Drug testing can be performed on the samples of blood, urine, hair, salivaor sweat, but the most common are urine tests for drug abuse. By determiningthe presence of specific drugs or drug metabolites, laboratories are able toconfirm the dose and duration of drug abuse.
Urine Drug Testing
In most cases, when a company determines that some employees have to betested for drugs, he/she is given some time to collect (usually urine) sampleto the collection agency or testing laboratory. The employee is normally askedto sign a form, claiming that it is his/hers sample, that it has not beenaltered and that information on the specimen tube is correct. After that,the laboratory takes the samples and performs the tests.
There are 5 categories of drugs (known as NIDA5, as National Institute onDrug Abuse) most companies test their employees for, including cocaine,cannabinoids, opiates, phencyclidine, and amphetamines. Additional testingmight be performed to establish the presence of some prescription medicationsor ecstasy. Positive tests need to be confirmed, using the gaschromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) method. This method is the goldenstandard in lab drug testing, and it can confirm the positive test, determinethe quantity of the abused drug and also exclude all potential false positivereactions.
Laboratory usually sends the test results to the company that ordered thedrug testing, either by mail/ e-mail or fax.
Some US employers tend to test their potential employees to drugs and about5% of these people are positive to some drugs. The numbers are usually muchhigher in people tested after the suspicion to drug (substance) abuse.
Other Drug Tests
In saliva it is possible to detect substancesimmediately after the use and for some time after the use, also. Saliva testingmay detect alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines,methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), ecstasy, for minimum of 6 hours and maximumseveral days after the initial use. The downfall of saliva drug tests is theirinsensitivity to cannabis (THC in cannabis). Also, there are some products that can be found on the Internet, said to ensure negative results for the consumers.
Sweat drug testing is mainly used by police and child protective services orin cases when urine testing can’t be performed or is not practical for somereason.
Many substances can be detected in the hair samples, including prescriptionmedications, recreational drugs and alcohol. Alcohol is not deposited in thehair directly, but the metabolites can be detected by hair sample testing. Eventhe hair that has been chemically treated (permed or bleached), can be usedto detect alcohol use. This type of testing for alcohol has been recognizedin the United States courts.