This course is based on a publication by SAMHSA and is available at the National Library of Medicine about the legal and ethical issues that occur in the screening and assessment process for adolescents in substance abuse treatment. According to the author “Staff of substance use disorder treatment programs serving adolescents need to be aware of legal issues that affect program operation. Of top concern among these issues is confidentiality: the protection of the adolescent’s right to privacy.”
The Article starts with an “overview of the Federal law protecting a youth’s right to privacy when seeking or receiving treatment services for substance use disorders. Next is a detailed discussion of the rules regarding the use of consent forms to get a youth’s permission to release information about his seeking or receiving substance use disorder services. [The article then] reviews the rules for communicating with others about various issues concerning a youth who is involved with treatment services (including rules for communicating with parents, guardians, and other sources; reporting child abuse; warning others of an adolescent’s threats to harm; and special rules for use within the juvenile justice system). The [article also] discusses a number of exceptions to the general rules preventing disclosure of information, such as medical emergencies. The [article] ends with a few additional points concerning a youth’s right to confidential services and the need for programs to obtain legal assistance.”
This course serves as an excellent resource for mental health professionals who would like to build or refresh their knowledge about legal and ethical issues in assessment and screening. For licensed professionals who are required to complete continuing education in law and ethics, this course provides insight into a specialized area of practice and may be a refreshing change from other courses in the area a legal and ethical issues. This course contains content regarding federal law, including 42 U.S.C. § 290dd-2. “Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records” are contained in 42 CFR Part 2 (Vol. 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 2).
Psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists can benefit from this course. This course may also be helpful for other practitioners, such as midwives and dieticians and nutritionists who work with the adolescent population. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to learn more about legal and ethical issues in screening younger adults for substance abuse issues and problems.
Most states that require continuing education courses for license renewal require licensed professionals to complete courses in legal issues and ethics. This course may meet or partially meet the requirements for license renewal in your state.
Learning Objectives: This course will provide a professional with a summary of legal and ethical issues in screening and assessment of adolescents in substance abuse treatment. Specifically, a professional will:
· Identify federal law that pertains to communication and disclosure in substance abuse assessment and treatment.
· Identify essential elements in consent forms to disclose confidential information and exceptions that apply.
· Describe regulations that apply to adolescents in substance abuse treatment when communicating with others.
Citation: AHCPR Archived reports, Put Prevention Into Practice and Minnesota Health Technology Advisory Committee SAMHSA/CSAT Treatment Improvement Protocols 31. TIP 31: Screening and Assessing Adolescents for Substance Use Disorders; Chapter 4 –Legal Issues in the Screening And Assessment of Adolescents by Margaret K. Brooks, Esq.