If you've ever sought treatment for opioid addiction, you’ve likely taken a drug test. We use urine drug testing at Ophelia, but you probably have some questions about why… and how.
As for why, when you start taking buprenorphine (Suboxone®), drug tests can confirm what’s called an “expected result.” This means that buprenorphine is found in your urine, and non-prescribed or recreational drugs are not. But make no mistake, our mission with drug testing isn’t to police you.
“We are interested in approaches that are based on individual's goals in treatment,” says Arthur Robin Williams, MD, Ophelia’s Chief Medical Officer. If an unexpected result is found, clinicians have an opportunity to help a patient get back on track. We are emphatically on the patient’s side.
“We've never kicked a patient out because they have a drug test result that shows they’re using opioids.”
Now, how is a urine drug test even possible when you’re getting treatment via telehealth? Not only is it possible; nearly all patients do it. In fact, Ophelia just published a study in JAMA Health Forum showing that 97.6% of patients in treatment for more than 90 days completed one or more urine drug tests.
The good news is it’s hassle-free. Here, 4 easy steps:
Step 1: Unmarked package is delivered to your door
The kit will come in the mail but do NOT open it until your appointment. Your first urine drug test usually happens at your first video appointment after your induction (aka your second visit, after you've started taking Suboxone prescribed by your Ophelia care team). Pro tip: Keep your package in a climate controlled room out of sunlight, if test cups are exposed to extreme heat or cold they may malfunction.
Step 2: Log on for your video chat
This is a quick, 10-minute visit that happens in the privacy of your home (100% shame free). Have your urine cup with you in the sealed bag.
Step 3: Pee in the cup in your bathroom
Once you’re face-to-face with your clinician, open up the bag and get the UDS cup out. Then head to the bathroom (without your phone or computer) and pee in the cup. Make sure to hit the minimum line!
Step 4: Show clinician your results
Come back to the Zoom and show the clinician all four sides of the cup. Results take just five minutes. If results are as expected, that’s it, you’re done! If not, you’ll have an open dialogue with your clinician (then or at a follow-up appointment).