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What Does Drug Screening Consist Of?

Drug screening entails the process by which potential drugs are identified and optimized. The main goal of drug screening is to detect the presence of chemicals or remnants of contaminants present in the body due to the usage of drugs. Drug screening is done through an analysis of urine, hair, blood or even saliva in order to determine or detect the presence of any chemicals in the body. This article explains various types of drug screens conducted.

  • Urine Drug Screen

Urine drug screen is painless and it analyzes urine to detect the presence of any banned and illegal drugs. This could include drugs such as opioids, cocaine, marijuana, methadone, methamphetamine among others. There are two types of urine drugs screens namely immunoassay and gas chromatography or mass spectrometry. Immunoassay is faster and relatively cheap. However, it is not conclusive, as it does not detect all opioids. It may also come up with false positives although there has been no dug usage whatsoever. On the other hand, gas chromatography is quite expensive and it entails a long duration awaiting test results. It is however very accurate.

Urine drug screen is often conducted in a bathroom well prepared and designed for drug screening. A thorough inspection is conducted prior to entering the bathroom to ensure one does not enter the bathroom with any belongings. You have to empty all pockets as well.

You will receive the specimen cup and a similar gendered technician may accompany you into the restroom. The person is there to explain to you all the reasons for the drug screen and he/she ensures you follow all required procedures. After cleaning your genitalia, you should proceed to urinate in the cup and ensure you have produced enough urine – around 45 milliliters – for the testing. Some urine drug screen cups allow for an Instant result while others have to be sent to the laboratory for analysis.

  • Blood Drug Screen

Blood drug screening has a great contrast to urine screening, as it produces much more rapid results. It is quite invasive because it requires venipuncture in order to obtain the blood samples. It is relatively expensive, but very accurate, as it can detect the exact amount of illegal substances or chemicals present in your system. Despite all these advantages, it is not popular and is mostly conducted in emergencies.

Blood drug screening entails the need to obtain a blood sample and the use of highly trained phlebotomists. It detects substances that might have been used 2 to 12 hours prior to the test. Therefore, blood drug screens do not detect any residues that might still be present in the body long after the effects of the drugs have worn off.

  • Saliva Drug Screen

Saliva drug screen is less invasive compared to blood screening. It only consists of a quick swab of the mouth. The swab is placed proximate and next to the lower gum. It is then left there for a few minutes before being delicately placed in a vial for immediate transportation to the laboratory.

Saliva drug screen is quicker than a urine drug screen test. There is less invasion of privacy and the oral samples are rarely tampered with. Most importantly, the use of mouthwash and other breath sprays that might contain alcohol do not affect the oral saliva screen as long as they are employed within 30 minutes of the collection of the sample.

  • Hair Testing

Hair testing is very expensive and thus, it is not a popular method of drug screening. However, it is quite effective, as it can help detect a substance months or even years later after usage. This is because the metabolites remain present in the core of the hair as it continues to grow.

Hair testing entails cutting the hair commencing from the back of the head using a pair of scissors. The hair is cut as close to the scalp as possible. This helps to detect the most recent drug use. In case one has shaved their head, a sample can be collected from the armpits or any other unshaved part of the body including the face as long as an ample length of hair can be obtained.

Drug screening is all about identifying the presence of drugs in an individual’s body. Drug screening tests can be used by doctors during emergency situations, rehabilitation centers, employers, and sporting events. As seen in this article, drug screening can be conducted in a variety of ways. You can thus choose the method that works best for you. However, it is clear that urine screening is the most popular as it is minimally invasive and relatively cheap.

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