Should I Drug Test My Loved One When They Come Home From Treatment?

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Should I Drug Test My Loved One When They Come Home From Treatment?

Addiction is a family disease. As family members of a loved one suffering from addiction, we witness the extreme ups and downs. From relapse to recovery and back again, we’ve had to witness the destruction faced in our loved one’s lives due to their inability to stop using harmful substances in abusive ways. We want them to succeed in sobriety. Our hope for treatment is that after 30 days to 6 months, they will have discovered they are capable of living sober, for a lifetime. Upon their return home after months at sober living, we want to support them in every way we can.

Admittedly, we have some fears. We are afraid when we notice an old behavior return or catch note of an attitude that once troubled us. When our loved ones return home and call up old friends, we stay up worrying at night, praying that they don’t come home intoxicated. Though we are confident in our loved one’s new tools and their commitment to sobriety, we know the depths of addiction are deep. We’ve seen it fall apart before and would be heartbroken to see it happen again. Simultaneously, we don’t want to police our loved ones and make them feel like they can’t be trusted; yet, we feel we must keep an air of accountability not only for their sake, but for our own.

Testing a loved one when they are home is a perfectly acceptable practice if it is done with dignity and respect. There are different ways to check for intoxication in your loved one. Some methods are more expensive and complicated than others, but can provide quicker and more accurate results.


Breathalyzing machines are not always cheap or effective. Though a breathalyzer is not quick to fail, it will not indicate the use of substances other than alcohol. For a loved one with alcoholism, a breathalyzer is a quick way to check blood alcohol count.

Urinary Analysis

Urinary analysis can be performed through a stick in test or an in cup test. Giving a loved one a urinary sample can cause problems in the result. They might predict the test ahead of time and ask someone for a urine sample to use. If necessary or called for, you can supervise their sampling. When a test comes out blurred or positive, a urinary analysis can be sent to a lab for intensive analysis.

Pharmacy Grade Drug Test

Drug tests can be purchased in the pharmacy to detect what, if any, kinds of substance your loved one may have been using. However, pharmacy grade drug tests are not always reliable.

Avalon By The Sea is southern California’s premiere treatment center for substance use disorders and dual diagnosis mental health issues. One of the state’s only facilities licensed to treat mental health as a primary diagnosis, Avalon offers unparalleled care. For a confidential assessment or more information on our program, call 1 (888) 958-7511.

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