Acceptability of drug testing in an outpatient substance abuse program for adolescents

J Adolesc Health. 2011 Mar;48(3):229-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.08.001. Epub 2010 Nov 24.


Background: Laboratory drug testing programs may be effective in reducing substance use by adolescents, but developmentally appropriate programs have not been described, and it is unknown if adolescents would be willing to participate in drug testing.

Objective: To describe a drug testing protocol for adolescents and report on acceptance rate by patients participating in an outpatient adolescent substance abuse program.

Methods: Eligible adolescents participating in an outpatient substance abuse treatment program were offered a random laboratory drug testing program that is described in detail in this manuscript. We recorded whether they accepted and, if not, the reason for refusal.

Results: Of the first 114 eligible patients, 67 (59%) agreed to participate in a drug testing program (PDT).

Conclusions: A majority of adolescents participating in an outpatient drug treatment program agreed to participate in a drug testing program that requires frequent urine specimens and reports results to parents. Future studies should determine how this program affects treatment outcomes and whether this program is feasible in primary care.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adolescent Development
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Parents
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Urinalysis
  • Young Adult