Access to this form of testing is vital to our short and long term decisions regarding care for the individuals we treat.

The Importance of High-Complexity, Definitive Testing in Effectively Serving Individuals with Substance Use Disorders

When initiating care for individuals seeking treatment for substance or opioid use disorders, healthcare providers are faced with significant challenges brought about by recent major changes in the drugs that are circulating throughout the US. While providing this type of care has never been without its challenges, the increase in polydrug use and growing prevalence of novel high potency synthetic opioids has brought on difficulties greater than those encountered in the past. Lauren Grude, a Nurse Practitioner treating individuals seeking care at Freeman Recovery Center, provide insights into the issues that she faces today. “While working within our detoxification and residential treatment programs, I often times encounter individuals with various concurrent substance use disorders, and frequently, they also suffer from additional behavioral health conditions such as major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. I must work quickly to gain a thorough understanding of the medical history of the individuals I see, but it is equally important for me to be able to better understand their recent substance use history. The availability of relevant, accurate testing that is broad enough to capture substances used, including those unknown to the individuals I treat, is key to effective care.”

“We are seeing more and more individuals that are entering treatment with multiple substance use disorders or that are unaware of substances detected through testing that are in drugs they have used. Unfortunately, some of our approaches to treatment that have been effective in the past are becoming less so now due to the changing drug environment.”

For Lauren, access to definitive testing, including broader testing when medically necessary, is not only key to identification of what is in a specimen, but is also extremely important in making decisions regarding follow-up care.

“Access to this form of testing is vital to our short and long term decisions regarding care for the individuals we treat. Not only does it help with understanding use history and providing data-driven education to those in need, but it also is helpful in planning for lengths of stay and comfort care to ensure those seeking treatment get what they need to get well.”

Lauren Grude, Nurse Practitioner
Freeman Recovery Center is a treatment center for rehab.