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Top 5 FAQ's

question_answerWhat precautions should I be aware of when conducting screening?
In our opinion, the success of the screening process is all down to preparation. In the case of oral fluid or sweat testing, there is little preparation apart from correctly instructing the donor how to use the test, and then collecting a suitable sample. In the case of urine testing, you need to protect yourself against the opportunist trying to affect the screening result through adulteration, substitution or dilution of the urine sample. Whether its oral fluid, sweat or urine screening that you are conducting, you will need to complete a donor consent form before testing. At this point, you'll need to positively identify the donor. The most suitable method of identification is photographic ID, as you need to ensure that the donor you are testing isn't a substitute, sent in to make sure a result is negative. Whilst filling out the form, there is the opportunity for the donor to declare any medication they are taking. In some rare cases, medication that metabolises in the same way as an illicit drug type can cause a positive result on a drug test, so it is best practice to declare medication at this stage. If the screening result is 'non-negative' - an analyte is detected by the test, then the sample will need preparing for a laboratory confirmation. If you are testing oral fluid, a further sample must be taken. The confirmation identifies precisely the analyte that is present in the sample, and gives a legally standing result, which allows you to take further action. In some cases, we find that the analyte in the sample is not an illicit drug, and confirms that the donor isn't abusing illicit substances, but that the result is complicit with the medication declared before the screening was conducted.
question_answerWhat should I be testing for?
With a wide range of tests available, the choice of combination isn't always straight forward. The 6 most commonly abused drug types are universally identified as:
  • Amphetamine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cannabis (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Methamphetamine
  • (Spice/K2)
so we would recommend these to begin with, if you are unsure where to start. Oral fluid, sweat (impairment/recent use) and urine (recent use/habitual use) cover these 6 drug types. Many customers opt for a more comprehensive range of detection with up to 10 or 13 parameters. In addition to the 6 drugs listed above, it is possible to screen for:*
  • Barbiturates
  • Methadone
  • Phencyclidine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Tricyclics (TCA)
  • Fentanyl
Specific situations may require testing for a certain drug types, for example, drug treatment centres should include methadone, so custom combinations are available, as well as strip and cassette testing products, where you can focus on testing one parameter. *10 parameters in oral fluid, 13 in urine
question_answerWhat happens if I have a 'non-negative' result?
When conducting testing, occasionally you will have a positive result. We call these results 'non-negative' because the test has recognised a substance in the sample, but we don't know at this stage if the result is due to medication or the presence of illicit drug metabolites. In this situation a sample needs to be sent to the laboratory to confirm the substance found. In our report, we identify the positive compound and in some cases, the concentration level, so you can make an informed decision about the follow up process with the donor. Our lab confirmation kit contains everything you need to maintain the integrity of the sample, known as 'chain of custody', between collection and confirmation. Turn-around times for confirmation testing is typically 3-5 days. Available for oral fluid, sweat and urine.
question_answerWhat is drug testing?
Drug testing, also known as screening, is a process conducted on a sample of oral fluid, urine or sweat to detect the presence of metabolites; biological evidence of the presence of particular substances. In most cases, testing is carried out to identify if the individual has abused a substance, but can also be used to monitor an individual's abstinence from a drug or medication, or prove that someone is using a medication, such as methadone, correctly.
question_answerWhat should I have in place before I begin testing?
  • You should have a drug and alcohol policy detailing the following:
    • The need for screening
    • What drug types you are screening for
    • How you are conducting the screening
    • What happens if the result is non-negative (positive)
    • Support of the employee, for example rehabilitation
  • Decide on the product which suits your situation the best
  • Stock of product, and confirmation kits
  • Education and awareness that screening is in place, directed at the workforce

Drugs of abuse

question_answerCan passive smoking appear as a positive result on a drug test?
Each parameter in a drug test features a cut-off level. Put simply, this is a threshold, built into the test, at which the result becomes a 'non-negative'. A simple way to think of it is like a speed camera. You need to be travelling at a certain velocity to trigger the camera. Cannabis drug tests have a cut-off level that has been set above typical passive smoking concentration levels. It is thought that someone would have to inhale several rooms full of dense second hand smoke to trip a drug test for THC. When cannabis joints are smoked, the burning end destroys most of the THC content, which means that smoke from the end of a cigerette or second hand smoke would not cause a non-negative result.
question_answerCan I test for Spice/Synthetic Cannabis?
Yes, there are now specific single panel tests to detect the Spice/K2/Black Mamba/Zombie metabolites. Synthetic cannabinoids have been Class B in the UK since 2009, and other types of synthetic cannabinoids are now illegal to deal or posess under the New Psychoactive Substance Bill of 2015.
question_answerCan I test for Mephedrone?
Yes, the Methamphetamines test will detect mephedrone metabolite.
question_answerCan I test for Khat/Meow Meow?
Yes, the Methamphetamines test will detect khat metabolite.
question_answerDo poppy seeds cause a false positive on the opiate test?
Poppy seeds are part of the opiate family, and unusually excessive consumption could potentailly cause a false positive on an opiate drug test. At laboratory confirmation, we can assertain if the poppy seed analyte is present, and therefore responsible for the screening result.
question_answerWhy are there 2 different cut-offs for opiates?
The family of opiate drugs contains both heroin and synthesised opium derived medication such as codeine and morphine. In some cases an individual will be taking medication for pain management and a higher dose could give a false positive for opiates. It is important to differentiate between pain medication and heroin, and also to reduce the amount of false positives that can arise from medication. To achieve this we have two different sensitivities of opiate test. The test labelled Morphine, or MOP with a cut-off of 300ng/ml, will detect some higher levels of prescribed medication, abused medication and heroin. The test labelled Opiates, or OPI, with a cut-off of 2000ng/ml, will detect abused medication and heroin.
question_answerWhat happens if I have a 'non-negative' result?
When conducting testing, occasionally you will have a positive result. We call these results 'non-negative' because the test has recognised a substance in the sample, but we don't know at this stage if the result is due to medication or the presence of illicit drug metabolites. In this situation a sample needs to be sent to the laboratory to confirm the substance found. In our report, we identify the positive compound and in some cases, the concentration level, so you can make an informed decision about the follow up process with the donor. Our lab confirmation kit contains everything you need to maintain the integrity of the sample, known as 'chain of custody', between collection and confirmation. Turn-around times for confirmation testing is typically 3-5 days. Available for oral fluid, sweat and urine.
question_answerWhat should I do if the donor refuses to give a sample?
In most cases this would be considered misconduct, and the inference is that they have something to hide. In this situation you should refer back to your drug and alcohol policy.
question_answerWhat precautions should I be aware of when conducting screening?
In our opinion, the success of the screening process is all down to preparation. In the case of oral fluid or sweat testing, there is little preparation apart from correctly instructing the donor how to use the test, and then collecting a suitable sample. In the case of urine testing, you need to protect yourself against the opportunist trying to affect the screening result through adulteration, substitution or dilution of the urine sample. Whether its oral fluid, sweat or urine screening that you are conducting, you will need to complete a donor consent form before testing. At this point, you'll need to positively identify the donor. The most suitable method of identification is photographic ID, as you need to ensure that the donor you are testing isn't a substitute, sent in to make sure a result is negative. Whilst filling out the form, there is the opportunity for the donor to declare any medication they are taking. In some rare cases, medication that metabolises in the same way as an illicit drug type can cause a positive result on a drug test, so it is best practice to declare medication at this stage. If the screening result is 'non-negative' - an analyte is detected by the test, then the sample will need preparing for a laboratory confirmation. If you are testing oral fluid, a further sample must be taken. The confirmation identifies precisely the analyte that is present in the sample, and gives a legally standing result, which allows you to take further action. In some cases, we find that the analyte in the sample is not an illicit drug, and confirms that the donor isn't abusing illicit substances, but that the result is complicit with the medication declared before the screening was conducted.
question_answerHow long does a drug stay in the system?
There is no simple answer to this question, since different drug types hang around in the body for different periods of time. This is due to variance in the initial amount taken, the metabolism and activity of the individual, the half-life of the drug, and a few other factors including how long the drug takes to be metabolised. Typically, drugs can be detected in oral fluid and sweat for a couple of days and can be detected in urine for 8 days, but bear in mind that there are different times of retention for different substances.  
question_answerOral fluid or urine?
When we are conducting drug testing, we are looking back in history for the evidence of substance use. If we want to determine if someone is impaired, or has used drugs very recently, we should be testing oral fluid, or sweat. The constitution of our Saliva, and the sweat on our fingers is relational to our blood plasma. Therefore if drug metabolites are detectable in these matricies, the substance is active in the bloodstream, and having an effect on the brain, impairing the individual. When we are testing to detect habitual use, then we should be testing urine. After the initial active stage of finding metabolites in oral fluid and sweat, over time the kidneys clean the blood of the daily turnover of cells and rubbish. Its at this stage that we begin to find metabolites in urine. Each matrix has its best fit to the situation of screening, and its all to do with the 'window of detcetion' that you are wanting to test within.
question_answerWhat should I be testing for?
With a wide range of tests available, the choice of combination isn't always straight forward. The 6 most commonly abused drug types are universally identified as:
  • Amphetamine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cannabis (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Methamphetamine
  • (Spice/K2)
so we would recommend these to begin with, if you are unsure where to start. Oral fluid, sweat (impairment/recent use) and urine (recent use/habitual use) cover these 6 drug types. Many customers opt for a more comprehensive range of detection with up to 10 or 13 parameters. In addition to the 6 drugs listed above, it is possible to screen for:*
  • Barbiturates
  • Methadone
  • Phencyclidine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Tricyclics (TCA)
  • Fentanyl
Specific situations may require testing for a certain drug types, for example, drug treatment centres should include methadone, so custom combinations are available, as well as strip and cassette testing products, where you can focus on testing one parameter. *10 parameters in oral fluid, 13 in urine
question_answerWhat should I have in place before I begin testing?
  • You should have a drug and alcohol policy detailing the following:
    • The need for screening
    • What drug types you are screening for
    • How you are conducting the screening
    • What happens if the result is non-negative (positive)
    • Support of the employee, for example rehabilitation
  • Decide on the product which suits your situation the best
  • Stock of product, and confirmation kits
  • Education and awareness that screening is in place, directed at the workforce
question_answerWhy should I have drug testing in place?
In businesses, drug testing is often used to support the organisation's drug and alcohol policy, and is a deterrant against drug and alochol use in the workplace. In the case of healthcare, screening is used to help reach decisions on treatment or to monitor the donor on thier compliance or abstinance of the use of substances. Common reasons for screening:
  • To provide a duty of care
  • For the welfare of employees
  • To protect reputations and the perception of the business
  • To provide a safer working environment
  • To become more commercially attractive
  • To make informed decisions about treatment paths
  • To monitoring abstinance, or compliance of substance use
question_answerWhat is drug testing?
Drug testing, also known as screening, is a process conducted on a sample of oral fluid, urine or sweat to detect the presence of metabolites; biological evidence of the presence of particular substances. In most cases, testing is carried out to identify if the individual has abused a substance, but can also be used to monitor an individual's abstinence from a drug or medication, or prove that someone is using a medication, such as methadone, correctly.