Polaris Substance Abuse Assessment System Identifies Spike in Drug Abuse Among Heavy Drinkers

It is not uncommon for alcohol and drug abuse to go hand-in-hand, but the scope of the problem may have increased recently. A yearly analysis of data collected using Polaris Health Directions’ chemical dependency outcomes assessment system, Polaris-CD, has revealed a significant increase in drug use among patients seeking treatment for alcohol problems in California.  

For more than a decade, Polaris-CD has been used to help clinicians plan and manage treatment for individuals and to identify best practices through aggregate data. Thirty thousand California patients have completed Polaris-CD assessments since 2007. For each year from 2007 through 2010 about one-third of alcoholism patients reported that they also used other drugs, the percentage never varied by more than 2 percent. In 2011 the number spiked to nearly half (46 percent). 

With information such as this in hand, health care providers can better anticipate the changing needs of their patients and modify current practices accordingly. For example, Polaris-CD aggregate data helps organizations benchmark program performance, identify trends that predict the need for new types of programs and services, and conduct evidence-based evaluations of new service models.   

At the individual level, Polaris-CD helps counselors identify areas in which a patient needs support such as mental health, employment or family, design effective treatment plans based on this information and then monitor case progress. The system contains predictive algorithms for relapse and dropout, and incorporates standardized Addiction Severity Index scales along with customized content to improve the prediction of chemical dependency outcomes.  

For more information, contact Polaris at moreinfo@polarishealth.com