RDAP's Criteria for Substance Abuse & Dependence

I. Criteria for Substance Abuse


A. A maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one (or more) of the following, occurring within a 12 month period:


  • Recurrent substance use resulting in failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home (e.g. repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school; neglect f children or household).
  • Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g. driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance abuse)
  • Recurrent substance-related legal problems (e.g. arrests for substance-related disorderly conduct).
  • Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance (e.g. arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication, physical fights).

B. The symptoms have never met the criteria for Substance Dependence for this class of substance.


II. Criteria for Substance Dependence


     A maladaptive pattern of substance use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:

  • Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
    • A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
    • Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of substance.
  • Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
    • The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for substance (refer to Criteria A and B of the criteria for withdrawal from the specific substances).
    • The same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • The substance is often taken in larger amounts over a longer period than intended.
  • There is a persistence desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.
  • A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance (e.g. visiting multiple doctors or driving long distances), use the substance (e.g. chain-smoking), or recover from its effects.
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.
  • The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistence or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance (e.g. current cocaine use despite recognition of cocaine-induced depression, or continued drinking despite recognition that an ulcer was made worse by alcoholic consumption).

RDAP Law and Prison Consultants specialize in successful RDAP eligibility, admissions, and support for the maximum sentence reduction possible for early release.  We take most cases on contingency, which means we will get you success or there is no fee. Your success is our success.  Timing is important and with the complex requirements surrounding what documentation are deemed acceptable, it’s important to seek consultation immediately. Call us now!

Write a comment


  • Janice W. (Saturday, October 06 12 11:46 am EDT)

    Very informative..I see what they mean now.

  • Cliff Wimberly (Sunday, March 10 13 08:41 am EDT)

    Janice, give us a call and we can review your case to make sure your loved one qualifies.

  • M (Saturday, January 31 15 03:37 pm EST)

    my friend is in Segoville, TX prison for a computer pornography. Is that something RDAP can help with?

  • Anh Nguyen (Sunday, February 01 15 11:43 am EST)

    M - your friend may be able to get into RDAP and get the time off depending on many factors. If his charge is simply possession, he can get the time off. Please call our office to discuss.

  • Anonymous (Monday, June 01 15 11:43 pm EDT)

    FMC Carswell, in Fort Worth, Texas, is said to have the most difficult RDAP program to complete. From what the director of the program said, I am not eligible because I do not have any substance
    abuse stated in my PSI...Aside from that, I know women that have been kicked out of the program due to the people getting in their faces and screaming things like "you're a bad mother, your kids
    don't love you," and that is just kicking people while they are already down. I am currently in a program that has me outside of the facility, but I return in a few months. I would like to get into
    the RDAP program to get home sooner, but is it really possible?

  • Anh Nguyen (Saturday, June 06 15 04:14 pm EDT)

    Anonymous - yes it is possible and we have assisted others at FMC Carswell. Please call our office. Please also be careful about "listening" to rumors and opinions. The RDAP program works and has
    been shown to substantially reduct re-offense.

  • renee burks (Wednesday, September 23 15 03:44 pm EDT)

    My wife was just denied because psi said she hadn't used narcotics in 4 years however is still an alcoholic. The judge did order her to complete program. there any way to appeal this decision? She
    wants into the program

  • Anh Nguyen (Friday, September 25 15 08:16 am EDT)

    Renee - Please call our office since there are many other ways to get into the program. Unfortunately, the judge can not "order" the program but rather "recommend" and it does not carry much weight.
    Call us soon so that she does not lose any time.

  • Melissa (Saturday, January 16 16 07:34 pm EST)

    My fiancé was sentenced yesterday to 24 months for violating his suprivised release for a dirty urine. He previously violated the same suprivised release two times before for a dirty urine and a DUI
    over the course of his suprivision. He was given the max violation time and is hoping to get his sentence shortened with this program. He's in a federal prison however he does have a state charge for
    the DUI that this violation may violate as well. Would he qualify? He can obtain documentation and medical records proving his problem with drugs and alcohol.

  • Anh Nguyen (Saturday, February 27 16 12:13 pm EST)

    Melissa - his state charge would be considered a "pending" charge that would prevent him in getting in this program.

  • Cassie Mayberry (Sunday, May 01 16 06:46 pm EDT)

    My friend was sentenced to 6 months jail time and one year supervised probation for dirty urine (marijuana) while on probation this is federal time stemming from smoking weed on a federal
    installation and only had a joint in possession from the original charge which he got one year probation then got a dirty urine before the year was up. Is there any chance RDAP or other can help to
    get out prior to six months.

  • Anh Nguyen (Thursday, May 05 16 01:10 pm EDT)

    Cassie - 6 months is just too short of a sentence to get into this program. Typically, 24 months is the minimum. However I have seen inmates with as long as 16 months admitted.

  • jolynn (Thursday, December 08 16 07:20 pm EST)

    My friend is on full disability having had interskellatal spinel surgery less then a year ago and is currently taking heavy pain medication in
    Whitch he will not be permitted to take in prison. There will be withdrawls and is there is no hospital nearby. He is to not lift anything over 5 lbs or walk up any steps. He will be going in on a victemless non violent crime. My question is do you think this is anywhere near the right prison for him and if so why?

  • Clayton mendes (Sunday, January 08 17 05:17 pm EST)

    Hello ,I am interested in your service on assisting me into the Rdap program. Please call when available. Thank you.

  • Anh Nguyen (Tuesday, January 31 17 08:36 pm EST)

    jolynn - Yes, your friend will most likely be going to a federal medical center. Please call our office and I can tell you more. Better yet, have your friend call us. There are pros and cons here that you want to know.

  • Anh Nguyen (Tuesday, January 31 17 08:37 pm EST)

    Clayton - we will be sending you an email.

  • Anonymous (Wednesday, February 01 17 04:43 am EST)

    I am going through a case right now am interested in this program but have no way to prove any type of substance abuse. Would I still be able to get into this program?

  • Anh Nguyen (Thursday, February 02 17 02:22 pm EST)

    Anonymous- Yes there are many ways to do this. Please call our office and we will let you know. Before it's to late.

  • Woman (Tuesday, February 14 17 10:44 am EST)

    My fiancé was sentenced to 60 months at Forrest City Low on Oct 23, 2015. He was charged with trafficking of obscene material and told to apply for RDAP by the judge. After being there for over a year, he was accepted into the program. Less than a month later, while working out, he collapsed into seizures and convulsions and they automatically assumed he was on drugs. My question is, if there were drugs in his system when they test him would he be ineligible for the program and early release? They are also charging him with having a shank that was used for hobbies, but apparently he was not supposed to have it. Will this also get him kicked out of RDAP,

  • Nichole Greene (Monday, March 06 17 09:43 am EST)

    Woman- Yes, unfortunately both shots are very serious and may get him kicked out of RDAP. However, good news is that he can reapply later.

  • Donald (Monday, July 03 17 02:19 am EDT)

    If my son had a robbery charge in 1996 (20 yrs ago) and was sentenced in 2016 ...but also has a non violet unlawful possession charge in 2012 would he qualify for the 12-month reduction or only the 6-month halfway house? He is serving BOP time now for wire fraud. Thanks for you help!

  • Nichole Greene (Monday, July 24 17 01:38 pm EDT)

    Donald, I am happy to say that the answer is yes! He is eligible to get the reduction based on your desription.

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