The urine drug test is the most common method of workplace drug testing. In the interest of providing employees a safe and healthy working environment, many employers use the method for its proven quickness and accuracy in detecting traces of drugs in one’s urine sample. Also known as a urine drug screen or UDS, a urine drug test can help employers and employees alike to avoid hazardous situations that could result in injuries and deaths.
What drugs does a urine drug test detect?
If an employer requires a standard drug screen, then a urine drug test will screen for marijuana, cocaine, phencyclidine, amphetamines and opiates, which are five of the most common street drugs. This test is also known as a five-panel drug test. However, if an employer asks for a ten-panel drug test, then signs of five more drugs will be included in the list. The five additional drugs are barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone and propoxphene.
Advantages of a urine drug test
Despite privacy issues raised against drug tests in general, a urine drug test is preferred by more employees because of its non-invasive nature. As long as there is a private bathroom where patients can retreat to draw urine specimens, it is a comfortable, no-hassles type of drug test that they would prefer over others. A urine drug test is also quite reliable, as traces of drugs stay longer in the urine, and are therefore detectable for a longer period.
Disadvantages of a urine drug test
For all its commonness as a method of drug testing at work, the urine drug test is not without its downsides. For one, those guilty of substance abuse at work can find ways to alter or tamper with urine specimens to pass the urine drug test. They use adulterants like bleach and diuretics like cranberry juice and caffeine to yield a negative result. For another, problems could arise if an employee is unable to produce urine when required for one reason or another. It could be the subject had just recently passed water, or have heath issues related to urination.
Urine drug testing procedures
More often than not, employees made to undergo a urine drug test do it in their place of business under the supervision of outsourced drug-testing laboratories, although in some cases, it’s the employees who are required to go the testing laboratory itself.
The patient will be handed a specimen cup by the nurse or technician administering the test. Instructions will then be given about properly acquiring the specimen, which involves placing the cup in the urine stream while in mid-stream. The specimen should then be handed over to the nurse and technician for proper labelling and processing.
The actual drug testing will then be done in the laboratory. For a urine drug test to be reliable, the lab technicians handling them must maintain a chain of custody, and this is done by documenting the handling and storage of the urine specimen until it is disposed. If the initial test returns positive, the technician will perform additional tests on the sample to verify the initial result. For the result to be definitive, both tests should match.