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What happens if I fail a urine drug screen during treatment?

Urine drug testing is a tool used to support recovery and address relapse, and “failing” a urine drug screen test will not result in discharging patients from Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) treatment.

Because buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is a life-saving medication, our goal is to keep you on this evidence-based treatment as long as possible. We encourage patients to be honest and discuss relapses and close-calls so we can help maximize their chances of success in recovery. As a chronic disease, relapse is oftentimes part of the long road of recovery. Urine drug screens are one way to help hold patients accountable, so we don’t talk about “failing a drug test.” If your urine drug screen shows substances that are not part of your recovery plan, then it’s an opportunity for you and your provider to explore what is going on. Your provider will not judge you but will attempt to understand your current circumstances and will work with you to develop a plan that gets you back on track to meaningful life in recovery.

Rebekah L. Rollston, MD, MPH

Dr. Rollston is a Family Medicine Physician at Cambridge Health Alliance, Affiliate Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Primary Care Blog, and Founder of Doctors For A Healthy US, LLC. She earned her Medical Degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine and her Master of Public Health from The George Washington University. Her professional interests focus on social influencers of health & health disparities, addiction medicine, sexual & reproductive health, homelessness & supportive housing, and rural health.

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