Illicit Substance Screening: Additional Considerations cont.

Illicit Drug and Alcohol Screening in Recovery Housing > Illicit Substance Screening: Additional Considerations cont.


Additional Considerations for an Illicit Drug and Alcohol Screening Policy

Appropriate separation from other programs and services is a must.

Recovery housing is a housing setting, and while the agency may offer additional services and support, such as clinical treatment services, residents must maintain free choice in their providers for different services.

A best practice suggestion for maintaining this free choice is to separate the recovery housing screening for alcohol and illicit drugs from the clinical treatment program.

Any clinical treatment provider can perform drug screenings that are needed according to the individual’s clinical treatment program or appropriate clinical guidelines.  The recovery home can accept the documentation from these screens as evidence that a resident has taken an appropriate screen if appropriate releases of information are documented.  The recovery housing program can also accept this documentation from any appropriately qualified provider.  If the recovery home needs an additional screen that is not a part of a resident’s clinical treatment program, the screen can be performed by the recovery housing program, and the costs of the screen included in the recovery housing program fees or other such method.

Using this, or a similar strategy, it is clear that the screenings are done regardless of the choice of treatment provider, and that any documentation of an appropriate screening is accepted, allowing residents to stay in recovery housing if they complete treatment, and/or choose different providers for their treatment services.

Finally, ensure that all illicit drug and alcohol screenings are done for the purposes of supporting the individual resident and ensuring health and safety of the recovery home and not strictly for billing purposes or revenue generation for a larger agency.

A clearly implemented policy concerning when screenings are performed for the purposes of maintaining recovery housing that is separate from any screening policies at a clinical treatment program and that describes that all individuals, regardless of insurance coverage, are subject to the same screening policy, can help demonstrate that screenings are done for the purpose of maintaining the illicit drug and alcohol free environment in the  home, and not simply to increase billable services for a particular treatment agency.