solutions for drug testing

Help, Advice and Solutions for drug testing

Detailed information and solutions for drug testing.

Solutions for drug testing, help and advice when you need it, it’s all here. What are drugs of abuse? Identify drug abuse and understand what a drug test is and how to use it.

○ Solutions for drug testing.

It’s vital you thoroughly understand and precisely follow the process of testing. Check the urine temperature and validity of the sample. Test to see if it been adulterated or diluted. Is the temperature in range? Urine temp will always be within 93 to 98º F, typically 96º F. Be very strict don’t accept any excuses, if you see anomalies, it’s a sure sign of a cheater.  Do it right, and you will get the correct result.

○ What are drugs of abuse?

Drugs of abuse are when someone uses an illicit or prescription medication for longer than the prescribed time or using prescription drugs illicitly to get high. Prolonged use of recreational drugs can lead to severe addiction and even death. Here are some most commonly abused: Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Ecstasy, Cocaine, and Heroin (opiate). Not forgetting prescribed drugs like Ambien, Oxycodone, Percocet, and Adderall. By following the information below, you can learn more about drug testing and understand what it’s all about.

○ What is the function of a drug test?

To tell if someone is impaired by one or more illicit or prescription drugs. By using a drug test kit, it’s possible to detect the presence of many drugs including Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Opiates, Oxycodone, Marijuana, Methadone, Benzodiazepines, Methamphetamine, Phencyclidine, Tricyclic Antidepressants, Buprenorphine. Prescription drugs, except for synthetic opioid medications like Oxycodone, will contain one of the above-listed medicines mixed with another drug.

○ How often should I use a drug test?

You should test when you think someone might be abusing drugs; we call this reasonable suspicion. Test at least twice a week or randomly once a week without notice until you are satisfied they are clean. Employers will use them to test new hires, post-accident and reasonable suspicion situations. Parents use them when they suspect there is a problem.

○ What type of test is it?

These are generally urine tests with instant or rapid results. Immunoassays are a qualitative test, it’s a “YES” or “NO” test much like a pregnancy test, meaning it will tell you yes there is a drug present or not.

○ What is a panel?

A panel is the part of a drug test that collects and displays the information for each drug. There are many panels available, and each one will show the result of a particular drug. So when someone says “a five-panel drug test” what do they mean? It means a drug test for five drugs, but it could be any combination of any drugs. There are many combinations available the most common being: Cocaine, Amphetamines, Marijuana, Opiates, and Phencyclidine. The more panels used, the better the chance of catching the abuser.

○ What does each panel represent?

The diagram below is an example of a five-panel drug test reading from left to right.

  • Panel 1 = Amphetamines (AMP)
  • Panel 2 = Cocaine (COC)
  • Panel 3 = Methamphetamine (mAMP)
  • Panel 4 = Opiates (OPI)
  • Panel 5 = Marijuana (THC)

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○ How accurate are drug tests?

Immunoassays are up to 99% accurate and very sensitive for detecting drugs of abuse. They rely on cut-off levels to provide actual results. If a drug is discovered the apparent (T) line in the test window absent. This is called a preliminary or presumptive positive test result.

○ Read our solutions for drug testing.

It’s crucial you thoroughly understand the process of testing. Before using a urine drug test, check the urine temperature is within range; typically 93 to 98º F. Test for adulteration, dilution, and substitution. Urine you are about to test has to be fresh and clear from adulterants. Be very strict about this and don’t accept excuses as it’s a sure sign of a cheater.  Do it right, and you will get the correct result.

○ What are test lines?

These are the lines that appear in the window of a drug test. Identified with a letter (T). These lines appear when the result is negative.

○ What are control lines?

This is the line identified by the letter (C) called the control line; it indicates the test worked correctly.

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○ What does a faint test line mean?

It means negative. No matter how faint the lines are on the face of the panel, it’s negative. Some lines may be fainter than others, this does not indicate that more or less of a drug has been detected. If a drug was discovered then there will be no line at all.

○ Does a faint line mean it’s slightly positive?

If you see a line, it indicates a negative result. The presence of a test line, no matter how faint, is an indication of a negative result. Some lines may be fainter than others, this does not indicate that more or less of a drug has been detected. If a drug was discovered then there will be no line at all.

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○ What does a Negative result mean?

It means that all the test (T) and control (C) lines were present. It also means no drugs were detected above the cut-off level.

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○ Why is the result negative when I know it should be positive?

If the sample was correctly collected and the test was performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then probably none of the drugs screened were present in the sample. However, it could mean you are testing for the wrong drug.

There are several factors that can impact the test result knowing the person is abusing drugs:

  • Did you test for the right drugs.
  • You may have tested too soon. It can take a while for drugs to metabolize in the body and to be detected in urine.
  • Drugs are only detectable in the urine for a few days.
  • The sample may be too dilute or it’s also possible that the person either adulterated or substituted their urine sample.
  • The drug test has passed its expiration date.

If you get a negative test result, but still suspect that the person is abusing drugs, test them again without prior notice. Use a test with more panels to potentially detect a drug of abuse missed with the last test. Make sure the sample provided has not been adulterated or substituted. Checking the temperature prior to testing is a quick way to establish whether the sample has been substituted. Talk to your doctor if you need more help on what steps to take.

Use our simple guide to drug testing an individual.

○ Does a presumptive positive mean drugs of abuse were found?

No. Take no action until you get the confirmed result from the lab. If you get a presumptive positive result, it is very important that you send the urine sample to a laboratory, they will test the sample using special equipment and confirm your preliminary result.

Remember that a positive test for a prescription drug does not mean that a person is abusing the drug. Use the services of our Medical Review Officer. They are trained physicians who understand lab results and will advise accordingly.

○ What is the detection time for finding drugs?

The detection period for common drugs of abuse is shown below. These are only guidelines as times can vary significantly because it depends on how long the person has been taking the drug, the amount of drug they use and the person’s metabolism.

DrugUrine Drug TestsOral Saliva Tests
MarijuanaUp to 30 daysLess than 24 hours
Cocaine1-3 days24-36 hours
Opiates1-3 days24-36 hours
Amphetamines1-3 days24-36 hours
Methamphetamine2-5 days24-36 hours
Benzodiazepines1-14 days24-36 hours
Barbituates1-3 days24-36 hours
PhencyclidineUp to 30 days24-36 hours
Methadone1-3 days24-36 hours
Oxycodone2-4 days24-36 hours
Ecstasy2-4 days24-36 hours
Propoxyphene1-7 daysN/A
Buprenorphine3-6 daysN/A
Tricyclic Anti-Depressants5-8 daysN/A

○ Why are cut-off levels on a drug screen different to lab cut-off levels?

After consuming a drug the body metabolizes the parent drug into another substance. A drug screen is designed to detect these metabolites by analyzing human urine.  Back in the seventies, the government established levels which determined whether the result was positive or negative. These are called cut-off levels. Laboratory analysis is designed to detect only one major breakdown product compared to a drug screen, therefore, the minimum amount needed to be present in the urine is generally lower. (see chart below)

DrugIdentifierDrug cut-offLab cut-off
Amphetamines(AMP)1000 ng/ml500 ng/ml
Ecstasy(MDMA)500 ng/m250 ng/ml
Marijuana(THC)50 ng/ml15 ng/ml

After marijuana use, urine contains as many as 8 different breakdown products of THC. These combine together to cause a test to read a presumptive positive. At the lab, the confirmation test is designed to detect only one. In this example, marijuana would have a screen cut-off level of 50 ng/mL, whereas a lab confirmation level is only 15 ng/mL. Only one substance must be present at 15 ng/mL in order for the lab to consider the urine positive. If the substance is present at 14 ng/mL or lower, the sample is considered to be negative.

○ How long does Marijuana stay in your system?

Occasional users: possibly up to 10 days. A lot of variables make it difficult to project exactly how long the drug will remain detectable. We have found that marijuana can stay in your system for over 60 days. This all depends whether they are an occasional user or a chronic user. The metabolite of marijuana is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and tends to stick to fatty areas in the body. And consuming no amount of fluids – even diuretic fluids – will permanently “flush” it out of one’s system.

○ Can I use urine out of the toilet for the test?

NO. Urine in the toilet has been diluted and may have been exposed to cleaning agents that would affect the test results. We do not recommend using urine collected in this manner, the results would be totally inconclusive.

○ One of my teens admitted to using drugs last week, but the test result was negative. Why?

Most drugs are excreted from the body within a few days, with the exception of marijuana. If your child admitted to using marijuana, and he or she is an occasional user the drug has likely cleared from the body prior to testing.

More help can be found on the U.S. governments web site. Teen help can be found here.