Drug testing definition
“A drug test is a technical analysis of a biological specimen, for example urine, hair, blood, breath air, sweat, or oral fluid / saliva – to determine the presence or absence of specified parent drugs or their metabolites. Major applications of drug testing include detection of the presence of performance enhancing steroids in sport, employers screening for drugs prohibited by law (such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin) and police officers testing for the presence and concentration of alcohol (ethanol) in the blood commonly referred to as BAC (blood alcohol content). BAC tests are typically administered via a breathalyzer while urinalysis is used for the vast majority drug of testing in sports and the workplace.”
Guidelines for workplace Drug Testing in urine with special reference to on-site screening devices.
Adulteration: Any process by which an individual knowingly interferes with (or attempts to interfere with) the processes of specimen collection, transport or analysis with the intention of avoiding a legitimate test result. The actions undertaken can include (but not limited to) the addition of water or foreign substances to the specimen, specimen substitution, damaging bottle seals or packaging and the deliberate consumption of interfering substances or copious volumes of water prior to specimen collection.
Chain of Custody: Procedures to account for each specimen by tracking its handling and storage from point of collection to final disposal. These procedures require that the donor identify is confirmed and that a chain of custody form is used from time of collection to receipt by the laboratory. Within the laboratory appropriate chain of custody records must account for the samples until disposal.
Chain of Custody Form: A form used to document the procedures from time of collection until receipt by the laboratory.
Collecting Officer: A person trained to collect specimens from donors.
Collection Site: A place where individuals present themselves for the purpose of providing a specimen for subsequent analysis.
Confirmation Test: An analytical procedure to identify and quantify the presence of a specific drug or analyte which is independent of the initial test and which uses a different technique and chemical principle from that of the screen test in order to ensure reliability and accuracy.
Cut-off: A concentration level set to determine whether the sample is positive or negative for the presence of a drug.
Customer: The organization requesting the drug testing service.
Donor: The individual from whom a urine specimen is collected.
Laboratory: The facility providing the analytical services to detect drugs of abuse.
Medical Review Officer (MRO): A medical physician responsible for receiving laboratory results from the drug-testing laboratory that has knowledge of substance abuse and has appropriate training or experience to interpret and evaluate an individual’s positive test result, in light of declared information.
Negative result (screen): A preliminary result established by screening test that indicates a drug possibility present in the sample is not detected above a specified cut-off.
Negative result (confirmation): A result reported by the laboratory that indicates that a suspected drug present in the sample is below a specified cut-off.
Non-negative result: A preliminary result established by screening test that indicates a drug possibly present in the sample is detected above a specified cut-off. A urine specimen that is reported as adulterated, substituted or invalid.
Positive result: (Confirmation): A result reported by the laboratory as positive means that there is conclusive evidence that a drug is present in the sample tested at level greater than or equal to the confirmation cut-off concentration.
Quality control sample: A sample used to evaluate whether or not an analytical procedure is operating within pre-defined tolerance limits.
Sample: A representative portion of a specimen submitted to a laboratory for testing.
Screen Test: A test to eliminate negative samples from further consideration and to identify the non-negative specimens that require confirmation testing.
Specimen: The portion of (normally) urine that is collected from a donor.
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): A written document giving the detailed steps to be followed when undertaking a particular task (e.g. the analysis of a given drug in a urine sample)
Toxicologist: A person (holding a degree in the chemical or biological sciences) responsible for interpreting a positive analytical result for the customer or the customer’s designated Medical Review Officer (MRO). This person must have suitable training and experience in the theory and practice of all methods and procedures employed in the laboratory, including a thorough understanding of chain of custody procedures, quality control practices, and analytical procedures relevant to the interpretation of a result.
The use and abuse of drugs are serious issues that should not be ignored or minimized and we should not sit back and hope they just go away. If left untreated, use and abuse can develop into drug dependence. As a result, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse early.