regarding drug abuse. The counselor will also gather information about the patient’s background. The questions are open-ended and ask about things like legal issues, employment status, and how money was raised to buy drugs. There are also questions that require the addict to talk about sleep habits, too. This first assessment takes about 20 minutes to complete.

The patient will also be asked to leave a urine sample. The clinic will conduct a urinalysis to see if there is evidence of opioids, methadone, cocaine, THC, amphetamines, and other commonly used drugs.

Intake Interview Questions

About one week later, a counselor will conduct an interview to see if the patient is doing better after a week of treatment. This is considered the official intake questionnaire. This is done a week after the initial assessment because the patient has had time to focus and think about his or her addiction. This questionnaire takes about 90 minutes to complete.

The intake questionnaire includes standardized read-aloud sections and several open-ended questions about the patient’s background that can be compared to the answers in the initial assessment. There are in-depth questions about family relationships and friendships. There are also questions about criminal history, drug history, and risk assessments. The therapist will also ask questions about psychological status of the patient and the risk of AIDS infection. There is a section that allows the therapist to comment on the ease of giving the assessment and for the patient to self-assess regarding problems areas in his or her life.

Once the intake questionnaire is finished, the patient will be asked to complete a self-rating that should take about 15 minutes. This includes a questionnaire of almost 100 questions that ask the patient about psychological issues like anxiety and depression, social issues like risky behavior and conformity, and motivation to get help.

Follow-Up Questions as Treatment Continues

As the patient moves through the process of treatment the clinic is required to keep detailed records. These include records about each counseling session on a specific document. Those documents are designed for individual sessions and group sessions. There are also feedback forms that patients complete based on their counseling sessions. These forms take about five minutes each to complete.

At specific intervals of the treatment program, the patient and the counselor need to complete even more forms. Some are completed every three months to see how the patient is moving through the program. The first three-month form takes about 30 minutes to complete. Others take about five minutes. These also include urinalysis records to see improvement in drug use. There are also forms that are required for discharge and follow up to treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns about drug abuse or looking for methadone as a tool for recovery, please contact us at 905-527-2042 or email at

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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