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Substance Abuse Issues In Cancer

Inpatient Treatment

Patients with current substance abuse problems who are scheduled to undergo surgery should, if possible, be admitted to the hospital several days early in order to stabilize drug use to prevent withdrawal and to plan treatment. To prevent the patient from obtaining illegal drugs, he or she may be given a room in a location that can be easily monitored, and he or she may be restricted to the room or the floor. Restrictions may also be placed on the patient's visitors. The patient's room as well as packages brought by visitors may be searched periodically for drugs or alcohol. The patient's urine may also undergo regular testing. The restrictions placed on the patient are necessary to ensure that medical treatment will not be jeopardized by ongoing drug use. Treatment should include frequent monitoring to prevent withdrawal and to control symptoms.