October 10, 2023

Most treatment courts rely on quick results and fast processing to keep up with caseloads. But the growing opioid crisis has the system stretched beyond its means. Traditional urine screening methods like cups and dip strips have often been the go-to solution to ease the strain of overextended treatment courts.

But the drawbacks of enzyme immunoassay (EIA) screening make it less than ideal in many cases. One such situation is when drug abuse treatment and recovery is the focus, not just testing for the sake of testing. Treatment programs and those battling addiction need a better solution. And looking to PharmChek® for long-term recovery is that solution.

What Makes Drug Testing for Long-Term Recovery Programs Unique?

Court officials and law enforcement agencies have different challenges than treatment and recovery programs. While courts are concerned with collecting evidence through time-sensitive testing methods, recovery programs seek practices that reinforce behavior modification that keeps their patients accountable and clean.

That difference makes drug testing for long-term recovery a unique challenge. A snapshot measurement, which is all most drug tests can ever provide, doesn't offer the insight that addiction recovery strategies need. And because of that, most recovery programs actively design their plans with other accountability measures to account for those blind spots. But those additional measures can strain staff and financial resources.

The Challenges of Conventional Testing

A recovery program requires staff support. When staffing issues arise, it becomes challenging for programs to maintain a record of safety and success.

In response, programs often turn to added testing to help ensure participants are held accountable. However, these measures introduce another challenge: scheduling.

Better Scheduling

When a client is required to provide frequent samples for testing, the individual must often miss work, find transportation or secure childcare to attend appointments and maintain court compliance. Of course, these scheduling strains can lead to missed testing appointments or job loss. In either case, recovery becomes difficult to achieve and maintain.

Additionally, conventional testing methods require multiple weekly appointments at designated collection sites. For juvenile program participants, this can be incredibly challenging since most juveniles can’t drive themselves to and from collection facilities. Former juvenile drug court probation supervisor Henry Gonzales of Yuma County, AZ, has seen that frustration firsthand.

"With limited hours at our only collection facility, our families struggled to make it before the lab closed. That's a problem. But unless there's a valid reason, failing to show up for a drug test can be seen as a probation violation."

With limited hours at our only collection facility, our families struggled to make it before the lab closed. The PharmChek® Sweat Patch removed that barrier.

Henry Gonzales, former juvenile drug court probation supervisor, Yuma County Drug Court

That transportation issue was a significant barrier to their success. But when his probation program started using PharmChek® for long-term recovery and compliance needs, participants and their parents noted the difference immediately.

"The PharmChek® Sweat Patch removed that barrier. With only one appointment every ten days, parents no longer scramble to get their kids in after work several times a week. It makes their lives better, and it makes testing easier."

Today, as the program continues to rely on the PharmChek® Sweat Patch, families can be confident that their children are staying clean while keeping an everyday normal life.

All-Day Accountability

Adult clients also see the benefits of the continuous accountability that PharmChek® offers—something no other collection and testing method can provide.

Tabitha Arnsdorf, a recovered addict who now works as a case manager for the Muskogee County Adult Drug Court in Georgia, recalls the feeling of pride and gratitude the first time she wore the Sweat Patch.

"The first time I was asked to wear one, it was a proud moment. Getting the PharmChek® Sweat Patch means you've followed the program well enough to go out of town. So, for me, it was a reward."

Incorporating PharmChek® into her recovery efforts meant that Tabitha could take her son on vacation, which was extremely important to her but would not have been possible with conventional testing methods.

Tabitha says, "When the Patch goes on the arm, in many ways, the court is always with you. It's like having a sponsor stuck to your arm."

Today, PharmChek® is an integral part of her clients' treatment plans because it overcomes limitations inherent in other testing methods. However, that freedom—a significant benefit to treatment program participants—is only one challenge that needs addressing when developing a plan that leads to full recovery.

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EIA Testing: Blindspots and Uncertainties

Screening and confirmation are two different types of testing. And only one is always accurate.

Kimberly Henderson, PharmChek® sales representative

Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) screens, used for instant urine and oral fluid tests, are often the go-to choice for already-strained case managers looking for a fast, simple way to check clients regularly. But relying on EIA screens alone leaves blindspots in treatment plans.

Testing windows are also a concern. Since the detection window for most EIA screens is narrow—often only 48 hours—drug use can go undetected if too much time elapses between sample collections. That could require as many as three or more weekly tests to ensure an accurate picture of a client's use behavior.

In addition, positive EIA screens can leave gray areas in results, which can only be resolved by confirmation testing that isn't always in a program's budget or protocol. As a result, clients often leverage these gray areas to deny use.

But when positive screens are confirmed, testing uncertainties vanish. This is one of the key differences between conventional EIA screening and confirmatory testing used by PharmChek®.

"Screening and confirmation are two different types of testing," says PharmChem sales representative Kimberly Henderson, "and only one is always accurate."

The absolute accuracy of confirmatory testing through LC-MS/MS changes the course of treatment programs, and PharmChek® makes accuracy a top priority.

Urine VS Sweat Patch: What's the Difference?

Find out why drug treatment programs are turning to PharmChek® for drug testing.

The PharmChek® Advantage in Treatment Programs

What we do and what we offer with PharmChek® has to be reliable and admissible. And the LC-MS/MS confirmation makes that possible.

Jen Rankin, PharmChek® sales representative

Effective substance abuse recovery requires a tool that encourages sobriety through long-term behavioral changes, not something that punishes relapse. Using PharmChek® for long-term recovery support offers a unique collection and accountability system that urinalysis, blood tests, saliva, and other screening methods don't provide.

From consistent confirmation testing to providing clients freedom, the PharmChek® Drugs of Abuse Sweat Patch offers benefits not seen by other testing methods. These benefits are critical in achieving recovery and helping clients achieve success is at the heart of why PharmChek® exists.

Jen Rankin, one of our sales representatives, puts it this way:

"Treatment programs want to give every participant the benefit of the doubt because the goal is graduating from the program. What we do and what we offer with PharmChek® has to be reliable and admissible. And the LC-MS/MS confirmation makes that possible."

Accountability and Confidence

No other testing method offers a full picture of a donor's use patterns. 24-hour collection and a tamper-evident design keep clients on track for full recovery. And our independent labs stand behind their results so you can be sure of accurate and timely data and feedback.

  • Continuous sample collection, up to 10 days
  • Tamper-evident features
  • Positive screens automatically move on to confirmation testing

Dignity and Privacy

Most other collection methods are invasive in nature. Some require special staffing due to medical requirements or to serve genders equitably. However, the use of PharmChek® for long-term recovery is unique. No privacy concerns exist, as anyone can apply or remove the patch for sample collection, regardless of the gender involved.

  • Noninvasive testing and collection
  • Gender-indifferent system
  • Zero privacy concerns

Convenience and Cleanliness

With 3-day detection windows (or less), other testing methods require multiple weekly appointments. Using PharmChek® in recovery, your clients have one appointment to schedule, with sample collection occurring for up to ten days after application, even longer when paired with the PharmChek® Overlay.

Your team members can be confident they have the knowledge and skills to properly apply and collect samples through our comprehensive self-paced online training and guided Training Tuesdays facilitated by PharmChem's Kimberly Henderson. Plus, the PharmChek® Sweat Patch requires no exposure to urine or blood.

  • Fewer scheduling and transportation demands
  • Clean, simple collection process
  • Convenient live and self-paced education and certification options

Rewards, Sanctions, and Safety

Instead of punishing mistakes made during recovery, the PharmChek® Sweat Patch provides case managers with clear evidence of sober living. Rewarding this progress while allowing wearers to enjoy daily freedoms helps addicts change their behaviors and avoid relapse during recovery, which can often be deadly.

  • Test-forward system for recovery
  • Proof of sobriety for rewards
  • Confident results for sanctions and program adjustments
  • Get clients back to normal faster
  • Reduces risks of relapse and overdose

See What PharmChek® Could Mean for Your Program

If you're ready to leave behind the mess, uncertainty, and inconvenience of conventional testing methods, our sales representatives are ready to help.

Learn how PharmChek® for long-term recovery supports treatment programs and improves outcomes. We're committed to providing greater accountability and better solutions for substance abuse recovery professionals that lead to lifelong success and safer communities.

Call us today or contact us here to get started.