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Appendix 1931.2: Criteria for Diagnosing Substance Abuse

CPS June 2010

Summarizing the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-IV), DFPS uses the following definitions:


Low or infrequent consumption of alcohol or drugs not resulting in impairment.


A pattern of use characterized by one or more of the following, within a 12-month period:

  •  Failure to fulfill major role obligations

  •  Recurrent use in physically hazardous situations

  •  Trouble with the law

  •  Interpersonal or social problems

  •  Misuse of prescription medication or intravenous drugs

Dependency or Addiction

Within a 12-month period, three or more of the following:

  •  The continued use of a substance despite negative consequences

  •  An increase in tolerance

  •  Unsuccessful in cutting down use

  •  Withdrawal symptoms

  •  Drug seeking

  •  Behavioral changes

  •  Disregarding physical or psychological problems caused by use

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