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What You Should Know About Urine Drug Testing

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Understand the uses, purpose, and types of urine drug tests, and make sure you are taking them for the right reasons.

What Are Urine Tests, and Why Are They Important?

Ever wondered why before entering any job, you are legally required to perform a urine test or more commonly known as a Urine Drug Screening (UDS)? This is because a urine examination is the easiest and least painful way of testing whether you have consumed any illegal drugs or non-prescribed medicine.

It is a requirement for every office or service that is hiring employees to do a drug test so that the person is proven fit for the job. So if you are confused about whether or not you will ever be subject to taking a urine test, then just keep on reading as we acknowledge the types and uses of urine tests.

For this test, you will have to give a biological sample of your urine to govern if a particular substance is present in the sample or not. This is usually done in the case of college students, athletes, pre-employment, post-accidental, random work-related, and many other such purposes.

The Different Types of Urine Tests

Urine tests are usually used to search for the presence of substances that can be potentially dangerous, like narcotics, methadone, PCP, amphetamine, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, marijuana, and cocaine.

If you want to ever conduct a test of your own, you can just buy a urine drug testing kit that comes with a manual of instructions. These strips are easy to use and give quick results.



There are two types of urine tests that one should know about. Initially, an immunoassay is first performed, and if the results turn out to be positive, you will be subjected to a second test, which is more of a confirmatory test known as chromatography or mass spectrometry.


The Immunoassay Test

The immunoassay test is a cost-effective test that can give quick results. The principle of this test is to use antibodies to detect the presence of a substance or drug in the urine. If the test comes back as positive, you have to then proceed to the confirmatory test.

A problem with immunoassay is that it cannot detect the presence of narcotics in the urine. There is a possibility of a false-positive result, in which the presence of a particle will be detected when this particular drug or substance was actually not being used.

Chromatography or Mass Spectrometry

This test is more analytic. A mixture is separated into its discrete components, and there are then individually examined and analyzed. This test is more expensive and time-consuming than the immunoassay test. However, an advantage of this test is that you will seldom get any false-positive results.

Urine Drug Screening is Completely Legal

A question that frequently befalls everyone is that wouldn’t doing a urine test of employees be an invasion of their privacy? Even though this test does intrude on the privacy of an employee, to maintain workplace fairness, most state and federal laws have upheld the legality of urine drug testing.

Many states have even issued a law where on the basis of a drug test, they can determine whether an employee should be hired or fired, and even though a person has the full right to refuse to do a drug test, this may bring heavy consequences, such as loss of a job or even being put under suspicion.


How to Perform This Test?

There are a series of steps that you will need to follow in order to perform a proper urine drug screening. Before you take the test, it is a good idea to inform about any medications or probiotics that you have been taking which are prescribed (with proper proof) to avoid any misunderstanding.

To perform this test, you will first be given a specimen cup that you need to fill with your urine. You will have to leave all your personal belongings in a separate room before beginning the process. In many special cases, the tests are done under supervision. If so, always ask for the reason.

Make sure that the genital area is clean before you take your biological sample in the cup. You must fill the cup with 45 milliliters of the sample. Once you are done, just put a lid on it and give it to the expert. The temperature of your sample will be taken immediately to make sure that it is within the expected range. Do not move your eyes away from the sample until it is completely packed and sealed for the labs.

Interpretation of the Results

The immunoassay test does not really detect the specific substance as an individual component and rather helps identify how it interacts with the body (through antibody-antigen binding). The positive and negative results are detected using cutoff values, which are expressed in nanograms per milliliter.

If your result is above the cutoff value, then it is said to be a positive result (which means the substance is present). A result below the cutoff value is considered negative (which states that the substance is absent). The more instantaneous tests are done using a strip that changes color to detect the presence or absence of a drug.

In case of a positive result, where you know you are not at fault, and you have not consumed that illegal drug, always asks for a follow-up chromatography or mass spectrometry. This will ensure whether or not the drug is actually present and may save you from false accusations. A big advantage of urine tests is that even after the effect of the drug has worn off, this test will still detect its presence.

Doctors Use this Test to Determine Drug Abuse

Many doctors would use a urine test to identify substance abuse in their patients. Not only that, but doctors can also ask for a urine test when they suspect that there might be something wrong with your kidneys. It is said that the conditions of a person’s urine are a direct indication of their health.

The test that is used to screen for disease is known as urinalysis, and this is heavily influenced by your lifestyles, such as diet, exercise, medications, dehydration, and many other such factors. It is recommended by any doctors to do a periodical urinalysis just to make sure that your health condition is fine.

Urine Sample Can Be Used for Toxicology

This test is a more specific test as it can give you the approximate amount and type of illegal drug present in an individual’s body. If you are ever asked for a toxicology test, then that is bad news. This test is used to determine drug abuse or overdose.

This is also a quick test and can detect the presence of many substances or a single substance all at once. So if you are showing signs of substance abuse like frequent random seizures, vomiting, chest pain, panic attacks, and unconsciousness, then you best be prepared.

Usually, if you display such behavior that can harm your other colleagues and if your employer wants to make sure that no one in the office is taking illegal drugs (to maintain a safe working environment), you may be asked to take a toxicology test.

Preparation and Results

You don’t really have to do anything special or different to prepare for a toxicology test. It can be done using either a urine sample or a blood sample. It is in your best interest, however, to keep the right people informed about this test in case you need any legal help in the future.

The results of this test are interpreted as positive or negative. A positive result indicates that the particular drug or drugs are present, and a negative result indicates that the drug or drugs are absent. If a substance is detected, you may be asked to perform further tests that will reveal how much of the substance is present and how often it has been used.

Why Do Potential Employees Fail These Tests?

The legalization of many narcotic drugs, such as marijuana, has sparked an opioid epidemic in many states and nations. The consumption of such drugs (even if they are said to be more beneficial than harmful) has been interfering with the policies of many companies.

Ventures are losing their staff, and the quality of work is decreasing as the effects of many drugs last longer in the body than imagined, and hence employees are failing these routine tests.

It is a Completely Legal Process That Everyone Should Cooperate With

Though it may sound scary, having a urine test done is more beneficial than harmful for you. It ensures your job safety and informs you about the underlying health conditions that you may not be aware of.

That is why it is very important to do a regular urinalysis, and if asked for one professionally, it is best to not refuse.

(link of picture: The Test Urine Container – Free photo on Pixabay)


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