One of the many services we offer here at Buford Family Health is routine drug testing. Routine drug tests can be requested for several reasons. Those reasons are your business. Our business is to make the process as easy and convenient as possible.
If you’ve never had a drug test before, the process is straightforward. Read on for more information about what to expect.
How Do You Test for Drugs?
Practitioners administer most drug tests as a urine drug test or urine drug screen (UDS). This is a painless test that analyzes your urine for the presence of illegal drugs and prescription medications.
What Do Drug Tests Screen For?
Although screenings can be performed for a variety of prescription and non-prescription drugs, the typical test usually screens for:
- Opioids (narcotics)
If an alcohol test is required, these tests are usually administered by breath tests rather than urine screens.
Why Do I Need Drug Screening?
If you have been asked to get a drug test, you probably already know why but let’s take a moment to look at why drug tests might be necessary.
- Your primary care doctor may order a drug test if they suspect you have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
- An emergency room doctor may request a drug test if you’re confused or your behavior seems strange or dangerous.
- Some employers require new hires to take a urine drug test before they can be on-boarded. This may be the case if the job requires the employee to be alert and focused.
- Media corporations
- Government positions
- Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers test residents regularly to ensure that clients receiving treatment for drug or alcohol abuse stay sober.
- People on probation or parole for a drug- or alcohol-related offense may be asked by their officer to take random drug tests to verify sobriety.
- Tests may also be used in home settings when a family member wants a loved one to take a drug test to prove they’re not using drugs or alcohol. At-home test kits are available, but we highly recommend consulting with your family doctor or another health professional before using these kits. They can advise you on how to follow up if the test is positive.
What Happens When I Get a Drug Test?
- You will go to a lab or doctor’s office.
- The technician will give you a specimen cup.
- You will be asked to empty your pockets, and you will leave your purse, briefcase, or other belongings in another room, while you take the test in a bathroom, prepped for the drug test.
- In rare and very specific cases, a same-gendered nurse or technician will accompany you into the bathroom to make sure you follow all testing procedures. If this is the case, the reason for this type of supervised testing will be explained.
- The technician will provide a moist cloth for you to use to clean your genital area.
- Urinate into the cup. The sample must be 45 milliliters of urine.
- Put a lid on the cup and give it back to the technician.
- The technician will measure the temperature of your urine sample to ensure it’s in the required range.
- Visual contact with the urine specimen by both you and the collector must be kept at all times until the specimen has been sealed and packaged for testing.
How Soon Will I Get the Results?
You may receive results immediately. It depends on the reason for the drug test. Sometimes the doctor sends out your sample for testing so the lab can generate a formal report.
Nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) is the way the lab expresses the results. Any result below the pre-established cutoff number is a negative screen, and any number above the cutoff number is a positive screen.
If it’s an instant result, your doctor usually shares the results in terms of positive or negative rather than numeric values. Many instant immunoassay tests don’t display the ng/mL measurements at all. Instead, the results display on a test strip that turns different colors to indicate the presence of various substances.
If you get a positive result for illegal drugs that you haven’t taken, you should get a GC/MS follow-up test immediately. You will also want to talk to the medical review officer (MRO) who is the physician in charge of interpreting and reporting the results of any drug testing done in their facility.
Why Are There Two Different Kinds of Test?
Immunoassay is the first type of drug test your doctor gives. It is cost-effective, and results come back fairly quickly, but it doesn’t pick up on all opioids, and it sometimes gives false positives.
What is a false positive? If test results come back positive for drugs, but there has been no drug use, then a false positive has occurred.
And, if your first test comes back positive, a follow-up test known as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is performed for confirmation. If you take the GC/MS, you will go through the same procedure for getting a urine specimen as the immunoassay.
The reason that GC/MS results aren’t usually given in the first place is that they are more expensive and take longer to give results, but they rarely produce false positives, so they are a good follow-up test if you have had a false positive on the immunoassay.
Buford Family Practice is here to serve all of your medical needs efficiently and with discretion. If you are ready to make an appointment or have any other questions about routine drug tests, you can call our Buford Office at 678-515-5634 or our Lawrenceville Office at 770-822-4411. You can also contact us online!
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