Many people moving into a sober home after going through a recovery program want to know if they will be drug tested in the home. The simple answer is, in most respectable sober homes, there is random drug testing. But there is more to drug testing than just giving a urine sample and testing positive or negative.
Men and women coming into any of Vanderburgh House’s MASH certified sober homes WILL be drug tested upon coming into the home. We also do random drug tests during throughout the week. It is important for our residents and their sobriety and safety, to make sure that there is no drug use in our home.
What Happens if Someone Tests Positive for Drugs in a Sober Home?
While I can’t speak for all sober homes, Vanderburgh House has a zero tolerance for coming up positive. However, there is always a chance the drug test is a false positive. If someone is adamant that they did not use, we send them for a more thorough drug test at a hospital. They are required to do a blood test and have levels checked. Most men and women will admit right away if they used. We try to work with the resident and get them into a detox right away. This does not mean they are allowed back in our home, however, it gives them a safe place to detox rather than kicking them out on to the street.
What is the Difference Between Drug Tests in the Labs?
Some sober homes use labs to do their drug tests. This can cut back on the cost of buying the drug tests, especially since sober homes tend to go through so many. Most of these labs require the use of quick cups and will pick them up from the home. Because they are lab tested they can be more reliable. This also helps to cut down on the cost of residents having a false positive and having to go to the ER and get blood work for levels, especially since this comes out of their pocket.
There are many kinds of drug tests that can be used to determine if someone has been using drugs or alcohol. There is the most widely used which is the urine test. Then there is blood work, hair follicle testing, and a mouth swab. Many courts require hair follicle testing or mouth swab to prevent people from scamming.
The downside to lab testing is that they usually require insurance. If you don’t have insurance, or you have Mass Health, it can be a very expensive test. Sober homes do not get government assistance, so we cannot pay out of pocket for all of the tests. If we have 100 residents in 4 different houses, and the lab charges 6.50 per test and we test each resident twice a week that is $1300 per week! With the stigma of recovery dwindling, our hope is that either insurance will start paying for these tests, or that companies will start dropping their prices to make drug testing more affordable for those trying to do the right thing.