The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has recently published “Appropriate Use of Drug Testing in Clinical Addiction Medicine” ( in an effort to provide guidance in the “identification, diagnosis, treatment, and promotion of recovery for patients with or who are at risk for addiction.” The guidance fills an important gap in that there are currently no universal standard drug tests for these purposes and, indeed, evidence is limited as to whether drug testing in addiction treatment improves outcomes and if there are ways to modify drug testing to better improve outcomes.

Considering the price for urine drug testing, particularly quantitative testing, it seems that careful consideration is prudent before adding expensive assays of unproven value.

ASAM’s document should be welcomed by clinicians as an important effort to help fill in the gaps for the care of substance abusers, many of whom are treated by primary care...

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