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Frequently Asked Questions


Is drug testing really accurate?
Yes, when it is done properly. Our laboratory takes a thorough, multi-step process to ensure reliable results.
  1. When the specimen is received in to the lab, it is checked to ensure that the Chain of Custody form has been properly and completely filled out, that the specimen bottle(s) have been sealed and that there is no evidence of tampering with the seal, that the initials of the donor and the specimen id number on the specimen bottle(s) matches the name and the number on the chain of custody form, and that there is an adequate amount for testing.
  2. The specimen goes through the first screening process of the testing, which tests for the detection of specific substances at specific screening levels, and for a variety of quality control checks to rule out possible adulterants or interfering substances.
 

3. If the specimen tests positive for a specific substance in the screening process, it then goes on for further testing for confirmation by a highly accurate and sensitive method known as GC/MS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy). From a scientific standpoint, the accuracy of the first screening is approximately 98%, with the accuracy of the Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy confirmatory test being virtually 100%. We do not report a positive result out as a true positive unless it has been confirmed by Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy.

 

I've heard conflicting stories about whether secondhand marijuana smoke can show up in a drug screen or not. What's the truth?

Truth is, it's possible. In our testing experience, secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke can enter a person's system, regardless of whether they put the joint to their lips or not. In most tests, true secondhand exposure shows up in the high teens or low twenties (ng/ml) and leaves the system much more quickly than if the person actually smoked it themselves. 50 ng/ml is the cutoff level for marijuana in a DOT drug screen, with 20 ng/ml being the cutoff level for most Non-DOT screens. It is not the responsibility of the employer or the testing lab to determine how the substance got into a person's system, only if it is there. If it is detectable in a drug screen, then that person was under its influence whether they meant to be or not. So, what's the best way to handle this tricky situation? Someone who values their job should not put themselves in a compromising situation were they are being exposed to a substance that may jeopardize that job. In this case, it's "guilty by association".

 

Isn't there stuff that can be used to "beat" a drug screen?

Yes, but the chances of "beating" a drug screen are slim, and getting slimmer. Our laboratory knows that there are smart people out there who use their intelligence and knowledge in the wrong direction, all in an effort to make money off of drug users trying to pass a drug screen that they know they would fail otherwise. Our lab has a research department that scouts for these products, purchases them, and then tests them in the lab in a controlled situation so that they know if it works, how it works, and how it can be detected in testing. Each specimen is tested for a full range of these substances and conditions, what we call possible adulterants. If any of these substances are detected, or any condition of the specimen is not considered in the normal range for human urine, the specimen is reported as "Unacceptable - Possible Adulteration". Other attempts at "beating" a drug screen are caught at the time of collection. All of our certified collectors pay close attention to the things that can tip them off to possible substitutions or additives. Between our collection and testing process, it would be a rare occurrence for someone to successfully "beat" our drug screen.

 

Is it true that someone could test positive if they ate something with poppy seeds in it?

Poppy seeds could be detected under the Opiate category of substances that are tested for in a drug screen. The cutoff level for Opiates is set at 2000 ng/ml for DOT testing and for the largest majority of Non-DOT testing. In order for a person to test positive at greater than that cutoff level, they would have to consume approximately 4 POUNDS of poppy seeds! (Not the average amount in any cake, muffin or bun that we have ever seen!)

 

If I have a couple of beers at home on Sunday night, would it show up in an alcohol test on Monday morning?
If it were really only a couple of beers that you had, No, it would not show up in a test on Monday morning. For an approximate rule of thumb, figure that it takes your system about 10 hours to metabolize one 12 ounce beer or 1 ounce of 80 proof liquor. There are, however, other things that cause the time to differ somewhat, such as whether you are male or female, your body weight, the concentration (strength) of the alcohol consumed, the length of the period of time that it was consumed in, and what else was in the system at the time of consumption. All of these factors play a part in how efficiently your body metabolizes alcohol. Since the liver can only metabolize a small amount at a time, drinking more than what it can handle will cause the metabolic time to slow down, which in turn causes intoxication and impairment. It is important to remember that since all of your body systems are affected by alcohol, you will actually "be under the influence" of the debilitating side effects of alcohol longer than you actually "feel" its direct effects.