Frequently Asked Drug Testing Questions
What are our terms and conditions?
When a drug test, alcohol test, physical, or any service is scheduled/purchased and the test registration/donor pass is issued, it is non-refundable. Tests or services may be rescheduled or a credit will be provided for future testing or services, however, testing and lab protocols have been established when the donor pass has been issued and no refunds are available. In most cases test results are available within three business days, however, laboratory confirmation testing may take longer. Hair follicle tests are available in most cases within 5 to 7 days, hair confirmation testing may take longer. Hair tests require a minimum of 2 inches of hair. 5 Panel DOT (Department Of Transportation) test requires a Federal chain of custody form which ResultsLab can provide. Any rapid result test which is non-negative will be sent to the lab for confirmation and MRO review. Corporate invoicing accounts are available upon approval, Contact ResultsLab for more information. Methaqualone is available for lab-based testing only Quest & Labcorp Collection Site.
What is a drug test?
A drug test is a process utilized to determine the presence or absence of specific drugs or their metabolites in a person's body.
How can a drug test be administered or performed?
A drug test can be performed by the collection of a urine specimen, the collection of a hair specimen, the collection of a blood specimen, or the collection of oral fluid/saliva.
What is the detection time frame for a urine drug test?
Each drug has a different time frame for staying in the body, however, most common street drugs remain present for a period of up to three to four days and can be detected utilizing a urine analysis. Certain drugs can remain in a person's system longer depending upon the drug and frequency of use.
How long does marijuana stay in a person's system?
Marijuana (THC) generally remains in a person's system for seven to thirty days if they are a regular and frequent user. For a person who rarely uses marijuana, the time frame for detection for a urine test is three to five days on average.
Is the detection period for a blood test different than a urine test?
Yes, in some cases. As an example, amphetamines remain in the bloodstream for approximately 12 hours while a urine test may detect the presence of amphetamines for up to three days. Another example is cocaine may be detected in a person's urine for three to four days, however, cocaine may only remain in the bloodstream for one to two days. Blood and urine screens are generally considered to be equal in detection time with some exceptions.
What is the difference between a five-panel, ten panels, or twelve-panel drug test?
Panels are the term used for each specific drug that is screened for. As the number of panels increases, the specimen will be analyzed for additional drugs.
What drugs are screened for in a five-panel drug test?
Amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). Q. What drugs are screened for in a ten-panel drug test? A. Amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, MDA-Analogues, Methadone, Methaqualone, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), and propoxyphene. *(Methaqualone available for lab-based testing only)
Which panel is most commonly used?
The most common test used is a five-panel drug test, however, many employers and government agencies utilize a ten-panel test.
What type of test does the Department of Transportation (DOT) recognize and use?
The U.S. Department of Transportation only recognizes a five-panel urine drug test for all agencies regulated by DOT such as FMCSA, FAA, USCA, FRA, PHMSA, and FTA for safety-sensitive positions. DOT, 49 CFR Part 40 of the DOT drug and alcohol policy and compliance regulation requires that all persons covered in positions classified as safety-sensitive must have a pre-employment drug test with a negative result on file, be a member of a DOT-approved random pool/consortium and if the company has more than one employee in a safety-sensitive position then a written drug and alcohol policy and supervisor training is required.
Does a trucking company that has part-time truck drivers have to comply with the DOT drug testing requirements?
Yes, many times trucking companies or owner-operators who have part-time CDL drivers think that because a person does not drive on a regular basis that they don't have to have a pre-employment drug test or be part of a DOT-approved random pool/consortium. All CDL drivers who are authorized to drive must comply with the dot drug and alcohol requirements. Companies or owner-operators who fail to comply with all of the DOT drug and alcohol policy requirements of Part 40 can face fines and penalties
Does the Department of Transportation (DOT) require a special chain of custody form?
Yes, when talking about a DOT five-panel drug test a federal chain of custody form must be used by the drug testing collection facility. The DOT chain of custody form must accompany the specimen to the lab and be sent to the medical review officer (MRO).
If a company is regulated by DOT can it require a ten-panel test of all DOT safety-sensitive employees?
Yes, an employer may in addition to a DOT five-panel urine test require another type of test, but the five-panel urine test is recognized by DOT. The additional test would be for in-house policy but would have no effect or consideration by DOT and the additional non-DOT test would use a forensic chain of custody form.
What is a DOT consortium?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires in addition to a pre-employment drug test all employees in a safety-sensitive position be enrolled in a DOT-approved drug and alcohol testing consortium, also known as a random selection pool.
How often is an employee randomly selected in a DOT random pool?
A person enrolled in a DOT random selection pool may or may not be selected for a drug or alcohol random test. The selection is based on DOT selection percentages of the random pool and selections are made by a computer program. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that the DOT random pool select annually 50% of the membership for a five-panel drug test and 10% of the membership for a breath alcohol test. A member could be selected for one or both of the required tests when the pool selection occurs.
What type of alcohol test does the Department of Transportation (DOT) recognize and use?
The DOT only recognizes a breath alcohol test for confirmation testing. A person randomly selected for an alcohol test may use a DOT-approved oral fluid test, however, if the oral fluid test has a positive result, a breath alcohol test must be immediately administered. Therefore, the common practice is to only administer a breath alcohol test to (BAT) to DOT-regulated employees.
Are hair follicle drug tests more accurate than urine tests?
A hair follicle test cannot be adulterated or tampered with, and the detection window of a hair follicle test is up to 90 days. Many employers use hair follicle drug tests as do courts and probation departments. Urine tests are also very accurate and are the most common type of test used by employers and individuals.
How much hair does a person have to have on their head to take a hair follicle drug test?
One and a half to two inches in length and at least 120 hair strands. In the event a person is bald, body hair can be taken from under the arm or chest.
What is the difference in the detection time frame of a urine or hair follicle test?
If you want to know what drugs were used yesterday, select a urine test. If you want to know what drugs were used a month ago, select a hair test. The detection time frame for a urine drug test is 1-5 days depending on the type of drug used and the hair follicle drug test is up to 90 days.
What is an instant drug test?
An instant drug test is a test administered at a drug testing facility in which the specimen is tested by the technician using a dipstick or other type of immediate analysis process. Instant tests are very sensitive and should not be used for court orders or any disciplinary action against an employee. The results of an instant test in which the test is non-negative should always be sent to a SAMHSA-certified laboratory for confirmation testing. An example of the sensitivity of an instant test would be a person taking a completely legal diet pill as part of a weight loss program, but the instant test reports a positive result for amphetamines when a laboratory analysis may not do so. Any time an instant test has a positive result for any drug screen the specimen should be sent to a certified laboratory for confirmation testing and verification by a Medical Review Officer.
What are the benefits of a company/employer being a drug-free workplace?
The United States Department of Labor estimates t that alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace cost American companies over 100 billion dollars every year due to on-the-job accidents, employee turnover, employee performance, and productivity, and employer healthcare insurance costs. Employers who are in a drug-free workplace can receive many benefits including workers’ compensation premium discounts, a reduction in employee absenteeism, an increase in customer service satisfaction along with an increase in employee morale.
How does a company become a drug-free workplace?
Since 1988 when Congress based the Drug-Free Workplace Act many companies have implemented a drug-free workplace program. In addition, many States have passed drug-free workplace laws which provided a discount on worker’s compensation insurance if a business is certified as a drug-free workplace. Currently, the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Washington, Virginia, Ohio, South Carolina, Mississippi, Wyoming, Kentucky, and Tennessee provide such a discount if the business fully complies with all of the drug-free workplace requirements. Common components of a drug-free workplace include a written drug and alcohol policy, supervisor and employee education, drug testing including pre-employment, random and reasonable suspicion, substance abuse assistance resource, and various required documentation. Companies that wish to become a drug-free workplace should contact ResultsLab for more information,
What is a SAMHSA Certified Laboratory?
SAMHSA is the abbreviation utilized for laboratory certified and accredited by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the United States Government. While there are many small laboratories that conduct drug testing analysis, some are not certified and should not be used for drug testing. ResultsLab only uses SAMHSA Certified Laboratories such as Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp.
What is a Medical Review Officer?
A Medical Review Officer also commonly known as an MRO is a licensed physician who has been trained and certified in drug testing analysis and who verifies and approves a certified laboratory drug test result. A drug test result is not official until the MRO has reviewed and signed the result.
What is a DER?
Yes, ResultsLab provides specific testing for persons who have been ordered by a judge or probation officer to take a drug test. Individuals in need of reoccurring drug testing can contact ResultsLab and be entered into our Court/Probation drug testing program for recurring tests.
How is a drug test determined to be positive?
When a drug test specimen is sent to the laboratory there is an initial screening of the specimen to determine if there is the presence of any drugs. If the initial screening indicates that the test is positive then the specimen is tested a second time, this is called a confirmation test. The confirmation test is very extensive and utilizes a very thorough process to confirm the presumptive positive drug test. After the confirmation test has occurred, the result is forwarded to the Medical Review Officer (MRO). The MRO will then review the results provided by the laboratory and then determine if the positive result may have been caused by a legally prescribed medication. The Medical Review Officer will then attempt to contact the donor and discuss the cause of the positive drug test. If the donor can provide the MRO with a prescription, then the MRO may base on the information provided reverse the positive result to a negative result. Once the test has been confirmed by the laboratory and verified by the Medical Review Officer the MRO will report and sign the result.
What Can I Expect During the Test?
Urine tests are usually conducted at a facility with a single-stall bathroom with a door. The person taking the test will urinate into a cup provided by the lab technician. In rare cases, a technician may be required to monitor the person providing the sample. Some additional precautions are taken to ensure the urine sample isn’t tampered with by the individual being tested, such as turning off the tap water, putting blue dye in the toilet bowl, or taking the temperature of the urine immediately after testing.