Everything you need to know about drug testingDrug testing is the new, or old, buzz word that is now a companion to alcohol testing. Parents, schools, governments, and employers all want to test for drugs to keep the world a safer place. Or, at least their little part of the world safe. Drug testing exists in all the same places as alcohol tests. With cannabis becoming legalized in more states, random drug testing drivers is more common. Workplaces can test employees and prospective employees for drugs. The last thing they need is employees under the influence of drugs at work. It disrupts the business, causes trouble, is a safety hazard, and costs money. Drug testing or screening is any technical test of a person’s biological specimen (saliva, blood, urine, hair, etc) to detect the use of drugs. If you are a regular or recreational drug user, it is your worst nightmare. Especially if your job depends on the outcome of a drug test. Drugs like cannabis remain lurking in your system for a long time. Whether you had a smoke this morning or had fun at a party weeks, even months ago, it can pop up as a positive in a drug test. Debates about legalizing cannabis for its medicinal properties continue around the world. Legislators against legalization use the debate there are those who will misuse it and its effects on the wider community. This is a weak argument when there is more addiction to prescription drugs than illegal ones. Scott A. Bonn PhD his Psychology Today article, ‘Prescription Drugs are more deadly than street drugs’, April 28, 2014, backs the high rate of prescription drug addiction. Deaths from overdoses in the US tripled since 1990. Around 100 people die of drug overdoses daily. Prescription drugs cause more than 36,000 deaths a year. Just because doctors prescribe prescription drugs, it does not make them safe. The huge rise in overdoses is at 300 percent. This parallels the sales of powerful painkillers like OxyContin. In 2008, painkillers were responsible for 14,800 deaths from overdoses. This was more deaths than from cocaine and heroin combined. Yet we only hear the news of the effect of illegal drug overdoses. Rarely does a prescription overdose make the headlines. And the list of hypocrisies go on when governments advocate so many drugs as legal but, if abused, turn into legal lethal killers. It does not make a lot of sense that regulators ban some substances, but allow others knowing they are more likely to kill than illegal substances. Another issue concerning regulators is that designer drugs can replicate the effects of other drugs using different chemical compositions. These can be lethal when combined with alcohol and other substances. Designer drug effects earned them the label ‘party dugs’. Fentanyl, a strong synthetic painkiller prescribed to cancer patients is at least 100 times stronger than morphine. This is one of the most commonly abused drugs at parties. It has killed thousands of people in the US since 2013. It is often sold as a substitute for heroin or cocaine. Then there is the use of sports enhancing drugs used by athletes. Even with strong testing regimes in place, people still using these drugs have ways to mask any drug use. They often have to front up for random drug testing.
Drugs and drivingDrug testing drivers is not equal with testing drivers for drink driving. While a drug test can determine if certain drugs are in someone’s system, it is a hot debated whether that means they are too impaired to drive. This relates to cannabis and whether THC levels in saliva indicates mental impairment. With the number of states in the US legalizing recreational and medical cannabis, there are reports of people driving down streets smoking a joint. This raises obvious concerns with cars being a lethal weapon in the hands of a mentally impaired person. University of California, Psychiatry and Medical Cannabis Research chair Igor Grant said the challenge was how to assess if someone was too impaired by drugs to drive. He received a $1.8 million from the State of California to find the answer to how much smoking pot affects someone’s driving ability. He is to create a drug test that functions in a similar way as a breathalyzer. While it is easy to relate how much someone drinks to their ability to drive, Grant says it is not so simple when it comes to smoking pot. THC levels spike as soon as someone has a smoke. It takes time for the effect to reach the brain so their driving may still be normal. Body fat stores THC and it can stay in your system for weeks after your last smoke, especially if you smoke a lot. Research shows that drivers under the influence of cannabis tend to frequently lane change, have poor reactions, and trouble concentrating on what is going on around them. Because people can mix their drug use with alcohol, it is difficult to measure the level of impairment from specific drugs. To counteract this, drivers can face drug driving charges for being under the influence for any amount of a drug found in a blood or urine sample. 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NDUH) found 10 million people over the age of 12 said they had driven under the influence of drugs in the year before the survey. Men were more likely to drive in this situation than women. Young adults between the age of 18 and 25 are more likely to drive when under the influence of drugs than adults over 26.
- lack of an accurate roadside testing
- police do not test for drugs if a driver tests positive for alcohol
- many drivers have drugs and alcohol in their systems, which makes it difficult to know what substance contributed more to the accident.
- Misusing prescription or using illegal drugs and driving is risky. It is unsafe to drive. Just like drinking and driving.
- More than 10 million people over the age of 12 reported they had driven a vehicle while under the influence of drugs in 2014.
- Lack of driving experience combined with drug and alcohol use is a lethal combination.
- More than a quarter of people tested as positive for drug use after a lethal car crash were over the age of 50 in 2010.
- Drugs come in second to alcohol as contributing to fatal accidents.
- It is difficult to measure exactly how many car accidents drugs are responsible for causing.
- injuries and accidents
- productions losses
- losses to an organisation’s bottom line.
- high staff turnover
- falling asleep on the job
- low morale of staff in general
- poor decision-making skills
- cost of following disciplinary procedures
- lack of working efficiently
- coming to work feeling the after effects of the drugs, which can affect work performance
- loss of production
- trouble between supervisors and co-workers
- preoccupation with scoring drugs
- selling drugs at work.
- 5-panel drug tests screen for:
- methamphetamines and amphetamines
- opiates such as morphine, heroin, and codeine.
- 10-panel drug tests screen for:
- say drug testing applies to job applicants in any job advertisements
- test all applicants in the same way
- an employer can offer a potential employee a job based on the outcome of a drug test
- have a state certified laboratory carry out the testing.
Home Drug testing for parents and schoolsWith drug testing becoming so common, parents and schools may consider testing their kids for drugs. But, the question is, should schools and parents being drug testing kids? A lot of experts think kids should be drug tested to avoid:
- psychiatric problems now and in the future
- antisocial and violent outbursts
- raising the odds of kids being involved in accidents.
Did you know:
- more young people die from prescription drugs than die from heroin and cocaine combined
- 50 percent of high school seniors have tried drugs of some kind
- 43 percent of high school seniors smoke cannabis
- 15 percent of children have had a toke by the time they reach 8th grade
- more than 60 percent of teenagers said that drugs were freely available at school
- 28 percent of teenagers said they knew at least one person who used ecstasy
- 1 in 9 high school seniors have tried synthetic cannabis (K2, spice, etc) and 1.3 percent had used bath salts to get high
- 64 percent of teenagers said they had tried prescription drugs someone had given them
- 6 percent of 12th graders have used hallucinogenic drugs
- 5 percent of 12th graders tried cocaine and 2 percent crack.
- Scientific name. Cannabis Sativa.
- How it is used. Smoked, ingested.
- Negative effects. Causes paranoia, heart disease, makes it difficult to focus and can speed up your heart rate.
- On the street. Also known as pot, dope, hash, Mary Jane, Aunt Mary, grass, and pot.
- Chemical name. Methyl (1R,2R,3S,5S)-3- (benzoyloxy)-8-methyl-8-azabicyclo[3.2.1] octane-2-carboxylate.
- How it is used. Snorting, injecting directly into the vein or inhaling it.
- Negative effects. Causes panic attacks, tightening of the blood vessels, muscle spasms, cravings for more drugs increases, depression, hallucinations, psychosis, and can increase the heart rate.
- On the street. Also known as paradise, snow, white, Aunt Nora, and toot.
- Chemical name. (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate.
- How it is used. You can inhale, smoke, and inject heroin.
- Negative effects. It can weaken the immune system, cause memory loss, depression, poor thinking capacity, and respiratory illnesses, insomnia, weakness in the muscles, and depression.
- On the street. Also known as nose drops, Big H, thunder, brown sugar, and horse.
- Chemical Name: N-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine.
- How it is used. You can use it intravenously, inhale the smoke, and use it orally, intramuscularly, rectally, and through the vagina.
- Negative effects. Using methamphetamine can cause violent, aggressive behavior, an irregular and fast heartbeat, psychosis, a decrease in appetite, loss of memory, and changes in a person’s brain structure.
- On the street. Also known as glass, Tina, crystal meth, ice, crank, and speed.
- opiates (codeine, morphine, heroin)
- cannabinoids (marijuana)
- phencyclidine (PCP)
- amphetamines (amphetamines, methamphetamines)
- cocaine (benzoylecognine).
- one of the fastest ways to get a result
- for a wide range of drugs
- may not be reliable when testing for alcohol in the system
- good for detecting prescription and illegal drugs.
- expensive method of drug testing
- accurate method
- intrusive of all drug testing methods.
- costs more than urine testing
- detects drug use over a longer period of time
- may not detect current drug use
- must have a hair sample at least 70 or more strands thick and 1.5 inches long.
- costs more than urine testing
- is convenient but best analyzed in a laboratory for accurate results
- can detect recently used drugs
- is more reliable for detecting opiates and methamphetamines, but not reliable for detecting cannabis use.
|Opiate metabolites 1||2000|
|Drug||Common names||Time in the system|
|Amphetamines||Biphetamine, Dexedrine; Black Beauties, White Crosses||2 – 5 days|
|Amphetamine variants||Desoxyn; Crank, Crystal, Glass, Ice, Speed||3 – 5 days|
|Barbiturates (Long-Acting)||Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital||3 – 4 weeks|
|Barbiturates (Short-Acting)||Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital||2 days|
|Benzodiazepines||Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Rohypnol, Valium; Roofies, Tranks, Xanax||7 – 10 days|
|Cannabinoids (THC, Marijuana)||See below||5 – 60 days|
|Cocaine||Coke, Crack, Snow||2 – 5 days|
|Codeine||Tylenol w/codeine, Robitussin A-C, Empirin w/codeine, Fiorinal w/codeine||5 – 7 days|
|Euphorics||Ecstasy, Mushrooms||5 – 7 days|
|Ketamine||Special K||5 – 7 days|
|Heroin||Diacetylmorphine; Horse, Smack||5 – 7 days|
|LSD||Acid, Microdot||7 – 10 days|
|Mescaline||Buttons, Cactus, Mesc, Peyote||5 – 7 days|
|Methadone||Amidone, Dolophine, Methadose||5 – 7 days|
|Methamphetamines||Desoxyn; Crank, Crystal, Glass, Ice, Speed||3 – 5 days|
|Morphine||Roxanol, Duramorph||5 – 7 days|
|Opiates||Laudanum, Paregoric; Dover’s Powder||5 – 7 days|
|Phencyclidine||PCP; Angel Dust, Boat, Hog, Love Boat||2 – 8 days|
|Psilocybin||Magic Mushroom, Purple Passion||5 – 7 days|
|Steroids (anabolic oral)||Testosterone (T/E ratio), Stanazolol, Nandrolone||14 – 28 days|
|Steroids (anabolic injected)||Testosterone (T/E ratio), Stanazolol, Nandrolone||1 – 3 months|
|Cannabis detection base on time and use|
|Once only||5 – 8 days|
|2 – 4 times a month||11 – 18 days|
|2 – 4 times a week||23 – 35 days|
|5 – 6 times week||33 – 48 days|
|Daily use||49 – 63 days|
- Cost-effectiveness. Urine testing is cheaper than blood and hair follicle testing. All you need is a testing strip, and a testing agent to add to the urine. Then wait a few seconds for the results.
- Collecting a urine sample is convenient. The person only needs a container to collect the sample. No using needles to take blood or cutting a sample of someone’s hair.
- Identifies a wide variety of drugs. Urine testing can identify a much wider range of drugs than other tests.
- Identifies recent use. Metabolites quickly leave your system through your urine. So, the presence of metabolites in a person’s urine indicates recent use. A hair test can only establish a history of drug use.
- Reliable results. Because urine testing is so commonly used, it has become a standardized test with low false positive results.
- Instant results. It takes only a few seconds to get the results of a urine test. The color indicator on the test strip starts to change color straight away. These tests are convenient when you require instant results.
- Short window of opportunity. Urine testing only detects the metabolites in the urine at the time of collection. So, this method only detects recent drug use and not drug use over the long term.
- Cannot measure drug levels in the system. A positive urine test only means there are traces of drugs showing up as metabolites. Traces of the drug can also show up. While urine testing is good for detecting the use of drugs as it cannot measure how much someone has taken.
- Risk of contamination. There are ways to contaminate urine samples. People can add substances or switch the sample over if they are not closely watched while taking the sample.
- Intrusive collection method. Some people find it intrusive going to the bathroom to pee in a cup while laboratory or medical staff wait outside. Urine testing is more intrusive than taking a hair sample.
Immunoassay testingThe sample is divided into two portions (aliquots) for chemical testing at the laboratory. The first portion has a process called enzyme immunoassay performed on it as an initial screen. Immunoassays determine how specific antigens cause unique reactions. These reactions produce proteins in the system called antibodies. Antibodies can indicate whether a targeted drug is in the system by determining the antigen-antibody complexes in the sample. A sample of the urine is added to a test strip. It turns different colors when adding a chemical agent to indicate the absence or presence of different drugs.
Chromatography/mass spectrometry testingYou can deny using drugs when a test comes back positive, especially if you have not been using them. If you do, you will take a second test. The second urine portion will then have a chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) test. This is more expensive but rarely produces false positives. If this comes back positive, then the test record shows the test as positive. Both tests can:
- give false positives
- fail to catch drugs used that day
- be cheated.
- iCassette Premium Complete 9 Panel Urine Drug Test Kit. This test kit comes with a pipette and a device that has markers as indicators for different results. The urine is put onto the device and you get results in a couple of seconds. Use this kit to test for amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines, phencyclidine, cannabis, barbiturates, methamphetamines, and methadone.
- iCassette Premium Complete 10 Panel Urine Drug Test Kit. This is similar to the 9-panel urine dug test kit. It does everything that one does, but it can also detect tricyclic anti-depressants in the system.
- T-Cup – 5 Panel Multi-Drug Urine Integrated Test Cup. This test kit has a specimen cup and a temperature strip for the results. It gives an accurate reading with the results available quickly. The T-cup can screen for cannabis, amphetamines, opiates, methamphetamines and cocaine.
What is fake pee?Fake pee mimics human urine. People often use it to pass urine drug tests. Manufactured urines come as a dried powder and as pre-mixed solutions. You can buy it at smoke shops, sex shops, and online. All products come with a use by date. Do not use anything that has been sitting around for a while. It may just get you into trouble. Make sure you read the instructions before using it. You cannot use some fake urine 8 hours after mixing or opening. Others are single use only. But, if you have a urine drug test sprung on you by surprise then you may not have fake pee just sitting around. People who know they may have to pass a surprise test go to complex methods to be prepared. Some buy bladders and tubes as well as temperature strips to help them pass a drug test. Fake pee is also used for:
- kinky sex
- an animal repellant.
Does fake pee really work?Synthetic urine can help you pass a drug test. But, it is not guaranteed. If you get caught using the fake stuff, you can get a hefty fine in some states. Although it is illegal to cheat on drug tests, some believe drug testing is a direct violation of their rights. The most important thing when using the fake stuff is to buy a good quality product. Also, make sure you follow the instructions for its correct use. Just remember, there is no 100 percent guarantee that fake pee will get you through a drug test. Technology improves all the time. Drug test companies know that fake pee exists, so they improve their tests to counteract false negatives. As fast as they create new detection methods, the cheats create new products to counteract them. A good quality synthetic urine product should have the following properties:
- uric acid
- naturally foam
- have a normal pH of between 4.8 and 8
- normal gravity (thickness of the urine compared to water)
- be the correct temperature (90 to 100°F, 32 to 36°C)
- smell like urine.
What indicators does the laboratory analyze?Urine is used to test for all sorts of medical conditions, but most commonly for drugs in someone’s system. Thinking about using fake urine? Then it is a good idea to do some research into what the lab tests for. Here are some things a urine dug test does not screen for, including:
- genetic data
- prescription drugs (other than opioid medications, amphetamines and anything else excluded by the specific test)
- sex hormones to indicate gender
- general state of health.
- alcohol (when requested)
- phencyclidine (PCP).
- uric acid
- excess nitrates
- pH levels
- check the gravity
- more invasive than other drug tests
- the most expensive of all drug test types
- inconvenient as you need a nurse or medical practitioner to take the blood sample
- up to 7 days before you get the results.
- by an insurance company to test for drugs before accepting a new insurance policy
- employers may require a blood test from prospective employees to ensure they are dug and alcohol-free
- for court cases where there is a need to prove someone was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially where there is a death.
- amphetamines within 10 – 14 hours
- barbiturates within 1 – 2 days
- benzodiazepines within 6 – 48 hours
- cannabis within 6 – 24 hours
- cocaine within 12 – 24 hours
- codeine within 6 – 12 hours
- LSD within 0 – 3 hours
- methamphetamines within 24 hours
- PCP within 12 – 24 hours.
- methamphetamine (methamphetamine/amphetamine and ecstasy)
- opiates (codeine, morphine and 6-monacteyl morphine)
- phencyclidine (PCP)
- cocaine (cocaine and benzoylecgonine).
Detecting cannabis using a hair follicle drug testHair follicle tests are growing in popularity for employers and cannabis is at the top of the hit list. It takes about 5 days after you use cannabis to show up in your hair. The presence of cannabis in your hair can stay for several months or until you have a haircut. Drugs, including cannabis, manifest themselves in hair, urine, saliva, and the bloodstream. These deposits become trapped in the hair follicles and your hair leaves a history of any type of drug use as it grows out. Drug laboratories test the hair for evidence of metabolites trapped in the hair. They determine a positive or negative result based on this. A positive result can mean the person has used cannabis, for example, anytime in the last 3 months. The test cannot establish whether cannabis was used last week, an hour or 2 months ago.
- Permanently cleanse your system in 2 – 6 days. For this to work, there must be no cannabis (or other drugs) in your system. If there are other drugs in your system, they will emerge through your hair again after cleansing. You can do this by:
- Cleansing your internal system. Flush your system with herbal supplements daily combined with a healthy diet. This will naturally detox your system of any drugs in 3 – 6 days.
- Cleansing your hair. Use a good detox shampoo to cleanse traces of drugs from your hair. This will permanently remove all traces from your system and hair. But, of course, if you take drugs again you ill have to detox again.
- Detox in 90 days. You can naturally detox your system of all traces of cannabis within 30 days. Once your blood and urine no longer carries drug traces, your hair will start to grow clean of drug metabolites. This process will take up to 90 days.
- Temporary 48-hour system flush. The temporary flush is not as effective as other methods. It is a good option if short on time. Use a detoxification shampoo to remove drug metabolites from your hair. Cleansing your hair is only a temporary solution. It will last 24 – 48 hours before your hair needs cleaning again.
- hard to cheat the test
- easy to use for random drug testing
- non-invasive and there is no need for privacy
- results within 10 minutes
- costs less than a urine drug test.
- not as sensitive to THC as the urine drug test
- can detect pot use from only a week ago
- you can cheat the test
- how the results are measured varies from one manufacturer to another so there is no real consistency between the results from different manufacturers.
- opiates: 2 – 3 days
- cocaine: up to 24 hours
- alcohol: 6 – 12 hours
- methamphetamines and ecstasy: 2 – 4 days.
Stay cleanThe obvious answer is to get clean. Avoid drugs altogether for at least 5 days before the saliva drug test. You may find this impossible, so you will need to try other methods.
Rinse your mouthGet a strong mouthwash, designed to cleanse the toxins and THC from your mouth. Rinse your mouth out several times and hold it in your mouth for several minutes so it takes effect. This will make your breath smell good and neutralize the toxins in your saliva. This only gives you a 15-minute window to give your saliva sample before the mouthwash has no effect. Just remember not to smoke or take drugs afterwards.
Detoxify your systemFlush the toxins from your system:
- Drink plenty of water and fruit juices, which will send you running to the toilet to pee the toxins out.
- Exercise to sweat them out.
- Eat fruit, and drink coffee and fruit juices to get your bowels working. It will also help cleanse your saliva.