Illicit Substance Screening: Importance of Clear and Consistent Policies cont.

Illicit Drug and Alcohol Screening in Recovery Housing > Illicit Substance Screening: Importance of Clear and Consistent Policies cont.


Importance of a clear and consistent approach to illicit drug and alcohol screening.

Illicit drug and alcohol screening is one of the most important ways that you can ensure that residents in your recovery housing program are maintaining their commitment to not consuming these substances while they are living in the home.

  • A clear policy demonstrates this commitment not only to your residents, but also shows family members, neighbors, referral sources and community members that you are an organization committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for the community.

While it may seem like it is a punitive measure, appropriate screening can be considered a support if it is always implemented in a way that is focused on resident safety and experience.

For example, if residents are aware of expectations regarding screening, they may be more likely to reach out for help when they need it, instead of hiding when they are struggling.  Your program can promote a culture where it is encouraged and expected that residents will ask for help to overcome challenges instead of one where residents are expected to fail and be found out.

Additionally, when a solid screening program is in place, residents who experience a disruption in their recovery are more likely to have the issue addressed early, increasing the likelihood of being able to re engage in recovery support, needed treatment, or other resources in order to help them learn from their experience and continue on a journey to recovery.

Having a screening policy that is clear and consistently implemented helps you ensure that you are treating all residents fairly. 

  • Your policy sets the expectation that all residents are subject to the same rules and guidelines if they would like to live in the house.  Maintaining this policy helps you create an environment of respect and accountability among all residents in the home, because they know exactly what the expectations are, as well as what the response will be for certain actions.