Category Archives: Drug Testing

Drug Testing

How To Choose Between The Most Common Types of Drug Testing

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Drug testing has earned a massive following because of its importance in human life, particularly in office and industrial settings. Aside from reducing employee absenteeism, conducting drug tests helps increase employee productivity and promotes a healthier and safer workplace. Aside from that, implementing an effective drug policy could result to a significant reduction in workers compensation premiums.

In any testing program, the goal is to generate trustworthy results. Depending on the methodology of testing and the kind of medium, there are different levels of drug testing in terms of risk. It is important to select the testing method that caters to the needs of your company while providing an acceptable level of risk mitigation.

Drug and alcohol testing may help mitigate the dangers of injury and property damage. At the same time, it may strengthen corporate safety culture. Given the wide variety of drug testing options, you can decide on the testing service to use.

You may either conduct testing in your office or in an external clinic. You have the prerogative when to start the program and what method you are going to use. These are important considerations that you need to think about before conducting drug testing in your office.

The need for drug testing has increased dramatically, especially in high-risk industries.

The need for drug testing has increased dramatically, especially in high-risk industries.

Where To Conduct Drug Testing

If you choose to conduct your drug testing at a clinic or laboratory, ensure that the testing firm that handles the procedure is a reputable and certified one. Credible testing programs will usually involve two steps, namely initial and confirmatory.

With on-site drug testing, you can immediately see the results of the testing. On-site drug testing is becoming popular because the employer can make decisions at the time of the testing. For confirmatory tests, an employee can conveniently return to the testing facility and resume work immediately.

When the sample requires further investigation, your manager will immediately know and have the capacity to monitor your testing as indicated in your drug and alcohol policy. Your sample will be sent to a NATA-accredited laboratory for confirmatory testing. When the confirmatory test has been returned, your doctor will help you interpret the results.

On-site testing can be incorporated into your drug and alcohol testing program or you can train your staff to collect the samples based on the AS/NZS 4308:2008 or AS 4760. This way, you can test your own staff whenever you want.

On the other hand, laboratory-based testing is done at a NATA-accredited laboratory for screening and confirmation (if needed). This reduces the possibility of on-site false positive and false negative results. At the same time, it provides confidentiality of drug testing.

Negative results can be retrieved usually a day after the samples have been received in the laboratory. A confirmation positive result is usually available after two business days after receiving the sample within the laboratory.

Type of Drug Testing

Before proceeding to choose the right drug testing method for your business, let us first discuss the different types of drug testing procedures available in the market. A “panel” refers to a drug or family of drug that is included in a drug test. The more panels included, the wider the scope of the test.

5 Panel Drug Test

This panel examines a specimen in order to test for 5 different substances: THC, cocaine, opiates, phencylcidine, and amphetamines. This is the most common drug test method, and is used by the Department of Transportation and the Federal government.

There are other options available outside of the 5-panel drug test. With these procedures, you simply add more drugs to the panel. Although the number of drug panels is dependent on the employees being tested, combinations of drugs constitute a panel more frequently than others. If you want several panels tested, you will just add another drug to each additional panel.

6-Panel Drug Test

In this type of test, benzodiazepines are added. Benzodiazepines are designed for treating panic attacks, generalized anxiety, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. Common examples of benzodiazepines are Valium & Klonopin. Although well-tolerated, the usual side effects associated with abuse of benzodiazepines  include fatigue, dizziness, and weakness. The 6-panel drug test is recommended for industries that require alertness, such as jobs that involve heavy machinery.

7-Panel Drug Test

In a 7-panel drug test, barbiturates are added to the panel aside from benzodiazepines. These substances are sedative-hypnotic drugs designed to reduce anxiety and fight insomnia. Also known as downers, barbiturates can affect the brain in the same way alcohol or sleeping pills do. These substances are frequently used in suicide attempts and may result to death or coma. When abused, barbiturates can lead to drowsiness and confusion. The 7-panel drug test can be used in industries where safety is a major concern.

8-Panel Drug Test

With the 8-panel drug test, the drug quaalude is added to the equation. Quaalude is a brand name for the drug methagualone. It is usually used recreationally for relaxing the muscles of an aphrodisiac. Currently it is not frequently used in North America, and that’s why the 7-panel drug test is more recommended than an 8-panel drug test within the U.S.

9-Panel Drug Test

In a 9-panel drug test, the drugs benzodiazepines, barbiturates, quaaludes, & propoxyphene are added to the list of substances identified by the test. Propoxyphene is a highly addictive narcotic pain reliever. Once it interacts with other drugs, it can slow down heart beat, create confusion, cause fainting, and trigger seizures.

Testing an employee using the 9-panel drug test may make sense. Employees who experience so much pain will require a narcotic pain reliever, but the risky complications and the addictive nature of propoxyphene cannot be denied.

10-Panel Drug Test

In a 10-panel drug test, methadone is added to the previous nine drugs. It can be abused as a pain reliever and result to extreme exhaustion and numbness.

When the test is conducted in the laboratory, the results are usually available 24 to 48 business hours after collecting the samples. Confirmatory tests will take 48 to 72 hours after completion of the test.

11-Panel Drug Test

An 11-panel drug test includes everything on an 8-panel drug test but adds methadone, oxycodone, & tricyclic antidepressants. The latter is no longer popular as an anti-depressant mainly because of its many side effects. The drug is known for causing moderate cognitive impairment, anxiety, and exhaustion.

12-Panel Drug Test

A 12-panel drug test usually tests everything a 10-panel drug test does, but adds on percoset/oxycodone and Ecstasy/MDMA. This type of drug test essentially checks for additional opiates and painkillers that may not be detected in fewer panels. This fairly comprehensive drug test is utilized in industries that have great responsibility for public welfare.

The 12-panel drug test is an accurate method for detecting recent drug use. It is widely popular for drug testing due to its speed and accuracy.

Employers need to know which type of drug testing works for them.

Employers need to know which type of drug testing works for them.

Which Drug Testing Method Is Best For You?

If you are not legally required to conduct testing beyond these substances, the 5-panel drug test is the most recommended procedure for drug testing. The test is designed to detect the presence of commonly abused street drugs. Larger panel drug tests aim to detect prescription drugs and painkillers as well.

However, determining the best drug testing method that is best for your company depends on several factors such as the industry you are in, the laws that govern the industry, and company culture.

Industry-Based Drug Testing Standards

  • In the Department of Transportation, the standard testing method for all drivers is the 5-panel drug test. They are required to undergo a pre-employment test, random drug test, and an annual drug test.
  • For home health aides, the recommended test method is the 8-panel drug test.
  • For construction and heavy machinery firms, the usual testing type involves 9 or more panels. These jobs entail alertness, and one of the side effects that need to be checked is fatigue, which can be extremely dangerous in high-activity industries.
  • Those who work in the civil service industry need to undergo and pass a 5-panel drug test, although some states require passing a 10-panel drug test.
  • For some employers looking to strictly enforce a drug-free workplace policy, employees need to pass a rigid 12-panel drug testing.

Corporate culture

For companies who employ wealthy and white collared workers, it is recommended to test them for designer drugs as well. These substances are designed to enhance focus. Although cocaine is still the most commonly abused substance, there has been a rise in the popularity of substances such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Provigil.

In addition, there are also companies that may have a culture that does not have any objection to a commonly tested drug. With the legalization of marijuana now extending to other states as well as different corporate views about the drugs, some companies might opt for a 4-panel drug test – that is, testing drug metabolites found in a 5-panel drug test but with the exception of THC panel.

More Details About Drug Testing

Although not unlimited when it comes to the number of drugs that can be tested, there are still several drugs that are available which includes: marijuana, cocaine, PCP, amphetamine, Ecstasy, methamphetamine, opiates, oxycodone, methadone, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, buprenorphine, tricyclic antidepressants, propoxyphene, tramadol, fentanyl, sufentanil, zolpidem, carisoprodol, meperidine, antihistamines, synthetic cannabinoids, designer stimulants (bath salts), dextromethorphan, direct ethanol biomarkers, high potency opioids, ketamine, propofol glucuronide, & Ritalin.

There is also an option for testing alcohol but since it cannot be detected from urine and the bloodstream, it is usually implemented for random testing and due to reasonable suspicion. Breathalyzer tests are best for detecting alcohol abuse.

Depending on the drug and testing medium, screening can make use of urine, hair, blood, or saliva for testing. The selected testing medium can have an effect on how far back the substances can be detected. Aside from that, the size, weight, health, hydration level, and similar factors may affect the extent of detection of drug abuse.

Bear in mind that opioid use can lead to further addiction (such as heroin), and so the standard 5- and 10-panel drug tests may not be enough to fulfill your requirements. A 12-panel drug test may be the right procedure that will satisfy your need as it also detects opiates and painkillers that will not be detected by a test that uses fewer panels.

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Sharapova’s Positive Drug Test Result Caught In Upgraded Tennis Drug Screening Program

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The tennis world is currently facing a monumental challenge after tennis superstar Maria Sharapova tested positive for Meldonium during a routine drug test, tagged as “the biggest operation ever mounted in tennis” by this news article. The drug has long been included in the list of prohibited drugs, but Sharapova said she did not know about it. In fact, she has been using it for 10 years for therapeutic purposes.

Meldonium, a drug common to sports world is intended to enhance the flow of blood. It is medically administered to treat ischemia or the lack of blood flow. The drug was included in the list of prohibited substances because according to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), there was evidence that athletes take it to enhance performance.

As a response to the massive drug debacle facing practically all sporting leagues, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) ordered the Biological Passport to take effect at the elite level of the sport by September last year. In line with the goal of developing the sport’s biological passport program, anyone who played a singles match at the Australian Open in Melbourne was required to undergo a blood test. More extensive random tests took place during one of the events, and it was through the urine testing where Sharapova hit a snag. Her case is to be heard by the end of the month.

The elevation in stringency of drug screening procedures has shook the tennis industry, and this may just be the start of potentially catching other tennis players who are taking performance-enhancing drugs – knowingly or not.


Drug Testing

3 Benefits of Same Day Drug and Alcohol Testing

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The world is so fascinated with drug and alcohol testing, and for good measure. Substance abuse continues to be one of the leading issues in the world today, and it’s important to implement effective strategies to treat cases and prevent future incidents.

Same day drug and alcohol testing has become a very helpful tool for individuals and companies in need of fast and accurate test results for alcohol and drugs. Here are three advantages of using same day testing:

Better time management

The sample collection process is very fast and easy, and results may come up as early as 1-2 days. This allows employers to conduct drug testing on employees without having to take them away from their job posts for too long. Same day testing promotes higher work productivity than other kinds of drug and alcohol tests.
Same-Day Testing

Lower costs

Conducting workplace drug testing keeps employment costs at bay because employees are healthier and less prone to engage in drug-related absenteeism.

Choosing how the drug testing program is conducted is incredibly important for companies, as it affects the price a lot. There are quite a few variables to consider when looking into a drug testing program, and choosing the right inclusions can make the costs vary.

Companies planning to implement a drug testing program need to consider the cost of having a policy drawn up, an approval by legal counsel, the cost of storing drug testing kits (if you choose to go with them), and various other costs associated with a testing program (such as administrative costs, lost productivity while people are being tested, and the like).

Of course, cost is only one side of the equation. On the other side of that equation is return on investment (ROI). How much the company will actually save from implementing a drug testing program is a subject for another article, but you can try Quest Diagnostics’ Drug Testing ROI Calculator to give you an indication of what that might be.

Reduced worry and fear

Waiting for results of a drug or alcohol test can be psychologically stressful for anyone. With same day drug testing, results are available in 1 to 2 days, effectively reducing the time for worry and fear.

As one of the foremost companies in the U.S. to offer same day drug and alcohol tests, TestCountry aims to provide fast and reliable services in more than 8,000 testing centers all across the country. The process of requesting for same day drug testing is simple: set your desired test location and schedule, pay online, receive an electronic form, and visit the testing center on your chosen schedule.

In case you cannot go in for testing on the same day that your request is granted, don’t worry because your registration is good for a period of 30 days. You can view the results in the privacy of your home, by logging into a secure online account in our website.

Planning to undergo drug or alcohol testing and get immediate results? Click here to schedule your same day test today.

Drug Testing

IOC Endorses 2016 Rio Olympics Drug Testing To Independent Group

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As the biggest sports events in the world, the Olympics has maintained the strictest of rules when it comes to drug use and doping. However, a recent statement from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) revealed that it is handing over its reins on drug testing cases to an independent group.

The committee is changing the rules on drug testing, stating that it will take itself away from the process and let the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decide on positive drug test cases. In the past, it was the IOC Disciplinary Commission that deliberated and decided on such cases. The said proposal was approved by the committee executive board on March 1, and will take effect starting in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“This is a major step forward to make doping testing independent, following the decision of the IOC Executive Board three months ago after the proposal of the Olympic Summit. It represents support for the IOC’s zero tolerance policy in the fight against doping and in the protection of the clean athletes,” said Thomas Bach, who functions as president of the IOC. The change is part of the committee reforms related to the Olympic Agenda 2020.

In related news, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was tapped by the IOC to conduct pre-Olympics and out-of-competition testing on athletes who will participate in the upcoming games.


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TestCountry Holiday Gift Ideas and Special Offers: For Healthier Holidays

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The holidays are just around the corner! Why not give something unique but also extremely useful and take advantage of TestCountry’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals?

Xmas_GiftsWhen you shop on Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30), get a 10% discount on any order. Restrictions may apply.

Check out TestCountry’s holiday gift ideas, which feature a wide range of health-centric products for your family and friends. (Click on the picture to the right to go to the TestCountry gift ideas page.)

For Pet Owners:

PetConfirm Pet Health Testing Kits – These pet health testing kits can help pet owners monitor their cats’ and dogs’ health between veterinary checkups.

Enerchip VitaCell Supplement for Cats and Dogs – Simply add to your pets’ water to support the vitality and enhance the growth rate of stem cells.

For Children:

Ancestry Testing Kit – Let your children find out where they come from (with the help of an adult). Makes an ideal educational STEM gift.

Blood Type Test Kit – A great educational STEM gift for children (must be used with adult supervision). Knowing your blood type is also extremely important in emergencies.

Health Related:

Food Intolerance Testing Kits – For people who are feeling unwell, but cannot seem to find the answer, these testing kits can allow them to test for various types of food intolerance to help get them back on track to feeling 100%.

Hormone Imbalance Testing Kits – People both young and old can suffer from hormone imbalances, which can lead to a whole host of health problems.

Home Safety Related:

Drinking Water Testing Kits – Just because water comes out of the tap doesn’t mean it’s safe to drink. Perfect for anyone who has reason to question if their water is safe.

Asbestos Home Testing Kit – Asbestos is still out there and many people don’t even know they have it in their homes.

Visit the TestCountry Holiday Gift Ideas page for your holiday shopping this year, and take advantage of the sale. Let’s all promote healthy holidays!

Drug Testing

Company Receives Grant to Develop Instant Saliva Drug Test to Combat Drugged Driving

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A company that is developing an instant test that will be used to identify drugged drivers has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant to aid with development of the test.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the grant worth $150,000 to Diagnostic anSERS to help the company progress its development of a paper-based test strip to enable instant roadside screening for driver drug impairment.

Currently, Diagnostic anSERS’s makes ink-jet printed sensors (called P-SERS™) that are able to detect traces of a wide variety of chemicals, including narcotics, pesticides, and explosives. This Phase I SBIR will help the company to develop modified P-SERS™ sensors that will be able to detect traces of drugs in saliva.

This new saliva test will allow a police officer to more accurately determine if a driver is currently under the influence of an illegal drug, as opposed to existing urine and hair tests which only identify prior drug usage.

The need to identify if drivers are under the influence of drugs is particularly pressing, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey found that 13.6% of weekend nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal drugs, as compared to only 1.5% being drunk.

At present, no effective roadside drug intoxication test exists. To help combat drugged driving, most states currently employ Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) to identify a variety of signs indicative of drug use, such as coordination and pupil size. However, use of DREs is expensive and time consuming.

“We have interviewed numerous law enforcement officials about their needs, and this was, by far, the biggest and most urgent one,” Sean Virgile, co-founder of Diagnostic anSERS said in a news release. “Right now, officers have to either rely on highly trained, highly paid Drug Recognition Experts or let the suspect go. There is no existing cost-effective solution.”

With the grant, Diagnostic anSERS hopes to cut down on the amount of drivers under the influence of drugs, a problem that is expected to grow with the societal shift toward decriminalization of marijuana.

[Photo courtesy of Nathan Rupert on Flickr]


Drug Testing

Drug Testing Expert Bill Current Discusses Drug Test Cheating

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In a recent webinar, drug testing expert Bill Current gave an overview of some of the most common ways people cheat on drug tests and what companies can do to prevent cheating.

Current identified what he called the ‘Axis of Cheating’, which consists of dilution, substitution and adulteration.

Dilution is when a donor attempts to drink enough water or other liquid that it dilutes their urine specimen and thus dilutes drug traces within the specimen.

Substitution is when a donor tries to substitute either another person’s urine or some other substance (like synthetic urine or animal urine) for their specimen.

Adulteration is when a donor attempts to alter their specimen somehow by adding a foreign substance to it.

With the right precautions and the right wording in a drug testing policy, Current says, testers can easily cut down on cheating.

Click here to read the full article: The Latest Trends in Drug Testing Cheating and How to Stop Them.

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Investigators Try to Track Down Source of Deadly Synthetic Marijuana

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Investigators in Jackson, Mississippi are trying to track down the origins of a deadly batch of synthetic marijuana or “spice” that sent more than 30 people to the hospital and is suspected in the death of one.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center treated almost three-dozen people since last week for overdose symptoms, hospital officials said. One person died prior to reaching the hospital.

The synthetic marijuana that is suspected of causing the sickness and death is 100 times more potent than pot, authorities said, and is sold under brand names like K-2, Moon Rocks and Snooby Snax.

In addition to the Jackson-area cases, state health officials have also received reports of synthetic marijuana overdoses in Meridian, Philadelphia and Monticello.

All of the patients treated for overdose symptoms have been released from UMMC, hospital officials said.

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New Report Says Drug Testing Market to be Worth $6.3 Billion by 2019

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The drug testing industry is set to be worth an estimated $6.3 billion by 2019, up from $4 billion in 2014, growing at a CAGR of 9.5% from 2014 to 2019, according to a recently released report.

The “Drug Screening Market by Products and Services (Immunoassay Analyzers, Chromatography, Breath Analyzers, Rapid Testing Devices, Assay Kits and Reagents), Sample Type (Urine, Breath, Saliva, Hair, Blood, Skin, Sweat) – Global Forecast to 2019″ report takes an in-depth look at the drug testing market. It explores the major drivers, restraints, challenges, opportunities, current market trends, and strategies impacting the drug and alcohol testing market along with estimates and forecasts of the revenue and share analysis.

The report segments the drug and alcohol testing market on the basis of

  • products and services,
  • sample types,
  • end users, and
  • regions.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • Urine samples accounted for the largest share in 2014.
  • The breath sample segment will grow at the highest CAGR in the forecast period.
  • Breath testing is the most common test performed for driving under influence (DUI) cases.
  • Factors such as the rise in the number of roadside accidents due to DUI and government initiatives to curb DUI are the factors driving the growth of drug and alcohol testing market for breath testing.
  • The oral fluid testing segment has also gained prominence in the market due to the noninvasive nature of this test where samples can be collected under direct observation, which prevents adulteration of the sample.
  • With oral fluid testing, the concentrations of many drugs can be closely correlated with blood concentrations.

Based on region, the market is dominated by North America, followed by Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World (RoW). North America is estimated to account for the largest share of the market in 2014, while Asia-Pacific is likely to witness the highest growth in this market.

Click here to download the pdf of the report.

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Drug Testing

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Pushes For Drug Testing Of FoodShare Recipients

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As the 2016 presidential elections are looming, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pushes for a more stringent criteria for beneficiaries of health care and food stamps, including the need for drug testing.

A bill that delineates the state budget for the coming year aims to change some of the important programs being implemented today. As part of the proposed bill, Walker included a requirement for BadgerCare Plus recipients to undergo drug testing. Those who test positive for drugs will be sent to treatment and job trainings for free. Details of this proposal have not been clarified by the governor, specifically on the extent to which the state budget can cover the testing.

In addition to the drug testing provision, recipients of the state’s welfare program — called Wisconsin Works or W-2 — will be enrolled for a maximum of four years, down from five in the current budget. “We know employers in Wisconsin have jobs available, but they don’t have enough qualified employees to fill those positions… With this budget, we are addressing some of the barriers keeping people from achieving true freedom and prosperity and the independence that comes with having a good job and doing it well,” said Walker in a news release. The drug testing proposal covers all applicants of BadgerCare and FoodShare programs, excluding children and the elderly.

The proposal isn’t met without opposition, as Senate minority leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) doesn’t agree that it’s for the best interest of the state. “This proposal is more about making headlines than finding real solutions. Rather than getting distracted by presidential posturing, we need to work together and find real solutions that will create jobs,” expressed Shilling. To date, no U.S. state has implemented drug testing for food stamps beneficiaries.

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