Drug testing during drug or alcohol rehab is an important part of helping to ensure the sobriety of everyone at the clinic, and the continued sobriety of patients after they complete the program. The fact of the matter is that relapse happens at all stages of recovery – including during a treatment program. This should not be looked at as a failure because relapse is simply a part of recovery, but it is necessary to drug test individuals in some cases in order to ensure the integrity of the drug treatment program in question.
There are three primary instances where a recovering addict or alcoholic will be drug tested while attending a clinical rehab program. These include:
#1: Prior to Detox
As part of the detox process, medical staff must have an accurate understanding of the type and overall quantity/duration of use of particular drugs. The Wikipedia entry for Drug Detoxification explains in part;
“Upon beginning drug detoxification, a patient is first tested to see which specific substances are presently circulating in their bloodstream and the amount.” And; “Rapid detox patients placed under anesthesia while given treatment drugs, such as naltrexone, can avoid the extreme pain associated with such treatments, say proponents, and bypass the major effects of withdrawal.” (1)
This is critical considering that some drugs and alcohol can be dangerous to detox from in some cases. Additionally, the uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms of Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can be managed with medication, but require a drug test in order to clear any existing drug interactions or risks.
Part of the issue here is that many addicts attending drug detox have done so before and are aware that medical staff will often be required to “step-down” their drug use. For instance, a patient who arrives at detox for a benzodiazepine addiction cannot just simply stop taking these drugs – they must gradually reduce their doses. Consequently, patients are sometimes prescribed these or similar drugs in order to prevent dangerous withdrawal-related complications from occurring.
Knowing the step-down process, some patients will lie or exaggerate the amount of drugs they were using in order to get a higher or continuing dose while in detox. Others will take an excessive dose immediately before arriving for detox. Drug testing eliminates the ability of addicts to manipulate these important medical detox processes.
Drug testing may occur several times during detox in order to monitor the levels of drugs in the patient and to adjust treatment strategies accordingly. Testing can also be administered if there is reason to believe that the client may have gotten access to drugs or alcohol, or as a means of indicating to a long-term drug treatment center that the patient is no longer physically under the influences of drugs or alcohol.
In Drug Testing at Addiction Treatment Centers Part 2, we’ll discuss the two other types of drug testing that may occur during rehab: when required due to suspicion or as part of random testing, and when court-ordered. But if you or someone you love is suffering from a drug problem or has recently relapsed, you need to take action right now. By calling the number at the top of your screen you can get an immediate, free and confidential consultation. We can help you end the cycles of addiction, and all you need to do to get started is pick up the phone.
(1) Wikipedia Drug Detoxification