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How Urine Drug Testing Is Done?


Urine drug testing is a procedure of chemical analysis designed to screen patients or individuals for drug abuse. It is also used to ensure that a person is substance-free before undergoing any medical procedure.

Drug screening, also known as toxicology screening is an effective method to determine possible accidental or deliberate overdose and poisoning. If the person is suspected of using illegal substance, urine tests can assess the classification and prescription dosage of illegal drugs used by such an individual.

Drug toxicity is clearly known with urine drug screening. Both for medical or legal intentions, urine drug tests are helpful in determining the drug dependency or drug presence in the body. In many circumstances, urine drug testing is a widespread practice before and during employment.

In almost all careers and occupations, employees and applicants are required to submit themselves to drug screening. The drug testing can be periodic, random or post-incident to existing employees. To applicants, drug test is a requirement they need to comply.

Of particular requirement are drug tests for offices such as law enforcement and transportation. The transportation industry includes drivers of trucks, buses, taxis, and private transportation services. Employees and pilots of airlines, workers of railroads and crew of shipping lines whether commercial or cargo are not spared.

Urine drug testing is able to discover general classes of chemical compounds including amphetamines, opiates, benzodiazepines and barbiturates. It is also effective in detecting cocaine, marijuana and phencyclidine or PCP.

However, drug screening from urine cannot distinguish prescription drugs from illegal drugs belonging to the same class. For example, if you are taking prescribed codeine pills and another individual uses heroin, both of you will turn out positive for opiates through urine drug tests.

There are also ‘false-positive’ incidences in which individuals that are using over-the-counter medications to have positive results on drug tests despite not using any prescription or illegal drugs. There are two types of urine drug test-a screening test and a confirmatory test.

Screening tests use an immunoassay to find the parent drug or metabolite. This is the type of test that screens for cocaine, marijuana, opiates and PCPs. If you are using amphetamines, benzodiazepines or methadone, screening tests can detect such drugs.

Confirmatory urine drug testing is accomplished through gas chromatography/mass spectrometry or GC/MS and High-performance liquid chromatography or HPLC. Confirmatory test is very specific; hence, it is effective in performing test to determine the specific drug present inside your body.

In most cases, when you turn out positive on screening test, a confirmatory test is done shortly. While urine drug tests are remarkable in detecting drugs, they are not able to tell the dosage of drugs ingested or the methods of drug usage.

The common approaches for using illegal drugs are intravenous, oral and inhalation. The detection time of drugs from Urine drug testing can be between one day and three days. The rate of excretion depends on the differences in your metabolism or urinary function. Hence, the timing of drug test must correlate to the information on the latest time of drug ingestion.

Pros and Cons of Urine and Hair Drug Testing Methods to Detect Illicit Drug Use and Date Rape Drugs


There are a variety of drug testing methods being used to detect use of illicit drugs. The list includes saliva or oral fluids testing as well as spray or sweat patch testing. But the more popular methods are hair drug testing and urine drug testing.

Pros and cons of hair drug testing

Hair drug testing is commonly done by taking hair samples from a person who wants to undergo the test. Some of the pros of hair drug testing are:

1. It provides a longer window to detect the drug abuse;

2. It does not deteriorate thus making it a highly stable drug detection method;

3. It is also ideal to detect chronic drug abuse;

4. Does not require refrigeration thus making it more convenient for shipping or storage;

5. Hair is more difficult to adulterate when compared to urine; and

6. It can also help detect if cocaine or any drug is combined with alcohol.

With these sets of pros of hair drug testing, date rape drug detection will be made easier. Remember that date rape drugs are often combined with alcohol to obtain that “high”. With the use of this drug testing method, it will be easier to detect if date rape drugs are present in an individual’s body.

However, there are also some cons to the use of the hair drug testing method. It is often more expensive when compared to other testing methodologies. The test is limited to a limited number of drugs compared urine drug testing. Hair drug testing cannot detect drug intake when the patient is tested within one to seven days (or upto 14 days depending on the speed of hair growth) after drug use.

Pros and cons of urine drug testing

As the name implies, this drug testing method makes use of urine samples from the victim or the patient. The window of detection is typically set in between one to five days. Here are some of the pros to urine drug testing:

1. It is the most flexible way in detecting different types of drugs, nicotine and alcohol;

2. It is the least expensive among other types of drug testing methods; and

3. Window of detection starts within hours to a couple days (depending on the drug)

It is true that hair drug testing can be used to detect date rape drugs in an individual. However, the urine drug testing also produces the same capabilities with that of the first method. Add to that the fact that it is flexible in detecting different drug types.

But just like hair drug testing, urine drug testing has its own sets of drawbacks as well. The most common problem is adulteration, dilution and substitution of urine samples. Plus the window of detection is limited. There can also be a biological hazard while the sample is handled and shipped to the laboratory.

So which is better? Hair or urine drug testing?

It depends. Window of detection is the major difference. Urine as a testing method starts to detect sooner than hair as a testing method. Keep in mind that it might take up to 10 days for hair to grow enough to be cut. So the suspected time recent urine testing could be a better fit. For longer window of detection and less chance of adulteration hair drug testing could be better.


10 Things to Know About Workplace Drug Testing State Laws and Regulations in Texas


1) Texas Laws for Drug Testing

Texas law states that if a business wishes to take part in the workers’ compensation system and has over 15 employees than that employer shall formulate a policy for drug abuse prevention. Otherwise there is no state law or ordinance that mandates how a company must conduct their drug-testing program.

2) Types of Drugs

Texas has no state laws that require certain types of drugs be tested for. Alcohol, marijuana, barbiturates and many more can all be tested at the whim of an employer. There is no limitation for private or public companies as to what they can test for.

3) Company Disclosure

State law does require that each employee, on the first day of hire, be presented with a written drug abuse and testing policy. However no company, private or public, is required to post their policy in any public area on company grounds.

4) Written Policy

For those companies taking part in the workers’ compensation program there must be a written policy. The policy must included the following items:

-The purpose of the drug abuse policy must be explained in a coherent and easy to understand statement.

-The policy must list the types of drugs that will be tested for such as alcohol, illegal drugs, drugs that are huffed or inhaled and even prescription drugs if the company chooses.

-The policy must include and consequence for those who are caught or who test positive using drugs that are not allowed per company policy.

-The policy must include information on drug and alcohol treatment programs available and whether these programs are covered by the employers’ health insurance.

-Finally the policy must describe the drug testing the employer conducts to test for use and abuse.

5) Types of Drug Testing

Texas state law does not require any particular form of drug testing be conducted. The employer can choose the type of drug testing they prefer be it the standard urine test or the more sophisticated hair sample or blood test.

6) Who Pays

There is not statute that states the employer or the employee must pay for the drug testing. As standard practice the employer will foot the bill for the drug test.

7) The Lab

There is no law or ordinance in Texas stating drug testing must take place at a hospital, laboratory, or doctor’s office. It is up to the employer to decide where the want to send their employees for drug and alcohol testing.

8) Mandatory Drug Testing

Texas state law does not demand any particular employee be tested for drug and alcohol use. Not even those individuals involved with public safety or who perform dangerous tasks are required to be tested for drugs.

9) When Should Drug Testing Occur?

It is up to the company as to when they decide to perform Employee Drug Testing. Most employers will conduct drug-testing prior to an employees first day on the job but this is not a state law.

10) Testing Positive

Companies that participate in the workers’ compensation program must disclose any consequences set forth by the company if drug or alcohol use is confirmed. However there is no law or ordinance stating how a positive test must be handled by a company. There is one exception, if an employee has a commercial driver’s license and they do test positive they must be reported to the Department of Public Safety. And, anyone who falsifies a drug test can be prosecuted.