How can I be certain that the testing is accurate?

Because testing instrumentation and methods specifically identify the drug(s) present in a specimen, the possibility of confusing a legitimate prescription drug or over-the-counter medication with an illicit or abused drug is essentially eliminated. All testing is performed on instruments maintained and calibrated according to scientific guidelines. Additionally, any positive result is automatically checked and confirmed in strict accordance with the highest standards


What about ‘adulterating’ a specimen?

Special procedures are designed to ensure that all adulterated specimens are identified. Typically, donors attempt to adulterate specimens by either consuming something before the collection or adding something to the urine specimen after voiding. The first method is usually in conjunction with consuming unnaturally large quantities of a fluid, which results in diluted specimens. The laboratory reports diluted specimens as such. If donors add a substance to a urine specimen, the integrity of the specimen is challenged. The laboratory report then notes that the specimen was unsuitable for analysis or invalid depending on which adulterant is present in the specimen.


Are results confidential?

All results are completely confidential. Many safeguards are in place to assure donors that only authorized individuals from the requesting party receive a result. Without specific authorization, no other individual can have access to a donor’s result. This policy is designed to prevent an unauthorized telephone request for a result. Results are sent by secure printers, fax, computer download, voice mail or phone contact.


What is a ‘cutoff’ level?

A cutoff level is an established concentration based on which a tested drug is reported as positive or negative. Specific cutoff levels are established nationally and reflect decades of research. For a positive drug result one actually has to consume the substance.


How is a drug screen performed?

The actual drug screen is a laboratory procedure performed by a certified testing laboratory using highly accurate, sophisticated instruments to detect trace amounts of particular drugs. The testing is performed on a urine specimen obtained from the employee.


Why does my employer require drug testing?

More and more employers are routinely requiring their employees to submit to drug testing. The types of tests commonly administered include pre-employment testing, reasonable cause, random screening, and post-accident drug testing. In addition, federal law mandates drug testing for certain types of jobs. In short, many employers recognize that formal drug testing programs encourage a more safe and effective workplace.


What does the drug screen show?

The lab’s instrumentation identifies specific individual drugs that are present in the urine specimen.


How is the specimen obtained?

The procedure is simple. The employee first washes and dries his or her hands in plain view of an attendant. Appropriate forms and labels are then filled out. The employee then provides a urine specimen in the privacy of a bathroom and hands it to the attendant when completed. After completing additional paperwork, the specimen is sealed with a special tamper-proof seal, which the employee then signs with his or her initials. The sealed specimen and paperwork are then sent directly to a highly secure lab facility.


Do I need to prepare in any way?

A minimum amount of fluid intake before the collection reduces the possibility that the specimen might be rejected due to excessive dilution. In addition, bulky outer garments, hats, purses, briefcases – in short, anything that might be used to hide a substance used to adulterate a specimen – must remain in a secure area outside the collection area.


Will I need to bring anything to the collection site?

To make a valid identification prior to collecting the specimen, you will need to bring photo identification such as a state driver’s license or identification card, military I.D., or a passport.


How can I be certain that my specimen isn’t mixed-up with another?

In every case, a “chain-of-custody” is established with each specimen. All specimens are sealed in the presence of the employee with special bar-coded and tamper-proof tape. The employee writes his or her own initials on the seal. Specimens are sent directly to the testing facility, which maintains the chain of custody throughout the testing process. Specimens are logged and tracked with the most modern technology. Any specimen that tests positive is retained for a minimum of one year.


How long does it take to complete the testing?

Test results are usually available within 12 to 24 hours of receipt of the specimen at the laboratory. A positive result requires an additional 8 to 24 hours for confirmation of the result before it can be released.