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Lab Testing in Assessment of Substance Use Disorders
SUD 101 Core Curriculum Overview

Curriculum overview:  While healthcare professionals are often on the front lines of treating substance use disorders, most have limited (if any) training in this area. The SUD 101 Core Curriculum was created to provide a foundation of the current research, resources, and support needed to increase healthcare professionals’ competence and confidence in the care of their patients across the continuum of care. This activity, Lab Testing in Assessment of Substance Use Disorders is part of the 23-module curriculum. Please see below for a summary of module 12 out of 23:
Module 12 Overview
Title: Lab Testing in Assessment of Substance Use Disorders 

Kevin A. Sevarino, MD, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor, Yale University School of Medicine; Past President, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

Module Description: Lab testing in the assessment of substance use disorders may involve many different substrates, though urine drug testing (UDT) dominates clinical practice. This module is meant to provide a short guide to effective use of lab testing in treatment of the patient with a substance use disorder, which to a surprising degree is often misused or misunderstood. The module describes the clinical role of lab testing to guide treatment and not to be punitive. To properly use and interpret UDT, it reviews common false positive and false negatives that might occur in the immunologic-based first step in UDT. To understand confirmatory gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, it goes on to describe the metabolism of common opioids and benzodiazepines, because the detected confirmed moiety often is just a downstream metabolite of several possible parent compounds to which the patient was exposed. The module concludes with a discussion of the difference between UDT for clinical purposes versus forensic ones. 

Educational Objectives:

  • Discuss clinical issues in performing urine drug testing (UDT).
  • Describe the basic types of UDT and when they should be used.
  • Define the metabolism of opioids and benzodiazepines in order to interpret UDT results.
  • Describe other laboratory testing used as part of substance use disorder evaluations.
Availability: On-Demand
Expires on Jan 12, 2026
Cost: FREE
Credit Offered:
1 CME Credit
1 PA-CME Credit
1 Other Professionals Credit
1 Nursing Credit
1 Pharmacy Credit
1 IPCE Credit
The content on this site is intended solely to inform and educate medical professionals. This site shall not be used for medical advice and is not a substitute for the advice or treatment of a qualified medical professional.

Funding for this initiative was made possible by cooperative agreement no. 1H79TI086770 and grant no. 1H79TI085588 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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