The Importance of Drug Testing

Mental-health and alcohol-and-other-drug (AOD) treatment could both be considered "gray sciences." That is, they both operate within very subjective and fluid parameters. It is extremely difficult to monitor treatment effectiveness, as there are few measurable standards upon which to base a conclusion. Is a person less depressed today than they were last week or is their level of craving greater than a couple of days earlier? Because behavioral sciences are based upon interpretation of self-disclosure, there will always be a degree of opinion and even trial-and-error in dealing with people suffering from either of these afflictions.

The criminal justice system, on the other hand, is a very black-and-white segment of society. Either a person is guilty or they are not. It is not a segment of society that will accept subjective measures of guilt or innocence. How can these two very different philosophies thrive while working together in a drug court? Drug testing provides an objective measure of participant progress and allows the treatment team to make both clinical and legal decisions based upon concrete evidence. Participant progress, rewards, and sanctions are all based on the qualitative results of the drug-testing component of the program.

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