Author: Charles Frank

Drug Testing Special Subjects MSD Manual Professional Edition

how to drug test

Also, you should avoid foods with poppy seeds, which can show up as opiates in a drug test. Notification or consent may be a requirement before testing, depending on jurisdiction and circumstances. Also, drug testing targets only a limited number of substances and thus does not identify many others. The clinician must use other measures (eg, history, questionnaires) to identify the degree to which substance use has affected each patient’s health and functioning. Depending on the urine drug test results, a doctor may evaluate you for a substance use disorder.

A drug test uses a biological sample (such as blood or urine) to detect the presence or absence of a legal or illegal drug. Drug tests are ordered and performed in a variety of settings with a variety of techniques. Additional measures may be taken to prevent tampering with the urine sample for a urine drug test at a laboratory. For example, you will be given a plastic container sealed in tamper-proof packaging. Additionally, the water supply in the bathroom may be turned off, and the water in the toilet may be tinted with a blue dye. Urine drug testing may be used in the workplace, the military, and organized sports.

Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results. If you have questions or concerns about a drug test, talk with your provider or the person or organization that is asking for the test. You may be asked to take a drug test for a job, to participate in certain organized sports, or as part of a police investigation or court case. In a hospital emergency room, a provider may order a drug test if you have signs of a possible drug overdose.

Receiving test results

Urine drug testing (also known as a urine drug screen) can detect evidence of recent drug use or misuse. Although drug testing can be performed on several types of samples, including blood, saliva, and hair, urine is the most commonly used for drug testing. Urine drug tests can be used in a wide variety of situations in which testing for drug use or misuse is required.

A false-negative result can occur when urine is very diluted, for example. It is important to note that consuming certain legal substances can lead to false-positive IA test results. For example, consuming high enough quantities of dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in cough syrups, can cause a positive result for PCP on this type of test. A doctor or trained technician usually performs a urine drug screening. For example, United States federal law mandates that people working in the transportation industry take regular drug tests. A positive result indicates that a drug was detected at or above the reference range for that test.

The kits should include instructions, a collection container, and the test itself. The cost of urine drug testing depends on many factors, including where the test is conducted, and whether the test detects one drug or several drugs in the urine sample. Costs may include the office visit and a fee for sample collection in addition to the test itself. A sample of urine, blood, breath, saliva, sweat, or hair may be tested. Urine testing is most common because it is noninvasive, quick, and able to detect many drugs.

If preliminary results are positive, an additional confirmation test may be necessary to reduce the risk of inaccurate results. Laboratory testing is the most reliable way to confirm a positive drug screening result. You can order a urine drug test online without a doctor’s order and get tested in the participating lab.

  1. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs may request urine drug screens at initial assessments and follow-up appointments.
  2. Drug tests are ordered and performed in a variety of settings with a variety of techniques.
  3. Patients may submit samples provided by others (presumably drug-free).
  4. If you test positive for a legal drug prescribed by your doctor, your employer can’t penalize you, unless the drug is affecting your ability to perform your job.
  5. Because traditional blood draws are invasive, involving a needle poke in the arm, many labs and other facilities now offer less invasive blood sample collection methods.

Several factors can produce false-negative results, particularly in urine testing. Patients may submit samples provided by others (presumably drug-free). This possibility can be eliminated by directly observing sample collection and by sealing samples immediately with tamper-evident seals. Urine testing is most common because it is noninvasive, quick, and able to qualitatively detect a wide range of drugs. The window of detection depends on the frequency and amount of drug intake but is about 1 to 4 days for most drugs. Because cannabinoid metabolites persist, urine tests for marijuana can remain positive longer after use is stopped.

What to know about urine drug tests

In most cases, a positive drug test result requires another test, known as a confirmatory test, to rule out a possible false-positive result. If you have questions about the drug test process or when to expect results, talk to the person in charge of ordering the test. If you are taking prescription drugs that have the potential for misuse, a doctor may order a urine drug test to confirm you are taking medication as prescribed.

how to drug test

You’ll more likely pay $30 to $60 for comprehensive testing and up to $200 for lab testing. A urine drug test may be ordered by a doctor or an administrator of a program that requires drug testing. Urine drug tests can also be purchased over the counter without a prescription or online. The urine test is the most common method used to detect illicit drugs. The “pee-in-a-cup” sample collection is non-invasive; it doesn’t involve the use of needles. Urine samples can contain high concentrations of parent drugs (drugs being tested for) and drug by-products.

What type of results do you get from a drug test?

Hair analysis is not as widely available but provides the longest window of detection, ≥ 100 days for some drugs. Testing can be conducted at hospitals, laboratories, substance use treatment programs, and other medical or legal settings. Samples for urine drug testing can also be obtained at a workplace or other location before being analyzed by a laboratory at a different location.

The person who carried out the test or a medical review officer will explain the results. If a result is positive, a person may need to take a second test for confirmation. A technician may accompany the person to make sure that they are giving the sample correctly.

False positives can result from ingesting prescription and nonprescription therapeutic drugs and from consuming certain foods. Pseudoephedrine, tricyclic antidepressants, and quetiapine may produce false-positive results for amphetamines, and ibuprofen may produce false-positive results for marijuana. With cocaine testing, which detects benzoylecgonine, the primary metabolite, other substances do not cause false-positive results. The results of a confirmatory drug test conducted in a laboratory may be reported as positive, negative, or invalid. A negative test result on a confirmatory test indicates no evidence of drug use was detected. Similar to initial test results, a negative confirmatory test indicates that you haven’t used the drugs included in the test or you last used drugs outside the detection window.

Drug testing can be an emergency test, a scheduled test or it may be conducted randomly (for example, to meet ongoing employment requirements). Enter search terms to find related medical topics, multimedia and more.

It can detect drugs that were used within 1 to 4 days, sometimes longer, depending on the drug used. Blood testing is rarely done because it is invasive and can only detect drugs up to a few hours after use. Hair testing is not as widely available but can detect some drugs if they were used in the previous 100 days. Health care practitioners may directly observe the collection of the sample and seal it so that they can be sure the sample has not been tampered with. Initial drug tests typically provide results within minutes indicating the presence or absence of drugs by a colored band on the test device or from an automated laboratory analyzer. Test results from an initial drug test, including at-home urine drug tests, provide only preliminary results.