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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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I am in an ethics class and have a scenario I would like perspective

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I am in an ethics class and have a scenario I would like perspective on. If you work for a small program that provides services to those with addictions and see one of your clients out at a bar (violating a court order) what should you do?
Federal law concerning addiction treatment requires that no information to a third party about clients without their permission. That would rule out reporting to the court or anyone else, outside your agency unless that client has signed a release. Within your agency is a different story. You can, and should confront the behavior as soon as possible. You should encourage the client to self report to the court, attorney, and sponsor as steps in taking responsibility for his/her decisions. The information should appear in your progress notes. If necessary, you could discuss the situation with your supervisor.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your answer. In that moment of seeing the client at the bar, what should you do? Is calling the police (to protect the public and client from drunk driving) appropriate?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Expert didn't respond to my reply.
At the time you see the client in the bar, he/she isn't driving drunk. In fact, from your story, it doesn't seem you even know for sure he/she is drinking. It would seem appropriate to approach the client and ask to talk with him/her. You can assess the situation, whether the client has used alcohol. If so, ask the client how they plan to get home. Encourage them to leave the bar and offer to call a cab. If the client is negative or becomes angry, back out of the situation. If you are there at the time the client leaves, and you witness him/her driving drunk, you can make an anonymous call to the police, as a private citizen based solely on what you've witnessed in a public setting.
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