Category Archives: Drug Testing

Drug Testing

Can Bleaching Remove Drug Metabolites From Hair Samples?

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Are you scheduled for a hair follicle drug test? And is this one of your pre-employment requirements?

A hair screen is a drug examination wherein it uses a sample of hair to check and identify if a person being tested has used a specific drug. The hair follicle drug test measures specific metabolites and drug molecules produced after the human body processes a particular drug.

One of the myths circulating hair follicle drug tests is that you can pass by bleaching your hair. The truth is that whenever you consume drugs whether by smoking, injecting, or ingesting, the drug stays and metabolizes within the body. Bleaching the hair may be able to remove drug compounds in hair follicles by up to 80 percent. Moreover, they can even remove all traces of drugs found in a hair strand when multiple bleaching attempts are made.

Hair bleaching can remove the traces of drug metabolites because it cracks and damages the strands that can cause percolating of metabolites out of the hair follicles, thereby removing any evidence of drug use.

However, this is still not a guaranteed method in passing or cheating a drug test because the removal isn’t totally complete. Although the possibility of drug detection via hair screen decreases with the number of times the hair is bleached, the drug testing company may use another alternative in detecting drugs and that is through fingernail testing. Fingernail testing is extremely accurate, although it can’t provide month-by-month overview.

In short, there’s no absolute way to cheat on drug screening given that drug testing technology is now becoming more and more accurate in detecting drug use.

[Image by amber via Flickr Creative Commons]

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Drug Testing

Popular Cases of Cheating in Drug Tests

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The number of drug users has soared for the past years. It is no secret how many famous personalities were caught using these drugs and how some of them found several means of cheating their way through drug tests. With the help of online resources, more people have resorted to ways on how they could get themselves out of the hole.

The spotlight is often cast on celebrities and athletes when it comes to drug issues. The world has witnessed how some famous personalities have been exposed for their addiction on certain drugs. In fact, some have been busted for trying to alter their drug tests by doing questionable methods. Here are some of them:

Mike Tyson

He admitted using a fake penis to excrete fake urine to be able to pass his drug test and be able to proceed with a fight.

Alex Rodriguez

Popular Major League baseball player A-Rod took a mid-stream urine sample based on the assumption that drug metabolites are present at the start and end stream of urine excretion only.

Young Buck

This G-unit rapper was caught sneaking a yellow substance into his urine specimen but was eventually identified as being positive for marijuana. He initially claimed that he was not a user of marijuana but was just a “victim” of famous rap artist Snoop Dogg’s marijuana use.

Lance Armstrong

The world renowned cyclist ended his career in 2012 when he got busted for using, trafficking and administering erythropoietin (EPO), testosterone, and blood transfusions. He admitted that he has done these so many times during his career, leading him to winning several races.

While Armstrong was not busted at any time during drug tests, some of his fellow athletes broke their silence. News of his drug test cheating methods has reached the authorities, who conducted a drug test and found the champion cyclist to be positive for EPO.

Other athletes get away from these drug tests because they just use them in “micro-doses” a night before the race. Unfortunately, some have even asked the help of other physicians to help them with the administration of certain drugs. This has caused revocation of the medical licenses of the physicians found guilty in helping these athletes.

Tom Sizemore

The actor was caused cheating on his drug test by using a prosthetic device to falsify his urine sample. He was charged with the possession of methamphetamine.

John Anzrah

The Kenyan Coach was sent home after authorities in the recently concluded Rio Olympics found out that he was trying to pose himself as an athlete and gave sample urine to hide the doping activity of one of his athletes. He was immediately sent back to Kenya after authorities confirmed that his face does not match the photo of the athlete to be tested.

Russian Athletes at Rio Olympics

A group of Russian athletes have been found to be using performance-enhancing drugs to win themselves a gold medal. However, it has been discovered how rampant it was among their athletes. In fact, one female athlete for the track and field category accidentally leaked her adulterated urine sample onto the floor. She was trying to provide a urine sample through a device that was hidden under her clothes.

Apparently, some of these Russian athletes have their unusual way of evading drug tests. Some of them just disappear in the middle of the race or go missing among the crowd in such a way that the drug testing staff won’t be able to get to them.

There was also one incident wherein two athletes were found to be missing their drug tests. When they learned that their cheating ways have been discovered, they filed for retirement.


How People (Attempt To) Cheat on Drug Tests

The desperation of some drug users have led them to consider cheating their way through drug tests. Here are some of the most popular and infamous drug test cheating methods:

Dilution of urine

One common way of cheating a drug test is by taking in large amounts of water at least 4 to 6 hours prior to submission of the sample. In doing so, the individual is forced to urinate and by doing so, whatever chemical may be in his system will somehow be flushed out.

There is only a specific range of drug presence in the urine that can determine if the individual is indeed positive with a drug. Other individuals, however directly put water with the urine to dilute the sample. Unfortunately, this is easily detected by laboratories because now, they add a dye to their toilets and their faucets are turned off.

Sample Substitution

Some individuals would submit urine samples from another individual who is 100 percent free from any drug substance.

Surprisingly, there are concentrated urine products in powdered form, which can be bought online. Adding water to it would produce urine. However, this could be easily detected if the urine sample does not maintain the specific temperature. Too warm or too cold would mean demanding for another urine sample to be taken.

Adding a chemical

There are certain chemicals that can alter the chemical composition of the urine. This, however, is easily detected. Any urine sample that is found to have chemicals that aim to disrupt the testing process is tagged as an “adulterated sample”.

Vinegar overload

Drinking vinegar may alter the ph level of the urine and may “mask” the presence of any drug. However, with testing, vinegar is easily detected.

Tattoo

Performance-enhancing drugs are being injected by athletes through their tattoos. By doing this, only a small amount of the drug is enough to provide the needed strength or endurance that an athlete may need.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

This is used to boost performance of energy-inducing drugs.  By using HGH with regular low dose of blood-boosting hormone EPO, the presence of this drug may be difficult to detect, as some users would vouch.

Exemptions from Drug Testing

Some athletes who were found to be positive with some disorders like attention-deficit disorder are prescribed with Adderall or Ritalin. These drugs are highly addictive. Howver, athletes who abuse these drugs make an excuse not to undergo drug testing because they say that their use of the said drugs would affect results.

Gene Doping

This involves altering the normal DNA structure of the human body.  A gene, after it has been isolated, is injected with a “virus” (the deadly components taken out) to produce superhuman strength. This is introduced back into the body and generally improves overall performance of an athlete.

Blood Doping

There are two techniques of blood doping:

Autologous

The blood of an athlete who has injected EPO is extracted, stored in a blood bank, and injected back to the athlete at a later date.

Homologous

This is when the blood coming from another donor has been transfused to the athlete. The purpose is to dilute the concentration to evade detection but the effect of the drug will not alter the athlete’s performance.

Detoxification

Using diuretics have been used to evade detection of any presence of drugs. Frequent urination will flush out traces of drugs from the system, but this strategy isn’t fool-proof.

Using Testosterone-Based Ointments

When an individual takes on drugs, the testosterone levels greatly drops, which can sometimes lead to a “0” reading. However, with the use of this kind of ointment, it retains the normal level of testosterone in the body.

Visine

It has been found out that the presence of benzolkonium chloride in a urine sample can mask the presence of THC metabolite in drug analysis, but this hasn’t been confirmed to be effective.

Drug-Evading Kits

Whizzinator is a kit that has been marketed all over to fraudulently evade detection of presence of drugs during a drug test. This is made up of a syringe, heater pack, dried urine and a penis-shaped appendage to attempt to dispense fake urine into a drug testing cup.

Drug Tests To Prevent Cheating

Urine or blood tests may have been the most common means to detect presence of drugs in an individual. However, there have also been several strategies in trying to evade a positive result. To combat any attempts of drug test cheating, some drug tests have been developed to determine the presence of these substances with little to almost no possibility of being tampered and adulterated.

Because the urine drug test is probably the most adulterated and tampered method of all, some companies and testing firms use other kinds of drug tests. Saliva or oral tests, for instance, are much more difficult to cheat because the drug testing staff will extract the sample themselves. This is done by swabbing a piece of cotton onto a person’s inner cheek.

Conclusion

It really comes as no surprise as to why celebrities and athletes would involve themselves into drug use. After all, fame can be so overwhelming that they wouldn’t want to lose their sparkle or downgrade their performance.

Drug abuse in some celebrities start as early as childhood, when they take drug cocktails to remain awake and alert for shoots. As a result, a lot of child stars who are now in their teens or adult life have gotten themselves hooked on drugs because society dictates that they should remain active with what they do.

Sadly, the same thing also happens to athletes. The thought of bringing home a medal or trophy is something that every athlete would dream about. Unfortunately, they try to make use of these drugs to help them push beyond their limits.

Drug users will always find a way to manipulate the results of drug tests so that they can continue to use them for longer periods of time. However, knowing that drug abuse may also lead to a downfall of society at large, there should be a need to prevent individuals from getting away from it. As technology progresses, more drug tests are now becoming fool-proof to ensure that the prevalence of drug addiction may be completely eradicated from the society in the coming years.

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Drug Testing Substance Abuse

Heroin Abuse Truths, Detection, and Treatment

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Heroin addiction has become a serious epidemic in the United States. The report entitled “Results from the 2014 National Health Survey on Drug Use and Health” prepared by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Services (SAMHSA) showed that for that year, about 586,000 people of ages 12 or older  who were living in the country had a heroin use disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported similar findings and pointed out that between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths had quadrupled. In 2013 alone, more than 8,200 people died from heroin overdose.

Following the warnings issued by the CDC, the White House called for intensified efforts to address the growing crisis and to prevent further escalation of the heroin abuse problem.

Heroin Use and Addiction

Heroin is a highly addictive substance that is synthesized from morphine. The latter is derived from the opium that naturally occurs in an Asian poppy plant. After being chemically processed, heroin is sold in white or brown powder form. It can also take the form of a black sticky substance (black tar heroin). Black tar heroin, however, is tainted with other substances such as coffee, burned cornstarch, or dextrose.

The drug may be smoked, snorted, or injected directly into the veins. When used intravenously, it is two to four times more potent than morphine.

Heroin may be introduced intravenously via injection.

Heroin may be introduced intravenously via injection.

Regardless of the manner of ingestion, the substance enters the brain rapidly where it is quickly converted back to morphine. It then binds itself to the opioid receptors, the cells in the brain which are associated with perceptions of pain and reward. The effects are similar to those caused by prescriptive opioid analgesics.

When administered intravenously, users immediately experience a “rush” or an elevated sense of pleasure and euphoria that can occur within a few seconds from the use. This is followed by a feeling of calmness and the users would shift between states of drowsiness and wakefulness.  Heroin is used and abused for the “rush” or pleasurable feelings that the drug elicits.

Immediate Effects of Heroin

Aside from experiencing euphoria, followed by a sense of general well-being and calmness, users have also reported negative effects. These include dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, flushed skin, and clouded mental abilities. Soon after, the users are likely to experience a different set of symptoms. The “delayed” symptoms include drowsiness, slowed breathing, slowed heart rate, heaviness of the extremities, and uncontrollable itching of the skin.

Heroin overdose can cause a suppression of breathing that affects the delivery of oxygen to the brain. It can also cause respiratory depression. Both effects are fatal and can lead to coma, permanent brain damage, and death.

Long-Term Consequences

Various studies have been conducted to determine the long-term effects of heroin use disorder. Among the effects that have been established are the following:

Health consequences

Heroin abuse has been linked to a number of serious health risks and medical complications. These include bronchial and lung infections such as pneumonia, liver diseases such as hepatitis, kidney diseases, heart diseases, collapsed veins, skin abscesses and infections, arthritis, seizures, constipation, and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Sharing of needles among fellow drug users also tremendously increases the chances of contracting HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and other blood-borne viruses.

Pregnant women are at risk of miscarriage and premature birth. They also place the unborn child at risk of low birth weight and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS is a condition where a child is born with drug dependence and exhibits withdrawal symptoms.

Among non-pregnant women, heroin abuse can cause hormonal imbalance and inconsistent menstrual cycles.

In addition, those who consume street heroin are at a high risk of overdose and death because these variants may be mixed with other addictive and toxic substances.

Tolerance and addiction

Chronic use of heroin can lead to tolerance and a user will need to use higher amounts of the substance in order to achieve the same results. Over time, he will develop a physiological dependence on heroin which is manifested by an uncontrollable compulsion to consume the drug despite knowledge of its harmful effects. This compulsive behavioral pattern is called substance use disorder, abuse, or addiction.

As with other cases of substance use disorder, the abuser will experience several withdrawal symptoms whenever he tries to quit using the drug. These symptoms include restlessness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, body malaise, cold sweats, chills, involuntary spasms, muscle and bone pain, fever, and intense drug cravings. These can manifest anywhere between 6 to 24 hours from discontinuation of drug use.

Heroin is extremely addictive and regardless of the chosen route of administration, a user has a high probability of developing tolerance and dependence. Once addicted to the substance, an abuser’s solitary objective is to use the drug.

Behavioral and social changes

Heroin addiction substantially affects a person’s behavior and character. As an abuser’s life revolves around drug use, drug acquisition, and recovery from use, his daily routines and concerns are significantly altered.

Addicts may begin to display sudden changes in behavior such as lying, stealing, underperformance in school or work, loss of motivation, loss of self-esteem, lack of concern for personal appearance and hygiene, lack of interest in hobbies and social activities, disassociation from friends and family members, and hostile behavior.

These changes will give rise to more serious problems that are likely to upset his family and home life, interpersonal relationships, employment, social standing, and financial stability or status.

Effects on the brain

Some research studies have shown that repeated use of heroin alters both the physical structure and function of the brain. These changes can lead to long-term neuronal and hormonal imbalances that are difficult to reverse.

Heroin use disorder also causes a corrosion of the brain’s white matter. This affects the person’s ability to make decisions, analyze and solve problems, control behavior, and cope with stressful situations and environments.

Heroin abuse affects a person's brain, health, and psyche.

Heroin abuse affects a person’s brain, health, and psyche.

Detection and Diagnosis

Knowing the initial signs and symptoms of heroin use and addiction can help a person detect if a family member, friend, or co-worker is abusing the drug. Tell-tale physical indicators include flushed skin, vomiting, sweating, and shallow breathing.

The behavioral changes that indicate drug abuse include impaired reasoning and judgment, changes in mood, aggression, irritability, depression, neglect of appearance, underperformance in work or school, financial problems, frequent lying, and criminal tendencies.

Heroin addicts also use a number of paraphernalia such as syringes, hypodermic needles, spoons, cotton or q-tips, cigarette filters, lighters, aluminum foil, glass or metal pipes, and rubber balloons where they sometimes store heroin. Finding these in their possession or hidden in their drawers or medical cabinets strongly suggest that they are abusing heroin.

The drug is retained in the body and may be detected via drug test within 24 to 48 hours from last use. A urine test is the most common method for determining whether a person has recently smoked or ingested an opioid. A hair opiate test may detect heroin for up to 90 days from the last use.

What’s great about recent developments in the field of heroin drug testing is that home-based test kits are now available in the market. Some of these products include IDenta Confirm Heroin Substance Detector and iCassette Premium Complete OPI2000 Urine Drug Test Kit.

Aside from these standard drug tests, a person suspected of heroin use must also be evaluated by a physician or drug counselor to confirm whether or not he suffers from heroin use disorder.

Treatment Options

Treatment options are available for heroin abuse including behavioral and pharmacological approaches. Either treatment method may be resorted to in order to re-establish a person’s normal brain functions. For most abusers, however, a combination of both approaches is necessary to achieve effective results.

Below is a brief discussion of these therapies:

Pharmacological treatment

Research investigations have established that the use of medications in the treatment of opioid and heroin addiction effectively manages withdrawal symptoms, promotes abstinence and supports retention of learning gained from behavioral therapies.

During the detoxification phase or the period during which the body eliminates the effects of the drug, a patient experiences withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be managed or relieved by the administration of certain medications. Some of the medicines that have been clinically proven to be effectual are the following:

  1. Methadone

Methadone is a slow-acting opioid agonist that has been used to treat heroin addiction since the 1960s. It is designed to deliver the same effects of an opioid but at lower doses to control drug cravings until the patient can successfully wean off the substance.

  1. Buprenorphine

This drug also suppresses drug cravings but unlike other opioids, it averts harmful side effects. Like Methadone, it is also administered orally and as such, prevents the “rush” or “high” that is produced by heroin or other opioid drugs.

  1. Naltrexone

Naltrexone works by blocking the opioid receptors and preventing the drug from taking an effect on the patient. It is non-addictive. Recently, the FDA approved a long-acting formulation in an injectable form called Vivitrol which is administered once a month.

  1. Naloxone

As with Naltrexone, Naloxone also blocks the effects of opioids. It is used as an emergency treatment to reverse the effects of heroin overdose. It is available in injectable and nasal spray forms.

Behavioral therapies

Following detoxification and withdrawal, a patient must undergo behavioral therapies that involve counseling sessions delivered individually or in group sessions. These forms of counseling are available in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Therapists utilize a number of psychotherapy approaches to help the patients develop coping mechanisms, self-control, and new life skills, among others. The goals of behavioral therapies include strengthening the patient’s motivation and commitment to treatment, helping him sustain abstinence, and rebuilding his self-esteem to enable him to regain a normal and productive life.

The various techniques include contingency management, cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, 12-step facilitation therapy, and family counseling.

In addition to group support programs, specialized treatment facility centers also offer various outdoor, sports, and recreational activities to help patients utilize exercise as a stress-coping technique.

Other forms of therapies include journalizing, art, drama, music, yoga, and meditation.

Heroin addicts need the help of their loved ones during recovery.

Heroin addicts need the help of their loved ones during recovery.

The Bottom Line

It is possible to recover from heroin abuse and to regain a normal life. However, in order to find the light at the end of the tunnel, an addict must first confront the problem head on and seek professional help. Sadly, most users are unaware of their deteriorating conditions and the inception of their treatment often lies in the hands of their family members, friends, and loved ones who must initiate intervention mechanisms.

As government agencies, state authorities, and private sectors contribute various efforts to combat this national epidemic, private individuals in the home, school, or workplace must also rise to join the battle. Anyone who suspects a loved one to be in danger of heroin abuse must strive to help address the issue by reaching out to the proper rehabilitation centers and health professionals for assistance.

If every person and sector in society is actively involved in this fight, the crisis can be conquered by saving one life at a time.

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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.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Drug Testing

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.

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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]

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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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