10 Aug ASAM Guildelines: Rules and Regulations in Drug Treatment
As rates of addiction have skyrocketed across the United States over the past decade, the blossoming field of addiction treatment has given rise to a number of side industries, few of which have been more lucrative than drug testing. Treatment centers across the nation now frequently require patients to submit to regular drug screenings as a requirement for continuing care, and drug testing laboratories have become a multi-billion dollar industry, which, until recently, has gone largely unregulated. Historically, how these drug screenings are implemented has varied widely between treatment centers, and frequent false negatives and positives have had severe impacts on the lives of individuals seeking help for drug addiction.
However, guidelines published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine attempt to set national standards for clinical drug testing. The guidelines lay out acceptable frequency for drug testing, define distinction between testing as a complement to treatment as opposed to a relapse deterrent, and list a number of common false positives that frequently occur in drug tests, such as poppy seeds testing positive for morphine. They stress that drug testing should be used as a therapeutic tool, not as a gatekeeper for inpatient treatment or in a way that pits patients against care providers.
With standardized knowledge regarding the limitations and acceptable use of drug testing in treatment, care providers are now better positioned to work with labs to use screenings in a way that supports patients during treatment and reduces unnecessary cost overhead.
The entire set of guidelines is freely available and can be accessed via the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s website: https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/public-policy-statements/drug-testing-a-white-paper-by-asam.pdf