Does Drug Testing Improve Recovery Outcomes for Opiate Addicts?

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Many options are available for addiction rehab, especially for the treatment of opiate addiction, and fortunately, a number of these can all be used together to form a well-rounded treatment program. Drug testing, as a treatment option for addiction, actually has been proven to improve recovery outcomes for opiate addicts. If you want to find an addiction treatment program that caters to your needs and will help you safely recover from addiction, call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? now.

The Benefits of Drug Testing

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Since the inception of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction (MAT), drug testing has provided both an objective measure of treatment efficacy and a tool to monitor patient progress.” In addition, it has also helped to improve patient outcomes, as a study cited by SAMHSA stated that readily available drug testing “improved patient cooperation and program management.”

This option may not always be necessary to treatment, and some individuals may be hesitant about the concept at first. However, over time, it has been proven that this method

Drug Testing

Drug testing makes patients more likely to cooperate with their treatment programs.

  • Helps patients stop abusing dangerous susbtances
  • Keeps patients in treatment longer
  • Makes patients more likely to cooperate with their treatment programs and clinicians
  • Gives clinicians a more accurate measure of patient progress and the efficiency of their treatment

It is a fairly easy way to monitor a patient’s progress while also keeping them engaged in treatment and their recovery. It can be expensive to perform drug tests, but the benefits far outweigh the costs in most situations, which is why many different types of programs utilize it.

How Is Drug Testing Used in and after Opiate Addiction Treatment?

Drug testing can be used in rehab and recovery in many different ways. According to SAMHSA, many employers use this option to ensure that their employees are not abusing drugs. This can be done upon the hiring process or after an accident, as many people know, but some workplaces utilize this method after someone completes their addiction treatment program for opioid abuse. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) often help employees find treatment, and this use of drug testing is often a part of these programs’ effectiveness as well as a way for employers to ensure their workers are doing well after rehab.

In addition, regular treatment centers utilize drug testing too. Patients can be tested for a number of drugs, including:

  • Opioids
  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • PCP
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Alcohol
  • MDMA

Even if someone was only an abuser of opioids in the past, it is important to make sure that their use has not shifted to another type of drug. Usually, outpatient programs are the ones most likely to implement drug testing as part of treatment, as patients are not in a controlled program and, therefore, have a possibility of abusing drugs while away from their treatment program. Clinicians can find out whether or not patients are making progress or sliding backwards and if patients are improving the other outcomes of their lives based on consistent, negative drug tests.

Opiate Addiction Treatment Options that Can’t Be Overlooked

Drug Testing and Behavioral Therapy

Contingency management is actually a beneficial way in which this method is used with behavioral therapy to create better treatment outcomes for opioid addicts. The program involves “giving patients tangible rewards to reinforce positive behaviors such as abstinence” (National Institute on Drug Abuse). There are two types of contingency management, both of which can be used on opioid addicts.

  • The voucher-based system gives patients vouchers for desirable things every time they provide a negative urine sample. The vouchers get better as the individual provides more negative samples, and if a person does in fact use drugs, they return to the beginning of the voucher program.
  • The prize incentive system gives patients draws for a prize each time they provide a negative sample. Usually, the prize is cash, and the more draws the individual has, the more likely they are to win. If they provide a drug-positive test, their draws return to zero.

This program not only makes patients more likely to stay abstinent but it also changes the way the brain perceives rewards: when the prize or voucher becomes more important than their substance abuse, the individual will experience much improved outcomes for their recovery.

Do You Need Treatment for Opiate Addiction?

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