Although drug testing occurs in nearly every addiction treatment setting, there is a lack of evidence-based guidance regarding test frequency, test interpretation, and which drugs to test for. Drug testing practices vary widely.
Drug testing has been referred to as “the technology of addiction treatment,” but like any technology, its value depends on whether it is utilized correctly. Inappropriate testing practices can alienate or traumatize patients, produce inaccurate results, and pose risks to patient safety.
The inappropriate use of drug testing not only compromises clinical care, but it opens the door to fraud, which can have extraordinary costs to third party payers, taxpayers, and at times the patients who are receiving care.