Health Drugs

Drug Screen Tests

Published at 07/11/2011 19:36:50

 Drug screening is a practice that is rather commonplace in the workplace. It allows employers to keep track of the health and well-being of their employees. If workers' drug screens positively identify the presence of drugs, workers can face personal and professional dilemmas. It is advisable to utilize drug screening in all levels of society to identify drug users and help them to get treatment.

Drug screen tests are designed to determine whether or not a human subject has been taking illegal substances or performance-enhancing drugs known as steroids. In these tests, specimens are taken from subjects in a variety of forms. For example, samples of blood, hair, urine, sweat, and even saliva are taken in order to measure the amount of the toxin in the subject’s body. Many employers utilize these drug screen tests on job applicants to determine if workers are reliable and drug-free. Drug screening offices, like LabCorp, take care that their tests are both valid and accurate by watching detection periods in which the samples are most reliable. The class of drug, subject’s age, and health are major factors that affect the reliability of detection.

The most common type of drug screen test involves the collection of a subject’s urine. This sample or specimen is then analyzed for its chemical composition using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In this manner, the urine sample is screened for all kinds of drugs and the subject is informed of the results. If an employer requests a medical review, the specimen is sent to a medical review office (MRO). Often subjects must tell doctors if they are taking prescription drugs that might affect a drug screening. In these cases, false positives can occur, but are ignored by the MRO.

Nowadays, drug screening can take place on-site by an employer rather than at a lab or office. These on-site drug screen test kits come in small and easily handled packages. Employers seeking to use these kits point out their cost-effectiveness for on-site drug screening of potential employees. There are three main types of on-site urine tests: the dipstick, the cassette, and the cup. The dipstick is a padded test strip that can measure the presence of drugs in urine samples due to a process called lateral flow. The cassette is a test strip that has been inserted in a plastic housing and multiple drugs can be detected at the same time during testing. The cup is, by far, the most economical screening device due to its simplistic design and hands-free operation.

There are three fundamental kinds of drug screen tests, and they are as follows: anabolic steroids, random drug testing, and diagnostic screening. Because high-performance athletics bans the use of steroids in athletes who compete in major events, the use of drug screens to detect anabolic steroid usage is all too common in sports. Random drug testing occurs in schools, prisons, corporations, fire departments, military bases, drug rehabilitation centers, and other establishments where drug use is prohibited. Diagnostic screening is technique in which subjects are tested because of life-threatening symptoms. In these  cases, a combination of a blood test and a urine test is performed so that physicians can diagnose subjects’ maladies.

Tips and comments:

Drug screen tests are helpful for the employer and the worker. Without screening for drugs, people who use drugs would be free to enter work sites while under the influence of mind-altering substances. Not only could they endanger their own lives, but drug users could also put other people at risk of bodily harm.