How Does Random Drug Testing Foster Accountability in Treatment?

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How Does Random Drug Testing Foster Accountability in Treatment?

What Is Random Drug Testing?

Random drug testing is pretty much what it sounds like. While in a recovery facility, you might be drug tested without prior notice. You’ll know that the program performs random drug tests, but you won’t be told when you’ll be drug tested.

The reasoning behind random drug testing is that you won’t have time to “prepare” for the test by either stopping the use of a substance for however long it takes to leave your system to pass the test or through illicit and dishonest means like using someone else’s urine. It is also supposed to help you stay sober. Since you never know when you’ll be tested, it’s best to just stay sober.

Types of Drug Tests

Regardless of whether you have substance use disorder (SUD) or not, chances are you’ll be drug tested at some point in your life. There are six main ways of drug testing. They all have different uses and accuracy windows, so it can be important to choose the right test for the right substance.

The first and most common form of drug test is urine testing. It can detect substances used hours or days ago. In continued use, a substance can be detected up to nine weeks later. It has a quick turnaround time and is one of the most studied methods. This is why it’s usually used for job and government-required testing.

Blood testing is usually only used in emergency situations. It’s useful in this context because blood testing allows medical professionals to determine the precise amount of a substance in a body. The detection window for this test is one to two days.

Breath testing is mainly used for alcohol testing but can also be used to detect cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines, and other kinds of drugs. Oral fluid testing is better at determining exactly what substance is in the body than urine testing. However, its detection window is much smaller, only up to 48 hours.

Sweat testing uses an absorbent pad that the individual wears. It can only determine how much of a substance was consumed while the individual was wearing the pad. The upside of this method is that it has a large detection window lasting up to a few weeks. 

The last kind of test is hair testing. Hair testing has the longest detection window, with some hair being able to store 12 months of data.

Why Do Facilities Use Random Drug Testing?

As we said before, random drug testing is another tool to help you stay sober, which is what our treatment program and other recovery facilities really care about. Random drug testing also helps to boost your confidence in staying sober. Every time you test negative, it’s an accomplishment. The negative result is proof that you can stay in recovery and live a sober life. 

Another important thing that random drug testing ensures is honesty. Honesty is one of the most important aspects of recovery and therapy, especially when you’re living with SUD. Honesty is also integral for establishing community support in recovery support groups and group therapy. The bonds only form between people who are completely honest about their sobriety and relapses. This is super important since community support is one of the most effective tools to stay sober. 

How We Use Random Drug Testing

We use random drug testing in our sober living home. Our facility uses breathalyzer testing. Unlike other types of drug testing like urine samples and blood tests, breath tests are non-invasive and deliver quick results. Breath testing also works because tests are conducted so frequently.

These tests are administered twice a week. This ensures that even substances that leave your system quickly can be detected with relative accuracy. It may seem annoying, but frequent random drug tests are very effective at maintaining sobriety.

How Does Random Drug Testing Help With Recovery?

As we discussed above, random drug testing fosters honesty. Honesty helps build bonds with other people in recovery, which helps you stay sober.

Random drug testing also has more “practical” uses. Drug testing can help gauge the severity of your addiction based on how many frequent drug tests you can pass. When starting your journey in recovery, random drug tests can also help establish the severity of your withdrawal symptoms since you’ll have exact information to work with.

Additionally, if you fail a drug test, it can be used as an opportunity to identify why you relapsed. This can include identifying triggers, which can then be addressed in therapy. The identification and treatment of those triggers can help prevent episodes of relapse and make it easier for you to live a sober life.

It may seem like a pain in the neck, but random drug testing can be helpful in maintaining sobriety and staying in recovery.