Each year, more urine toxicology drug tests are added to the pre-hiring screening process. Depending on the state, many companies are required by law to administer a urine toxicology drug test. Additionally, many employers working in transportation, safety, transit, defense, and aviation are required to test applicants for drug and alcohol use. Brad Schaffer of Medcomp Sciences has built his business around more effective and efficient urine toxicology drug testing to better help employers during their hiring process. Below, Mr. Schaffer will discuss the urine toxicology process in detail and how it helps protect employers from potential workplace accidents.
Urine toxicology drug tests most often screen for amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, marijuana, cocaine, PCP, methadone, and opioids. Additionally, employers can also screen for alcohol abuse, but this is usually detected through a breath test rather than a urine screening. There are two major types of urine toxicology drug tests, immunoassay and gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Immunoassay is a cost-effective urine toxicology test and frequently gives employers test results in a timely manner. However, the test can sometimes give false positives and doesn’t pick up on all opioids. A GC/MS test is administered when an immunoassay test comes back positive. The GC/MS test is more expensive for employers and can take weeks to conclude, but are more accurate than immunoassay tests and rarely give false positives. It is important to recognize both tests can give a false negative result and often fail to identify same-day drug use.
The most common test, immunoassay, does not measure the amount of drugs in the body but detects how the drugs interact with a person’s immune system and its effect on the ability to form antigen-antibodies. Test results are documented as nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). The results are measured against a cutoff number; any number higher than the cutoff number will be recognized as a positive test result and any number below a negative test result.
If a person has tested positive for both the immunoassay and GC/MS test, the medical review officer, the physician in charge of interpreting and reporting the results of any test done in their facility, will contact the potential employer will the results of the test. Urine toxicology drug tests help employers avoid any future workplace accidents or lawsuits resulting from drug-related activity. For this reason, many employers at this junction choose to rescind their job offers and not pursue the candidate for any further employment opportunities.