By Deni Carise Ph.D., March 30 2010
In mid-March, “CASPAR,” a treatment-improving system developed and evaluated at the Treatment Research Institute (TRI), was designated an evidence-based practice on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).
This Computer-Assisted System for Patient Assessment and Referral (CASPAR) uses technology to promote validated assessment of substance abuse patients along with corresponding referral to community-based, free or low-cost services addressing various client needs. By “needs” I mean those needs that can’t be met on-site, such as medical and dental services, job training, getting a driver’s license reinstated and most any other type of service needed.
Although we pitch the system on the TRI website for use with adult clients, it can also be used to find referrals for adolescents with substance use/abuse problems. Criminal justice case managers, those providing brief interventions in physician offices, etc. can also use CASPAR.
Think of an adolescent client you may be treating for whom a validated assessment reveals significant substance use or dependence. The assessment may also show, for example, that the adolescent has lost a driver’s license which may in turn be complicating job searches. A well-populated “Resource Guide” allows the counselor to do a quick search and find the service or services available in the community matched to the location of the client, his/her financial means, whether the service is targeted to adolescents, the hours of operation, etc.
CASPAR embraces the concept of treating all of the person’s needs, some via referral, and not just his/her substance use issues. These are problems that, if not compromising clients’ recovery, are certainly detracting from their lives.
And again, while the CASPAR studies were implemented in adult substance abuse treatment centers, all of us know that younger clients experience potentially life-altering complications that can and should be addressed. The system is designed to help counselors get wrap-around services for the affiliated needs of their patients, freeing up counselor time to concentrate on substance use issues.
TRI has developed a CASPAR “shell” (CASPAR-C™) for programs to populate with local resources. Developing a Resource Guide for a specific locality may require up-front time by IT or other program staff, but the investment of time can be well worth it. Technology is essential for busy counselors for whom there just isn’t enough time in the day.
Contact Meghan Love at TRI to answer any questions you might have about using this system in your work.
Deni Carise, Ph.D. is a Senior Scientist and Director of Treatment Systems Research at the Treatment Research Institute. She is also Senior VP and Chief Clinical Officer at Phoenix House.
Updated: February 08 2018