Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Opioid Treatment (PA-OTP) 4: Intake and Assessment

The agency's intake and assessment practices ensure that individuals receive prompt and responsive access to appropriate services.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: OPIOID TREATMENT (PA-OTP)



Individuals who participate in Opioid Treatment Programs improve social, emotional, and vocational functioning, achieve optimal productivity, and attain the recovery they seek.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Screening and intake procedures
  • Assessment procedures
  • Copy of assessment tool(s)
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

PA-OTP 4.01

Individuals are screened and informed about:
  1. how well their request matches the agency's services; and
  2. what services will be available and when.
NA Another agency is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OTP 4.02

Prompt, responsive intake practices:
  1. gather information necessary to identify critical service needs and/or determine when a more intensive service is necessary;
  2. give priority to pregnant women, and individuals with urgent needs and emergency medical or psychiatric situations;
  3. facilitate the identification of individuals and families with co-occurring conditions and multiple needs;
  4. support timely initiation of services; and
  5. provide placement on a waiting list or referral to appropriate resources when individuals cannot be served or cannot be served promptly.

PA-OTP 4.03

Persons served participate in an individualized, culturally and linguistically responsive assessment that is:
  1. completed within established timeframes;  
  2. updated as needed based on the needs of persons served; and
  3. focused on information pertinent for meeting service requests and objectives.


The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OTP 4.04

Each person admitted to the program receives a medical evaluation by a physician, or a qualified medical practitioner under the supervision of the medical director, within 14 days of admission that includes, but is not limited to, the following baseline information:
  1. medical history, including history of narcotic dependence;
  2. evidence of current physical dependence;
  3. laboratory examinations, including a serological test for syphilis, a tuberculin skin test, and a toxicology test to analyze drug dependence;
  4. determination of the presence of infectious diseases or organ abnormalities; and
  5. determination of vital signs, general appearance.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OTP 4.05

Persons served are screened for:
  1. high-risk behaviors related to HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, multi drug-resistant tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases;
  2. patterns of other drug use, including Benzodiazepines;
  3. presence of co-occurring health and mental health conditions; and
  4. issues related to criminal activities.


Individuals known to use Benzodiazepines, even when prescribed, should be counseled as to their risk and provided with overdose prevention education and medication to counter the effects in the event of opioid overdose.


Individuals identified as having mental health needs should receive integrated treatment directly or through referral to a cooperating service provider.