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Urine Drug Testing

Drug Testing

Understanding a urine drug test

The urine drug test - butt of many a joke, bane of many an existence. From the doctor's office to the corporate office, the school track to the Olympics, urine drug testing is the No. 1 method used to detect the presence of illegal substances in a person's system.


According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, urine is the only bodily specimen that is collected for testing in the federal workplace and in private sectors that use the federally-regulated drug testing program (such as schools). Because urine drug tests are usually reliable and non-discriminatory, they are referred to as the "Gold Standard."

Urine drug testing, when compared to the methods of testing blood, saliva, perspiration and/or oral fluids, is the least invasive and expensive method. A urine drug test will indicate recent and current drug use, but is ineffective in proving long term abuse.

So what exactly does a urine drug test entail?

Your school or workplace may require you to visit a collection facility. If so, then you will have to remove your clothing and change into a hospital gown, which hinders your ability to bring any 'drug test aids' into the bathroom with you. A facility worker will bring you into a collection room, which usually just contains a toilet without water in it. If there is no official collection room, a designated bathroom may be used, although the water in the sink will probably be turned off and they may be colored water in the toilet bowl.

These precautionary measures are taken to ensure that the test subject is prohibited from tampering with his or her urine sample, such as trying to dilute it with water. You will have an identified, sterile cup into which you'll urinate. But before doing so, it is often recommended that the subject uses a provided sterile wipe to clean the genital area before voiding. This is done to lessen the risk of outside contaminants entering the sample. If the facility worker does not observe you urinating, he or she will probably stay within earshot and may be able to intervene if suspicious of tampering.

The urine sample will then be handed over and sent to a laboratory where an initial drug screen should pick up the presence of any drugs. If drugs are detected, your urine sample will be subjected to a series of verifying tests, usually designed to isolate the type and amount of drug found.

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