Effective drug testing for better addiction treatment

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Effective drug testing for better addiction treatment

Effective drug testing for better addiction treatment

Most people get hooked on a substance either as a way to self-medicate or to get a high, without realizing the fallouts. However, those who recognize the risks involved in continued use of the harmful substance and seek help, the treatment process starts with the diagnosis involving a thorough evaluation of the symptoms by a certified psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor. Common drug testing methods include urine or blood test as well as hair sample, believed to be more effective as it can detect the use over the previous few months.

However, there have been instances where drug test reports were doubtful and may give rise to two scenarios – false-positives and false-negatives. False-positives are situations where the test samples, be it saliva, urine, blood or hair, are falsely reported as positive even if they are actually drug-free. The negative outcome of a false-positive drug test includes loss of employment, jail time, and inappropriate medical care among others. On the other hand, false-negative drug tests are situations where there are abnormalities in the samples and such situations are mostly common with urine samples as they are susceptible to deliberate adulteration as an attempt to cheat the drug tests. In order to avoid such mishaps, there is a need for a more reliable process of drug testing for identification, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients with high risk of drug use disorders.

New consensus document for drug testing

Considering the risks of untreated addiction, coupled with the common occurrence of non-inclusive drug testing procedures, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) released the new consensus document on July 12, 2017. The recommendations that are accompanied by a string of resources are based on the evidence from more than 100 research studies and was developed following the RAND Corporation/UCLA Appropriateness Method (RAM) which is a process for combining scientific evidence with the collective judgement of experts in order to identify appropriate clinical practices and highlight areas that need research.

The recommendations focus on when, where and how often it is appropriate to carry out drug testing in clinical addiction medicine to improve patient outcomes,. It also lays emphasis on routine testing in all addiction treatment settings. It addresses a number of issues faced during testing which includes the selection of tests, scheduling, and appropriate response to test results and cost considerations. It also acts as a guideline for documentation, practitioner education and expertise, patient confidentiality, as well as test facilities and devices. It states measures related to how the tests should be carried out for special populations like adolescents, pregnant mothers and people in recovery.

The consensus document is a welcome development that has come at a time when so many people are suffering from problems related to drug addiction. It can help ensure a step forward towards quality drug testing procedures, which are integral for overall effective treatment and long-lasting recovery.

Road to recovery

Drug addiction is more than just a social evil; it strains relationships and lead to suicide ideation and premature death. The need of the hour is to spread awareness at a broader level and make health care services accessible to all. Problems arising from drug addiction can be treated, provided one seeks timely advice from experts and develops strong determination to fight back.

Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline can provide the affected individuals information on the best drug rehabilitation centers in Arizona where qualified staff and customized programs help in early recovery. Call us on our 24/7 helpline (866) 576-4147 or chat with an expert to get connected to evidence-based drug addiction treatment centers in Arizona.

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