Illicit Substance Screening: Additional Considerations, Part 3

Illicit Drug and Alcohol Screening in Recovery Housing > Illicit Substance Screening: Additional Considerations, Part 3

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 supports, 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 fees or other such method.

Using this or a similar strategy makes it clear that the screenings are being done regardless of the choice of treatment provider, and that any documentation of an appropriate screening is acceptable. This allows residents to stay in recovery housing even after they complete treatment or if they 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 recovery housing organization should have a clearly implemented policy outlining when screenings are performed for the purposes of maintaining recovery housing. This policy should be separate from any screening policies at a clinical treatment program and should explain that all individuals, regardless of insurance coverage, are subject to the same screening policy. Such clarity 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.