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Drug testing is an evaluation of a urine, blood or other type of sample to determine if the person has been using any drugs. Urine testing for monitoring drug use may be requested by a physician, an employer, a professional or college athletic team, after a vehicle or on-the-job accident, or a similar situation.

It is important that the test be done by a certified urine testing lab so that it can be relied upon to be accurate, be diagnostically meaningful, and have fast results submitted through a secure website that is HIPPA-compliant.

Urine drug testing (UDT) is used widely for testing for illicit drugs and opioids. The two types of UDT are a screening test and a confirmatory test. The screening test looks for the parent drug and/or metabolite. The confirmatory test is highly specific and is typically used when testing for the presence of a specific drug is needed.

Most workplace drug screening tests call for urine samples. Some employers request a standard five-panel test of “street drugs”, but some are more specific and may request a nine or ten panel set. Such testing normally involves notifying the applicant to keep an appointment at a specific lab within as short a time as within 24 hours, which lessens the chance that any possible drugs could be excreted and thus be undetectable.

During the evaluation, very strict chain-of-custody standards, procedures and practices must be followed to prevent adulteration of the urine sample. Documentation of each person who handles the specimen is required.

How long can drugs can be detected in the urine? That depends on quite a few variables, and each circumstance and each person is different, so the safest thing is for a person to not use any drugs.

Do prescriptive medications interfere? There are some that contain the same drugs that are commonly found “on the street”, and there is no easy way to distinguish between the two forms. However, there are no prescriptions for cocaine or PCP or some others, and their use, if needed, would be documented in the person’s medical file.

Other prescribed opiates could sometimes cause a positive screen, but can be sorted out in a confirmation test. Some prescription diet pills, a drug for Parkinson’s, amphetamines for ADHD, and such can be identified with the confirmation test. In a properly certified lab, there is a very low chance for false positives or negatives.

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