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Reliability of Opiate Screening Lab Techniques

One of the most important items to consider when discussing drug testing laboratory equipment and techniques of testing inside and outside a medical facility is the reliability of the test. After all, if the test being administered by parent, sports coach or professional medical technician is known to be unreliable, yet less expensive than other comparable opiate screening lab products, what use is the time taken to even do the testing in the first place?

Least Accurate Drug Tests

Let’s start this part of the discussion with the five most familiar and relatively least expensive types of opiate screening lab  tests. These are as follows from least test result reliability to a higher degree of accuracy but still resulting in false negatives or positives due to environmental factors:

  • Sweat Test
  • Hair Strands Test
  • Urine Test

Sweat testing is the newest technique available to concerned parents, school coaches, teachers, and employers. Unlike all comparable drug testing procedures, the sweat test takes a longer period of time to collect the biological substance to be tested, in this instance, body sweat, through a sterile patch attached to the skin. Since the skin is easy to unintentionally contaminate, especially under a patch that has been exposed to environmental pollutants over an extended amount of time, the sweat test is the least accurate of the five drug testing techniques.

The hair strand testing technique is available to those who wish to test an individual’s possible drug use over a longer period of time, as far back as a few months before testing. Up to 70 strands of one and a half inches of hair, cut less than an inch away from the same area of the suspected individual’s scalp is what is needed for a better chance of obtaining an accurate result. Some testing experts point out the possibility of false positive results from previous hair exposure to drug laced environments.

Because urine testing is one of the oldest types of opiate screening lab techniques available, it is also the most easy to beat by the suspected drug user with the collection process being most prone to error. Urine tests are the most common drug testing techniques available, and therefore, the least expensive.

Most Accurate, Yet More Expensive Drug Tests

The saliva drug testing technique is less common, yet more accurate than urine, sweat and hair drug tests. The only negative drawback to this particular drug test is the fact that it is only good for detecting recent drug use and is not good for accumulative drug testing such as the less accurate hair strand testing technique.

By far the most accurate and reliable drug testing types is via the extraction of the blood. It is also the most invasive to the suspected drug user as well as the most expensive to implement. Drugs last longer in the blood and are more easily detected.

 

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