Frequently asked questions about drug testing.
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1. What drugs do we screen for and exactly what are they?
A DOT panel screens for cannabinoids (marijuana), cocaine, amphetamines (methamphetamine), opiates (codeine, morphine, and heroin), PCP (phencyclidine) and ecstasy.
A non-DOT panel 5 test screens for cannabinoids (marijuana), cocaine, amphetamines (methamphetamine), opiates (codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, heroin), and PCP (phencyclidine).
2. How is the testing actually performed?
Laboratory based drug testing in certified labs involves two types of tests. One is the initial test or screening test and the second is a confirmatory test designed to validate the initial test positive. If a sample screens negative by the first test, it is reported as negative. If the first test for a drug class is positive, then the sample is tested by the confirmation test. If the confirmation test is positive, then the results for that drug class are reported as positive.
3. What is meant by the cutoff?
The cutoff for each test (both initial and confirmatory tests have cutoffs) is a drug concentration that distinguishes between a sample that is negative and one that is positive. If a sample has an initial test reading less than the reading for a cutoff sample, then it is reported as negative. If the initial test reading is greater than the reading for a cutoff sample, then it is tested by the confirmation test.
At confirmation, if the amount of the drug present is less than the cutoff value, it is reported as negative. If the amount is greater than the cutoff, it is reported as positive.
4. What does the “chain of custody” mean in drug testing?
Chain of Custody is the process that describes the legal control of a sample or a portion of a sample during the time from collection to disposal or long term storage. All individuals who have access to a sample must be documented to ensure that the final test results with withstand legal challenge if necessary. Certified laboratories control all aspects of chain of custody, accounting for portions as small as one drop of sample in some cases. The collection process is where the chain of custody starts and the process ends when the sample is destroyed or disposed.
5. What does it mean by a certified laboratory?
A certified laboratory is a testing facility that participates in a nationally recognized inspection program that rigorously validates all aspects of the laboratories testing program including security, methods and procedures, Personnel, test results, and results of proficiency or check samples whose results are graded by the government contractor. A laboratory must successfully pass 2 on-site inspections per year and 4 sets of proficiency samples in order to maintain its certified status.
6. When the lab reports a sample that is “dilute”…what does that mean?
In parallel with the actual testing for the drugs, certified laboratories do a series of what is termed “Specimen Validity Tests or SVTs”. These are tests designed to ensure that the sample has not been adulterated or substituted during the collection process. One such test is a measurement of the amount of creatinine in the sample. Creatinine is a breakdown substance of muscle metabolism and should be present in urine at a concentration of greater than 20 milligrams per 10 ml of urine. If urine has a creatinine of less than 20, it is usually due to an excessive fluid intake by the donor prior to the sample being collected. The more a person drinks, the “weaker or dilute” the urine will be. With a dilute urine, the possibility might be that a drug MAY be present could be at an amount less than the cutoff for that drug (see previous FAQs). Therefore, that drug would be negative in a “dilute” sample and might be positive if the sample was more normal.
7. If I have a question about drug testing…is there someone I can call and ask?
Yes…Mid-Missouri Drug Testing Collections, Inc. is available to answer all your questions about drug testing. They may have the answer to your questions or they may refer you to their consultant. They can be reached at (573) 424-0976.
8. What hours can I get a sample collected?
The MDTC, Inc. office is routinely open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday-Friday. Donors do not need an appointment for collections. Collections can be performed at other times (before 9 am and after 4 pm) by pre-arrangement. For multiple prospective employee interviews (i.e., Job Fairs), MDTC is available evening and weekend hours. MDTC, Inc. will make every effort to accommodate and employer’s needs during start up or mass testing times.
9. How long does it take for me to get my results back?
MDTC, Inc. delivers samples to the laboratory at least twice per day (routinely at 12:30 and 4:30). This procedure allows samples collected in the morning hours to be processed by the laboratory in the afternoon batch. Following certification, results will be available to the MRO or the employer by phone call (to designated employer representatives only), by secure FAX, and final report by mail. Therefore, in many cases, results can be available the same day as collection. Afternoon collected samples will be available the following day (around mid-day). Verified positive samples take 1-2 days longer due to confirmation and MRO review.
10. What will I receive to verify that a prospective employee has been collected?
MDTC, Inc. will provide to the employer the “Employee Copy” of the chain-of-custody showing that a collection has been performed and results are to be expected from the laboratory/MRO. The “Employee Copy” can be faxed and/or sent to the employer by first class mail.
11. How long will prospective employees have to wait to have their sample collected?
Because MDTC, Inc. provides only drug and alcohol collections, the wait time is less than 15 minutes even during busy times.