- Blood Drug Test
- Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Hair Follicle Drug Test
- Military/Department of Defense (DOD)
- Saliva Drug Test
- Urine-Same Day-Drug Test
Saliva blood tests operate by checking for tiny residual amounts of drugs within the saliva. The person being tested wets the test strip with their saliva, and the test shows results using colored bands. Saliva tests check for the presence of opiates, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine drugs. Any trace of one of these drugs will cause the band corresponding to that drug to change color. A drug-free result would show no color at all.
Pass any Saliva Drug test, Oral Fluid Drug test or Swab Drug test for THC, COC, OPI, MET or BZD! Saliva testing is generally a short-term procedure. It is commonly used for detecting the presence of Nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, meth and cocaine in the chemicals in your mouth.
Having a blood test to determine drug use is not very common, but it is very costly. This test is usually reserved for insurance policies, or if a person is seeking employment where safety issues are mandatory.
To administer a blood test, a sample is taken and sent to a lab to test for drug use.
Blood tests, unlike urinalysis, detect the presence of illicit drugs, not inactive drug metabolites. In general, THC only remains detectable in the blood of cannabis consumers for a few hours (though low, residual levels may be detected in chronic smokers for up to 12-24+ hours if more sensitive technology is used). Because of this narrow detection window, blood tests are typically only administered in the workplace post-accident in order to estimate recent cannabis consumption. Therefore, most after-hours consumers have little to fear from a blood screen.
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Since hair growth is fed by the bloodstream, the ingestion of drugs of abuse is revealed by analyzing a small sample of hair. Testing method measures the drug molecules embedded inside the hair shaft, eliminating external contamination as a source of a positive test result.
It is becoming increasingly common for employers and the courts to ask for a Hair Drug Test. Testing for illegal substances in hair gives you a greater time frame of detection than urine, blood and saliva. In fact, you can often detect drugs in hair for several months – if not years, if the hair is long enough. Normally 90 days is all that is requested. However, some States require 120 days.
The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 requires drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees in aviation, trucking, railroads, mass transit, pipelines, and other transportation industries. DOT publishes rules on who must conduct drug and alcohol tests, how to conduct those tests, and what procedures to use when testing. These regulations cover all transportation employers, safety-sensitive transportation employees, and service agents – roughly 10 million people. Encompassed in 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 40, the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance (ODAPC) publishes, implements, and provides authoritative interpretations of these rules.
DOD labs test 60,000 urine samples each month. All active duty members must undergo a urinalysis at least once per year. Members of the Guard and Reserves must be tested at least once every two years. There are several protections built-in to the system to ensure accurate results.
First, individuals initial the label on their own bottles. The bottles are boxed into batches, and the test administrator begins a chain-of-custody document for each batch.
This is a legal document Everybody who has had something to do with that sample signs it – whether it be the observer who watched the person collect the sample, the person who puts it into the box or the person who takes it out of the box. There is always a written record of who those individuals are.
The chain-of-custody requirement continues in the lab as well. People who come in contact with each sample and what exactly they do to the sample are written on the document.
After arrival at the lab, samples then undergo an initial immunoassay screening (using the Olympus AU-800 Automated Chemistry Analyzer). Those that test positive for the presence of drugs at this point undergo the same screen once again. Finally, those that come up positive during two screening tests are put through a much more specific gas chromatography/mass spectrometry test. This test can identify specific substances within the urine samples.
Even if a particular drug is detected, if the level is below a certain threshold, the test result is reported back to the commander as negative.
DoD labs are equipped to test for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD, opiates (including morphine and heroin), barbiturates and PCP. But not all samples are tested for all of these drugs.
Every sample gets tested for marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines, including ecstasy. Tests for other drugs are done at random on different schedules for each lab. Some laboratories do test every sample for every drug.
Commanders can request samples be tested for steroids. In this case, the samples are sent to the Olympic testing laboratory at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Commonly available substances such as golden seal and lasix are often touted as magical substances that can mask drugs in urine. In fact, they can make it easier to get caught. These substances are diuretics, so if they’re taken before giving a urine sample they flush chemicals out of the body – right into the collection cup. Drugs are often more concentrated in the urine after a service member takes one of these substances.
And other “sure-fire” solutions are even worse for you. Some people drink vinegar. There are stories of some people drinking bleach. None of these will defeat the urinalysis test.
Over- the-counter cold medications and dietary supplements might cause a screening test to come up positive, but that the more specific secondary testing would positively identify the medication. In this case, the report that goes back to the commander says negative.
The drug testing lab first performs a preliminary screening test on all samples using an Olympus AU-800 Automated Chemistry Analyzer. All negative specimens are discarded after this round. Any urine sample that shows a positive indication of drug use is retested using the same equipment. If that sample also provides a positive result, the lab uses gas chromatography to identify the specific drug in the urine sample. The lab reports a positive result only if all three samples test positive.
What does all that mean? Basically, there’s little chance they’re going to make a mistake.
Contrary to popular belief, the military does not routinely test for steroids. Why? It’s too expensive. Commanders may only order steroid tests under special circumstances and must obtain prior permission. Samples requiring steroid testing bypass the normal military testing system and get shipped to the sports testing lab at UCLA for analysis.
Drug Detection Windows
|THC (Marijuana)||1-3 Weeks*|
|Steroids||3 Days or Longer**|
* Longer than 3 weeks is indicative of chronic or heavy use.
** Length of detection determined by type and duration of use.
Information Courtesy of Department of Defense, the United States Navy, and the Manual for Courts-Martial
You won’t get booted out of the military because you walked past someone in the dorm smoking a joint. The military testing labs use thresholds to rule out accidental exposure and testing errors. The standards used by the military are:
DOD Urinalysis (Drug Test) Cutoff Levels)
|Drug||Screening Level (Nanograms per milliliter)||Confirmation Level (Nanograms per milliliter)|
|THC (Marijuana)||50 NG/ML||15 NG/ML|
|Cocaine||150 NG/ML||100 NG/ML|
|Morphine||2000 NG/ML||4000 NG/ML|
|Codeine||2000 NG/ML||2000 NG/ML|
|Heroin (6 MAM)||300 NG/ML||10 NG/NL|
|Amphetamines||500 NG/ML||500 NG/ML|
|Methamphetamine||500 NG/ML||500 NG/ML|
|MDA/MDMA (Ecstasy)||500 NG/ML||500 NG/ML|
|Barbiturates (Amobarbital, butalbital, Pentobarbital, Secobarbital)||200 NG/ML||200 NG/ML|
|PCP||25 NG/ML||25 NG/ML|
|LSD||.5 NG/ML||0.2 NG/ML|
- Random Testing. By regulation, each military member must be tested at least once per year. Reserve members must be tested at least once every two years. This is done by means of “random testing.” Basically, a commander can order that either all or a random-selected sample of his/her unit be tested, at any time. Results of random testing can be used in court-martials (Under Article 1128a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), article 15s (nonjudicial punishment), and involuntary discharges. This includes using the results to determine service characterization (honorable, general, or other-than-honorable). Members do not have the right to refuse random testing. However, commanders cannot order specific individuals to take a “random” test. Those selected must be truly “random.”
- Medical Testing. This is testing which is accomplished in compliance with any medical requirements. Urinalysis tests given to new recruits falls under this category. As with Random Testing, results can be used in court-martials, article 15s, and involuntary discharges, to include service characterization. Members do not have a right to refuse medical testing in the military.
- Probable Cause. If a commander has probable cause that a person is under the influence of drugs, the commander can request a search authorization from the Installation Commander, who is authorized to issue “military search warrants” after consultation with the JAG. Again, results of urinalysis tests obtained through search authorizations can be used in court-martials, article 15s, and involuntary discharges, including service characterization. Members cannot refuse to provide a urine sample which has been authorized by a military search warrant.
- Consent. If a commander does not have probable cause, the commander can ask the member for “consent to search.” If the member grants consent, the results of the urinalysis may be used in court-martials, article 15s, and involuntary discharges to include service characterization. Under this procedure, members do not have to grant consent.
- Commander Directed. If a member refuses to grant consent, and if the commander does not have enough evidence to warrant a probable-cause search warrant, the commander may order the member to give a urine sample anyway. However, commander-directed urinalysis results may not be used for court-martial or article 15 purposes. The results MAY be used as a reason for involuntary discharge, but MAY NOT be used to determine service characterization. In other words, the member can be discharged, but what kind of discharge he/she receives (honorable, general, other-than-honorable) depends upon his/her military record (WITHOUT using the urinalysis results).
The military uses urinalysis drug testing to ensure that soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen aren’t under the influence of illegal drugs. There’s quite a bit of mystery surrounding the drug testing process. In this article, we take a look at seven secrets of military drug tests.
If a transportation employee fails a random drug test (either by refusing to test, testing positive or adulterating a specimen), the worker is banned from safety-sensitive duties until she has seen a substance abuse professional and completed a “return to duty” process, which includes another drug test. DOT regulations do not address whether the employee who fails a random drug test will be terminated or subject to any other employer actions; these decisions are left to the employer’s discretion.
The Federal Regulations Code specifies rules for collecting drug test specimens from DOT employees. Employees selected for random drug testing must submit urine specimens at a specified collection site. Tests are conducted by a certified collector. The test administrator must begin the collection process soon after the employee enters the collection site.
Before submitting a urine specimen, the employee must present employer-issued photo identification, remove all outer clothing and empty his pockets so that the collector can verify that the employee is not concealing any items or substances that could be used to tamper with the specimen.
The percentage of safety-sensitive transportation employees randomly drug-tested every year varies depending on the DOT agency. In 2010, minimum random drug testing rates are: Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, 25 percent of employees; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and U.S. Coast Guard, 50 percent.
Section 391.41(b)(12) states: A person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person does not use a controlled substance identified in 21 CFR 1308.11, Schedule I, an amphetamine, a narcotic, or any other habit-forming drug.
Exception: A driver may use such a substance or drug, if the substance or drug is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner who is familiar with the driver’s medical history and assigned duties; and has advised the driver that the prescribed substance or drug will not adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a CMV. This exception does not apply to methadone.
Medical Examiners are required to give careful consideration to the effects of medications on a driver’s ability to operate a CMV safely before rendering the driver qualified.
The Department’s regulations are silent on who is responsible for paying for the testing or SAP recommended treatment/education. Payment may be based an understanding between the employer and employee, including applicants for safety-sensitive positions.
An employer may not, however, refrain from sending a “split specimen” for testing because the employee does not pay for the test in advance.
When you test positive or refuse a test, you are not permitted to perform safety-sensitive duties until you have seen a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) and successfully completed the return-to-duty process, which includes a Federal return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol test. Working in a safety-sensitive position before successfully completing the return-to-duty process is a violation of the regulations
The DOT regulations do not address hiring, termination, or other employment actions. These decisions are solely the employer’s, which may be based on company policy and/or any collective bargaining agreements.
• the agency’s prohibitions on drug and alcohol use,
• who is subject to the regulations,
• what testing is authorized,
• when testing is authorized, and
• the consequences of non-compliance.
The DOT Agencies and the USCG incorporate Part 40 into their regulations and enforce compliance of all their respective regulations.
49 CFR Part 40 (commonly referred to as “Part 40”) states:
• how drug and alcohol testing is conducted,
• who is authorized to participate in the drug and alcohol testing program, and
• what employees must do before they may return-to-duty following a drug and/or alcohol violation.
Generally, DOT regulations cover safety-sensitive transportation employers and employees. Each DOT agency (e.g. FRA, FMCSA, FTA, FAA, and PHMSA) and the USCG have specific drug and alcohol testing regulations that outline who is subject to their testing regulations.
A DOT test is the abbreviation for a Department of Transportation. This means the testing guidelines have been regulated by the DOT, and if the guidelines are not followed the results are considered invalid. Not all tests are DOT regulated, but most are. To make the testing process easier companies follow the DOT guidelines to minimize mistakes.
The first test for the DOT is a five panel EMIT. The cut off for marijuana on the screen is 50 ng/ml, which is a composite of all 31 metabolite concentrations. If the sample is below this level the test is over as a passing status. If the sample is over 50 ng/ml the sample is sent on to a GC/MS for confirmation. The cutoff for the confirmation is lower at 15 ng/ml because the machine only identifies one of the 31 metabolites which is the 11-nor-D-9-tetrahyrocanibinolic acid. To pass, the one metabolite must be below the 15-ng/ml cutoff. Urine LuckTM works best on DOT tests which utilize a GC/. The chart below summarizes five drugs of abuse found on the screen.
Drug # of Metabolites EMIT cut off GC/MS cut off
Marijuana 31 50 ng/ml 15 ng/ml
Cocaine 4 300 ng/ml 150 ng/ml
Opiates 3 2000 ng/ml 2000 ng/ml
Phencyclidine 1 25 ng/ml 25ng/ml
Amphetamines 5 1000 ng/ml 500 ng/ml
DOT tests are the hardest test to pass if the donor does not use a detoxifying product. However, if a detoxifying product is used, the DOT is the easiest test pass. Each type of detoxifying product works via a unique mechanism on drug tests. Refer to the product sections of this report for the mechanism information and explanation.
Drug and alcohol compliance programs for the Department of Transportation (D.O.T), DOT Supervisor Training, and Workers’ Drug Education Programs for DOT regulated companies. Department of Transportation (DOT) and The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations call for Pre-employment testing, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and return-to duty testing. A driver must have a negative drug test result before they can be DOT qualified. The DOT test panel includes testing for the following drugs.
• Delta-9-Carboxy THC (Marijuana)
Urine for Illegal Drugs, 5 Panel.
The Breathalyzer for Alcohol Test.
Blood tests are a better detector of recent use, since they measure the actual presence of THC in the system. Because they are invasive and difficult to administer, blood tests are used less frequently. They are typically used in investigations of accidents, injuries and DUIs, where they can give a useful indication of whether the subject was actually under the influence.
Urine Test to perform a drug test on someone’s urine, a sample has to be collected in an examination cup, (often in a controlled environment). For immediate results, the test is performed with a test card. If the test calls for most sophisticated results, the urine is sent out to a testing facility and the results are given after a week or two.
The urine test is very reliable and is performed at most federally mandated facilities that require drug testing.
Hair tests are the most objectionable form of drug testing, since they do not measure current use, but rather non-psychoactive residues that remain in the hair for months afterwards. These residues are absorbed internally and do not appear in the hair until 7-10 days after first use. Afterwards, they cannot be washed out by shampoos (though shampoos may help remove external smoke particles that get stuck in the hair). Hair tests are more likely to detect regular than occasional marijuana use. One study found that 85% of daily users tested positive for marijuana, versus 52% of occasional smokers (1-5 times per week). Ingested cannabis was less likely to be detected than smoked marijuana. It is doubtful whether hair tests are sensitive to one-time use of marijuana.
Saliva testing is a newer, less proven technology. The sensitivity of saliva tests is not well established in the case of marijuana. In theory, they are supposed to detect recent use, but this may range from several hours to over a day. They are supposed to detect secretions from inside the oral tissues that cannot be washed out with mouthwash. Because they are less intrusive than blood or urine tests, the industry has been eager to develop saliva tests. Due to reliability problems, they have yet to gain acceptance in the U.S., but they have come into use in some other countries, such as Australia.
Nanograms (ng) per milliliter (ml)
|Marijuana (THC)||11-nor-∆-THC–9 COOH||
> 0.02 BAC
Saliva is a refined version of plasma, that has the capability to contain trace amounts of drugs and their ensuing metabolites for a period of 24-36 hours. This forms the basis of saliva drug test. It is also known as oral fluid drug test.
The saliva drug test kits comes in many forms and shapes. The general way of using such a kit is to place it in the mouth of the individual being tested. The kit draws the saliva through a membrane. The membrane allows saliva to wet the strips containing media of antigen dyes. The antigen dyes act as an indicator. Formation of color on the strip suggests a positive result. There is a particular color for each drug in question.
Saliva drug test can detect the following drugs. The detection time for each drug is given against them:
Alcohol – from time of intake to 12 hours.
PCP – from a few minutes after ingestion to the next three days.
Methamphetamine and ecstasy – half an hour from ingestion up to 3 days.
Amphetamines – a few minutes to 3 days of consumption.
Barbiturates – less than an hour after ingestion up to 3 days.
Opiates – from an hour after intake to 3 days.
Cocaine – a few minutes after ingestion up to one day.
Benzodiazepines – not yet known
Cannabis – a few minutes after ingestion up to one day.
Saliva tests are used primarily for employment drug screenings. Federal mandates require screening for each of the drugs detected by the saliva testing prior to employment. The convenience and quick results make saliva testing an attractive choice for employers.
Saliva tests can be performed in any location and do not require a professional nurse or lab technician to conduct the test or read the results. In addition, the results appear very quickly and can be read within five minutes. They are a low-cost, and non-invasive alternative to sending potential employees to a lab for drug testing and also are virtually impossible to trick.
Traces of the drugs will only show in the saliva for 10 to 24 hrs after use. For this reason, a long-term drug user who stays clean for a few days before testing will appear to be completely drug free. In addition, while it is very difficult to trick a saliva test, it is possible to mask the traces of drugs by smoking cigarettes or eating certain foods.
Hair follicle testing shows the history of a person’s drug use, but the testing is not virtually instantaneous as with the saliva testing. Urine testing is more easily faked than a saliva test, but traces of drugs show in a urine test for a longer period of time than in a saliva test. Blood tests are extremely accurate and extremely difficult to fake, but are invasive and test results are slow.
The FDA sets minimum standards for drug tests used in a workplace setting, requiring that they be performed with screening tests that have been approved, cleared, or otherwise recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as “accurate and reliable”.
Under SAMHSA/NIDA’s current guidelines for federally-mandated testing, urine is the only specimen included for testing certain government employees and that segment of private sector testing that falls under the Department of Transportation or other agency guidelines.
In a November 2008 press release, SAMHSA states that HHS will continue to pursue substance abuse testing using alternative matrices, including hair specimens, and anticipates issuing further revisions to the Mandatory Guidelines addressing the use of hair specimens.