Urine Drug Testing (UDT) is one of the most critical requirements for jobs linked to public safety. You have to go through UDT while applying for a job at airlines, the medical sector, transportation services, etc. However, public safety is not the only reason behind employers asking for UDT. Many employers ask UDT to reduce the effect of drug abuse to encourage productivity.
Along with public safety-related employers, various authorities ask employees, students, and athletes to undergo urine drug testing (UDT). The majority of the time, this test happens before a big event. Employees have to undergo UDT before joining, whereas athletes have to complete UDT before sports events. However, sometimes the order for UDT can come at random times.
UDT is a painless test where a person provides a urine sample for analysis. The doctor or technician studies the sample to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system. If you are undergoing a urine drug test in the upcoming time, you have reached the right place. This article will provide information about five things to know before urine drug testing.
- Substances Detected in UDT
When you consume a drug, it stays in your body for a specific time. Your body breaks it down to process it. The drug testing kit used for Urine Drug Test is very sensitive and can detect drugs even in broken forms. Generally, doctors and technicians use urine drug test to detect the following drugs:
UDT can detect drugs like benzodiazepines and phencyclidine (PCP) in the system and the above drugs.
- Legality of UDT
According to the United States Supreme Court, drug testing is minimally invasive yet does not harm the job applicants. However, the court held its stand on the fact that UDT is essential to ensure public safety. Along with the Federal laws, state laws also play a crucial role in determining the test’s legality in respective states.
Each state has its own body deciding the laws related to workplace drug testing. For example, in some states, employers retain all rights to test the employees for drugs and alcohol. Here, employers have to inform the applicants about the test being a part of the interview process.
- Sensitivity of UDT
A urine drug test is susceptible as it can detect even the traces of drugs present in the system. As you know, drugs stay inside your body even after a few hours of consumption. Several factors influence the retention of drugs in the human body, such as:
- The half-life of the drug
- Route of administration
- Frequency of drug use
Along with the above factors, that person’s hydration state and body mass also influence detection drugs. Some drugs stay in the body for more than three days. For example, chronic marijuana users may get a positive test result even after four weeks of weed consumption.
- Procedure of UDT
Generally, a doctor or a professional technician will test the urine to detect the presence of drugs. A trained technician or doctor will usually perform the urine drug screen. There are ways of conducting a urine drug test,
- Immunoassay Test
The majority of the institutions follow this procedure as it is quick and cost-effective. However, it is not very accurate and may give false results in some cases.
- Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
This is a very reliable procedure as it can detect a wide range of drugs in the system. Moreover, such an approach is expensive, and it consumes more time than the previous one. Institutions use this type of test in case of follow-ups.
5. Avoiding False-Positive Test Results
Most of the time, doctors and technicians use cut-off levels to determine the results. In other words, a person’s results can only come positive if amounts of a drug in his/her system are above a specific level. Institutions prefer cut-off levels as they reduce the chance of tests being false positives.
Urine drug tests are accurate in detecting the drugs in your system. However, false-positive results may occur if a person has food like poppy seeds, hemp, or coca before the test. This is why the United States Anti-Doping Agency strongly advises the applicants not to consume poppy seeds before the test. Just like false-positives, there are chances of the test giving false-negative results. Such a situation occurs in the case of diluted urine.
Urine drug tests are pretty much straightforward. You just have to visit the dedicated place to provide your urine sample. The doctors or technicians present at the location will guide you throughout the process. They give you privacy so that you can provide your urine sample to them. As some medications may cause false-positive results, you should inform the test-taker if you are on medications like herbal medicines, prescribed drugs, or steroids and supplements. Passing the urine drug test can be crucial, especially when you are applying for a job. However, just make sure that you do consume the food leading to false-positive results before the test.