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The following are some of the commonly asked questions and answers about drugs of abuse testing in the workplace. What is the collection procedure? Samples for testing must be collected using the correct chain of custody procedure to ensure that the are from the identified person. Chain of custody is a legal term that refers to the ability to trace a sample from the time of collection to the reporting of. A chain of custody form accompanies each sample and must be completed correctly by every person who handles the sample.
Collection procedure usually involves:.
Urine is the best sample for substance abuse testing. It is non-invasive, easy to obtain, can be collected under supervision and contains drugs at concentrations, which are easily detectable. PathWest have also validated methods for the analysis of some drugs of abuse in oral fluid. How can you tell that a sample has been contaminated, substituted or adulterated? There are several checks to ensure that samples tested are free from contamination or adulteration.
When the sample is collected the temperature is taken within four minutes and should fall within an acceptable temperature range of 33 o - 38 o C. If the temperature falls outside this range it is likely that the sample has been diluted or substituted. The level of creatinine in the sample is also measured and must be above 1.
Creatinine is produced in the body and naturally excreted in urine. In addition, the sample is also tested for compounds that may have been added to the urine to produce a negative result. What drugs should be tested? The normal drugs of abuse screening includes alcohol, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, opiates, cannabinoids, and cocaine. Other drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine can be tested, but usage of these drugs is infrequent or restricted to certain populations and routine testing is usually not warranted.
What are the common names for the drugs tested? What are the cut-off threshold concentrations for the screening tests and confirmatory tests? The Australian Standard AS details appropriate cut-offs for both the screening and confirmatory tests. How long after use are drugs likely to be detected?
The length of time for which a drug will remain detectable in urine depends on the rate of drug excretion in the individual, the quantity and frequency of drug use and the sensitivity and cut-off levels of the testing procedure. The table below gives some average detection times for common drugs of abuse. Heavy smoker daily 10 days.
Chronic smoker daily for months 20 days or more. What contributes a presumptive positive result on the screening test? A presumptive positive result occurs when the sample contains drug at or above the recommended cut-off threshold.
Samples that contain no drug or drug at concentrations below this threshold are reported as negative. All presumptive positive must be confirmed by a different analytical technique such as GCMS. What method is used in the confirmation test? Mass spectrometry MS is the only method recommended by the Australian Standard for drugs of abuse testing in the workplace. These methods are based on the separation of drugs on a chromatographic column followed by detection by molecular fragmentation.
Mass spectrometry identification has been tested many times in courts of law. For a positive result to be confirmed, the drug must not only be identified by its finger print pattern but its concentration in the sample must be above the cut-off threshold recommended by the Australian Standard or outlined in the company Alcohol and Other Drug Policy.
What is the turn around time for ? Screening test are available within one working day from receipt of samples at PathWest Central Laboratories, Nedlands. Confirmatory are generally available within two working days. All can be faxed if confidentiality is guaranteed. The preferred method of result transfer is PathWestDirect. The aquisition of LCMSMS technology at PathWest toxicology means that many confirmation are available within one working day of the screen test.
What happens to samples which have positive ? All samples that have a positive result are sealed and stored frozen in a locked freezer for 6 months after testing. What is the Australian Standard for drugs of abuse testing? It is deed to ensure the highest possible quality and reliability in all laboratory procedures for both the initial screen and for the confirmation test.
It recommends appropriate methods for sample collection and gives details of threshold cut-off levels for the analysis of these drugs. Importantly, it also requires that the one laboratory carry out both the initial screening test and the GCMS confirmatory test. Does the laboratory participate in quality assurance programs? The laboratory is NATA accredited and participates in two external quality assurance programs. What are the costs for drug testing?
Exact costing will depend on how many drugs are included in the screening procedure and on the of samples tested. Tests for creatinine levels and adulteration are included in this cost. Prices are negotiable with respect to testing volumes and we would be pleased to discuss rates to suit your requirements. Infrequent test requests, requests from individuals and from companies that do not have service agreements with PathWest will be subject to higher costs.
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Urine testing collections