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. CASE STUDY: Dennis

You are an addiction counselor in an inpatient agency setting and have been asked to
do the intake paperwork with a new client being admitted, along with completing his
assessment as he will be on your caseload. Dennis, a 32-year-old man with a wife, two
kids, and a job in a local manufacturing firm, has been mandated to treatment due to
receiving a DUI for operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol. This is his
second DUI in less than 2 years, and he is considering treatment to try to avoid jail time.
During the intake, you provide Dennis with informed consent documents to sign. You
mention that there are releases of information to sign so that you can gather his past
medical records and talk to his wife about his treatment. Dennis signs the consent
without reading it but tells you that he does not want his wife to know about his
treatment or DUI. You begin a formal assessment process and learn that Dennis has
been drinking at least a 12-pack of beer per night and usually a fifth of Scotch to help
him wind down from his day for several years. His wife is highly religious and has told
Dennis that if he does not stop drinking and come back to church, she will no longer
sleep with him and may consider a divorce. His two young daughters are taken care of
by their mother, and he has not had any real engagement with them for several months.
He tells you that he does not believe he has a drinking problem but was just unlucky in
being pulled over by the police. He goes on to say that all his workmates drink just as
much as he does, and he has not missed one day of work in 10 years due to ill health or
drinking. He is not interested in AA as he believes that the organization just pushes
As the assessment goes on, Dennis asks you to not let his work know about this second
DUI, as he does not want to be in trouble with his supervisor for having to miss work for
treatment. You explain to Dennis that you will have to be in contact with his probation
officer but that you will not violate his confidentiality within the limits legally recognized.
After the assessment, you take Dennis to the facility nurse to check out his need for
monitored detox and return to your office. Shortly thereafter, a call is transferred to you,
and the woman on the other end of the line states she is Dennis’s wife and wants to
know his treatment details. The operator had confirmed his presence in the facility and
that he has been mandated to 3 months of treatment by the court after having received
another DUI.