How Does Drug Testing Work in Addiction Treatment Centers?

Drug testing is a necessary step in a person’s journey to recovering from opioid addiction. It is not, however, the only step. An individual’s honesty and willingness to share one’s struggles with a provider or employer are just as important.

MATClinics uses Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) as the core of its recovery program. This is an addiction recovery treatment plan in which opioid addiction is managed and treated using medications, as they would any other chronic disease, like diabetes and hypertension. These medications work by blocking the effects of opioids to help move a person away from a substance use disorder. MATClinics helps a person living with drug addiction to overcome the physical, emotional, and social barriers associated with recovery.

Types of Drug Testing:

Different treatment programs use different levels of drug testing. Below are the three most common types of testing:

Point of Care Cup Testing

Most programs require that patients in treatment provide urine samples periodically in point of care cups. These cups can test a variety of substances, and range from 8 unique substances to 16 plus. These cups give providers an instant read in just a few minutes. While point of care cups provide quick results, they run the risk of producing false positives and false negatives. A false positive is when the cup reads positive for a substance that is not actually present in the sample. A false negative is when the cup fails to produce a result that is present in the sample.

Point of care ups are useful for preliminary results. For more accurate results, many providers send samples to laboratories for screening and/or confirmation testing.

Screening Laboratories

When a provider sends a urine sample to a screening laboratory, the lab will run the urine sample through a special machine that will produce positive and negative results with nearly exact accuracy. These are considered “true positives” and “true negatives”.

Confirmation Laboratories

The final level of urine testing is when samples are sent to a confirmation laboratory. Confirmation labs not only produce accurate results; they also report quantities of found substances. Many Suboxone providers choose to send their urine samples to a confirmation lab to control for diversion: when a urine sample is falsified by a patient, the cup and the screening lab will report a positive result for buprenorphine. Confirmation labs, however, can test for a metabolite called norbuprenorphine. This metabolite is a byproduct of buprenorphine, and is only positive when the medication is processed through the liver. A confirmation lab result with negative norbuprenorphine results and positive buprenorphine results indicate that the urine sample was falsified.

At MATClinics, honesty is the best policy. We encourage all patients to provide their own urine samples, without falsification or adulteration. We understand that relapse is a natural part of recovery, and we will not penalize patients for relapsing while in treatment. Diversion, however, is not tolerated.

Detectability of Suboxone      

It is possible that a patient would be subjected to drug tests outside of treatment, like if the test is a condition for employment. It is, therefore, necessary to answer the questions a person may have regarding the detectability of Suboxone.

Does Suboxone Show Up in Drug Tests?

Generally speaking, Suboxone will not show up as other opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. However, Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone and will show up in a standard drug test if a provider or an employer specifically tests for buprenorphine, its metabolites, or naloxone.

An individual prescribed Suboxone should not stop taking it before undergoing a drug test. If an employer tests for buprenorphine, they may require proof of an active prescription or a letter from a provider.

What Does Suboxone Come Up As on a Drug Test?

A common concern is that Suboxone will cause a false positive for other opioids. It does not. As previously stated, Suboxone will register if the drug test tests for its components: buprenorphine, its metabolites, and naloxone.

How Long Does Suboxone Remain in Your System?

Another concern for those in treatment is how long Suboxone remains in a person’s system. The short answer is that it’s difficult to say with any precision. It will vary from person to person, depending on a few factors:

  • Age, Weight, & Metabolism: A younger and healthier person will metabolize any drugs more quickly.
  • Dosage and Frequency of Use: Higher dosages and more frequent use lengthen the period of detectability.
  • Liver Function: Should excessive drinking compromise a person’s liver functions, a drug will not metabolize as efficiently as it should.
  • Combination with Another Drug: Other drugs may interact with Suboxone and slow its metabolization.

Should an employer order special tests, a lab can detect Suboxone not only in urine but also in tests on saliva, blood, and hair follicles. Urine tests are the most common. Suboxone urine tests can detect substances up to two weeks after consumption. The others are as follows:

  • Saliva: up to 5 days
  • Blood: up to 96 hours
  • Hair Follicles: 1 to 3 months

Continue Your Recovery With MATClinics

MATClinics commits itself to the gradual and complete recovery of all its patients. Therefore, every treatment and recovery plan is individualized from the initial intake through management, maintenance, and counseling.

While physical recovery is important, emotional renewal is just as important. Each patient’s counselor has extensive experience helping those managing an opioid addiction and their family members to address the underlying and emotional causes that led to addiction.

Taking the first step on the road to recovery is a brave act of courage. Contact MATClinics today and begin the journey back to complete physical and emotional health.

Speak to a member of our team to schedule a New Patient visit, or just to get more information.

Thank you for your inquiry, we will reach out to you soon. If you don’t want to wait, please call or text us at 410.220.0720.
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