Mental Health  |  OST Drug Issues Pathway - Urine Toxicology Guidelines




Mental Health

OST Drug Issues Pathway - Urine Toxicology Guidelines

International evaluation of urinalysis shows that it is not in itself instrumental in reducing harm related to illicit drug use. Urinalysis provides information only about a patient's recent drug use and not about quantity, frequency or route of drug use and is a supplement to patient self-report. With these limitations in mind, urinalysis results are integrated into the clinical assessment.

Research has consistently indicated that where patients do not have to be concerned that they will be punished for disclosure of illicit drug use the reliability of self-reported drug use increases.

However urinalysis may be indicated or useful in the following situations:

  • Where the patient or GP wishes to verify self-report of drug use.
  • Where there is doubt regarding the accuracy of reported drug use or methadone or suboxone consumption.
  • Where the GP or pharmacist is concerned that a patient is intoxicated. Here a full drug screen is indicated.
  • As supportive information for monitoring by other services e.g. Community Corrections, Child Youth and Family Service.
  • For use in overall programme evaluation.


Essential factors to promote reliability include:

  • Random sampling.
  • Observed by Medical Officer.
  • Requests must be on an appropriate laboratory request form.

Note: If a patient does not complete a requested urinalysis further investigation is required.

*See Appendix 6 Approximate Detection Time for Selected Drugs in Urine page 105 ofNew Zealand Practice Guidelines for Opioid Substitution Treatment 2014"



Last updated : Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Next review date : Thursday, November 10,2016


Disclaimer: This site is intended to be flexible and frequently updated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, all information should be verified.