Not all addicts can afford treatment at a licensed treatment center. That does not mean they are not actively seeking help for their addiction. Some addicts are able to find beds in half-way homes and other types of facilities. The majority of these institutions require recovering addicts to sign pledges not to use while at the facility. If they do, they lose their right to be there. It makes sense, the home is provided to those seeking to live a sober life. Those that are making that goal difficult and not respecting the rules are no longer allowed to live there. As such, these recovering addicts are one mistake away from being homeless. Does this style of treatment help or hinder addicts’ recovery? If addicts are going to be afraid of getting caught maybe they will not relapse. If that test forces them out onto the street where they are more likely to relapse and continue a pattern of substance abuse and addiction, then is the test effective? These are interesting questions in the field of addiction.

Successful Treatment

To understand whether drug testing is effective or not in treatment it is necessary to understand what successful treatment is. In obvious, clear-cut terms, successful treatment is any treatment that helps an addict stop doing drugs. It gives them a healthy, sober future without relapse. Most drug treatment/rehabilitation centers have alternative, more flexible, definitions of successful treatment. Successful treatment is going to vary from person to person. Addiction is complex and is unique to each individual addict. No one addiction is like another. Personality, family history, environment and drug choice are all aspects of an addiction. The varieties are endless, which is why success is going to be measured and recorded differently. Some addicts need several months to overcome their addiction, while others may need a few days. Each drug and addict has different characteristics. Some addicts may simply want to stop doing drugs, but are unwilling to give up alcohol.

Treating Addiction

The way addiction is treated today is different from the past. As we understand more about addiction the method of treating it changes. It is getting much more medical and clinical support now than it has ever before. Physicians are studying and applying medical techniques to the treatment of addiction. As such, many professionals believe that like other health tests, drug testing is a pivotal part of the recovery process. To understand the positives or negatives of treatment, drug testing can be effective. Honesty and being open or comfortable with physicians or treatment professionals can be difficult for addicts. It is especially hard because most addicts have lived in the ‘shadows’ or in secret as a result of their addiction. Drug testing can make this process of communication easier for the recovering addict and their treatment specialist.

Support or Punishment

The main goal of drug testing should be to support the addict in his or her journey towards sobriety. If an addict is afraid of failing and the penalties of that, then they are less likely to get help. Testing should be utilized in a therapeutic way, so as not to deter the addict from continuing their treatment. There are different rules, in terms of treatment/housing, for different situations. A failed drug test should never be considered a failure or end in punishment, but there are situations where it must. Sober houses or halfway homes, for example, can only function properly when the rules of the house are followed. The safety of all those living in the home is dependent on everyone following those rules. In conclusion, is drug testing hindering addicts’ recovery? It would depend on the situation and way the testing is being utilized.