You are a counselor working at a publicly funded alcohol and drug treatment program. Your client, Doug, attends one of your counseling groups. Although he has a previous conviction and is on probation for possession of an illegal substance, he entered treatment as a voluntary client. Doug’s probation officer recently learned from another probationer that Doug is in treatment, and the officer has sent you a letter requesting that you provide a progress report and an assessment of Doug’s likelihood of relapse. The probation officer will use this information, if favorable, to petition the court for Doug’s early release from probation.
Discuss your options for responding to the probation officer’s request and describe what you would do. Cite relevant legal issues, including federal confidentiality and privacy regulations in your discussion. Identify the specific circumstances under which you would provide the information requested by the probation officer. How would you handle this differently if Doug were involuntarily attending the group?