Children and Families

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Frequently asked questions

  • How do I know if I have a drinking problem?

    Take an alcohol use screening. Answer 12 questions and the screening will generate personalized results based on your age, gender and drinking patterns. Your answers are completely confidential and anonymous.

  • What is a chemical dependency assessment?

    A chemical dependency assessment includes an interview with a counselor to review a person's chemical and its impact on their daily life and relationships. The assessment may also include:

    • A diagnostic test
    • Review of medical, legal, mental health and treatment records
    • A physical screening
    • Assessment of need for detox services
    • Interviews with other people in the person's life.
    • Assessments should address each individual's unique needs.

    Check the Contact us page to find out who to call to get an assessment.

  • Who do I call for an assessment?

    Check the Contact us page to find out who to call to get an assessment. If you are a tribal member, you can also call your tribal office.

  • What is a Rule 25 assessment?

    Anyone can request an assessment for him or herself, or for another person. Under the state's Rule 25 (similar to a state law), all county or tribal agencies must provide an assessment when requested. Health plans that serve Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare clients also must provide assessments. Call your health plan or county or tribal office for more information. Check this list for Rule 25 County Referral Numbers (PDF) .

  • What is addiction?

    Addiction to alcohol or other drugs is a primary, chronic illness. Genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors influence how it develops and manifests itself. The disease is often progressive and can be fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic:

    • Impaired control over one's chemical use
    • Preoccupation with alcohol or other drugs
    • Use despite adverse consequences
    • Distortions in thinking, most notably denial

    Alcohol or other drug addictions may begin with a personal choice to use these substances. However, research shows that, for many, a physiological dependence soon takes hold. Drug dependence produces significant and lasting changes in brain chemistry and function. These drug-induced changes in brain function may have behavioral consequences, including the defining characteristic of addiction: compulsion to use alcohol or other drugs despite adverse consequences.

    Like diabetes or hypertension, addiction is a chronic medical illness that can be treated successfully.

  • What is an alcohol problem?

    Researchers use the term "alcohol problems" to refer to any type of condition caused by drinking that harms the drinker, jeopardizes the drinker’s well-being or places others at risk. Alcohol problems can result from even moderate drinking, for example, driving under the influence (DUI), drinking during pregnancy or when taking certain medicines. Alcohol problems range from occasional binge drinking to alcohol abuse or dependence (alcoholism).

  • What is recovery?

    Recovery is the ongoing process of overcoming active alcoholism or other drug addictions. The goal is to reduce or eliminate problems associated with chemical use. People in recovery make a commitment to sobriety and work to improve or maintain their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

  • Where can I refer someone for treatment or to get help?

    The first step in getting help is to have a chemical dependency assessment done by a professional.

    Check the Contact us page to find out who to call to get an assessment.

  • How do I appeal if my county denies treatment services?

    If a county agency has denied you service or benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision (PDF).

  • Who can I call if I have questions about appeals?

    Call Appeals Information before filing a written appeal at:

    • 651-431-3600 in the Twin Cities metro area
    • 800-657 3510 outside the metro area
    • TTY: 800-627-3529
  • How do I report or file a complaint about a treatment facility or a grant-funded program?

    Call the Minnesota Department of Human Services Licensing Division at 651-431-6500.

  • How do I file a complaint about maltreatment issues for clients in a specific program?

    Call the Minnesota Department of Human Services Licensing Division at 651-431-6500.


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