Ambush Drug Test at my Psych Appointment- Wait, What?

I’m still shaking off my first experience with Medication Monitoring. This took place a few days ago, and I was completely bombarded, with no explanation, no warning, no consideration for my personal space.

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My pdoc appointment went quite smoothly. I talked about my grandfather’s funeral, about the baby, about being a temporary stay at home mom. We went through the checklist about side effects, mood fluctuations, and if I have any thoughts of harming myself (I don’t). Pdoc agreed we should keep my medications the same as they’d been, and he wrote up the new scripts. I gathered my wallet and keys, and started for the office door. Just before I hit the front desk, he informs me that everyone is taking a urinalysis for medication monitoring. I was a little confused. He laughed and said it’s to make sure people are taking their meds, and not selling their Adderall. Well since I take my meds and I don’t sell anything, I just agreed that it wasn’t a problem. I was also under the assumption that he would write me a prescription to take to a lab for the test proceedings. Those of you on Lithium know about this all too well. Was that what happened? Nope.

Surprise! As I walked through the second set of doors into the lobby, a woman I’d not seen before was standing there waiting for me with a little piss cup in her hand. She gestured toward the waiting room bathroom. I felt ambushed. No opportunity for questions, no discussion. I’d been at this psychiatric facility for almost ten years and never felt so put off. Honestly, I felt as if I were in trouble.

After I provided my little sample, she had me sign a form, supposedly for them to bill my insurance. This is also when I was given an informational card entitled, “Medication Monitoring Explained”.
Some key points given include:

  • Helps to understand what medications you are currently taking which could interfere with your prescribed medications.
  • Provides essential information for the safe and effective use of your medications.
  • Your doctor will determine how often you will be tested based on your medical needs.

The kicker in my situation is that in all definitions of the term, I failed my drug test. Yes, I had other substances in my system. I had been treating two pinched nerves in my back with a narcotic pain reliever for about three days, and I occasionally self-medicate with marijuana. During my grandfather’s death and funeral days, I smoked pot in the evenings. (For those of you just tuning in, I’ve always been a cannabis advocate.) The biggest clincher here is that I would have absolutely disclosed this information to my doctor had I any idea it would be relevant. (*Note: I do not promote the notion of self-diagnosing or self-medicating. In my instance, I have had much experience with these substances and I know how my body reacts, on prescribed meds and off.)

All in all, I understand and agree with new advances in patient treatment. If urinalysis is a tool in helping doctors help patients, then I support it. I really think, in my case anyway, that there needs to be a much different procedure in collecting the samples. I already feel vulnerable, as it is when working on my mental health, so in some ways I felt my trust had been violated.

Have any of you had experiences with medication monitoring? I’d like to hear your stories.

6 thoughts on “Ambush Drug Test at my Psych Appointment- Wait, What?

  1. Pingback: Buh Bye, Seroquel | Nectar Madness: My Bipolar Sapience

  2. Are they allowed to do that? If you had refused would this mean you wouldn’t have had your medication? I take lithium so I get my blood tests done. But I hate appointments with drs and I don’t like tests, even ongoing migraines I refuse an mri. I don’t like anything that feels to exploratory or unnecessary. I’ve left urine infections until I’m half conscious on the floor! For me, it’s a personal thing. It’s about trust and choice. In this case I would have refused and then checked my rights. I have nothing to hide but I’m not about to be tested either. You said they were testing for adderall? So why were they looking for other things? Who notes this? Who has access to this? How will it effect you in the future? You weren’t given any information until afterwards – almost like a trick. I’m not comfortable with this at all and I’m not surprised that you aren’t either. Talk about violation of trust in a safe place.

    • I honestly have no idea if it is a condition of services or not. I really was caught off guard and unable to ask questions. Supposedly they want to see what’s in your system so they can better prescribe your meds. At least that’s what the brochure said, which I didn’t receive until afterwards. You ask excellent questions, & believe me, under normal circumstances, I would have asked them too. The whole situation was weird & made me uncomfortable. My next appointment should be interesting.

  3. If they asked me to do this I would flat out refuse. Of course, I have deep trauma with urinalysis process in general, but even if I hadn’t developed PTSD over a kidney issue in my teen years, I would have refused. It’s cool that they’re making advancements, I just don’t have to volunteer for it. To me it sounds like some trick, no matter how legitimately scientific the brochure and explanation sounds. It’s a good thing I ran into this post so I can be aware this is going around.

    • That’s why I had to post this. I want others to be aware of this new thing. I wish I had some idea beforehand. And I really wasn’t given any opportunity to ask questions or anything. I was completely caught off guard. Plus I was the last appointment for the evening so there was nobody else there. It was weird. I’m still very uncomfortable with it.I agree it sounds like a trick. I have no idea if it is a condition of services or not. Surely I’ll be uneasy until my next appointment.

      • I would try and find out if it’s a condition of service or not. If anything, if it had been a new condition, they should have first told you about it and had you sign a paper stating you understood these were new conditions and if you didn’t comply [X] would happen. I just don’t like the way it was forced on you. It’s like you were a child that had to do this or else. That’s a big no-no. I hope things work out.

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