Substance abuse is becoming increasingly a serious problem in the US and the entire world today. While drug abuse can be traced many years back, the number of people, especially young men and women engaging in drug use and abuse has risen significantly over the last decade. The US department of Labor estimates that drug and substance abuse at workplace costs the business community $80 billion each year in lost potential productivity. Therefore, organizations, including the sports and athletics organizations have stepped up their testing procedures to ensure that they recruit only drug-free labor force of professionals. Here are some facts about drug tests and what you need to know.
What Drug Tests Do
A drug test is a procedure that seeks to establish if one of the more illegal drugs are present in the body of an individual. The tests may include taking blood or urine samples to help detect whether an individual has such drugs as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates, PCP, barbiturates, tricyclic antidepressants, methadone, oxycodone or benzodiazepine. The test involves two steps. Firstly, a quick test may be taken. This can be done at home. Secondly, a laboratory test may be performed if the quick test suggests that the sample taken has a particular drug or drugs.
Drugs of abuse
Drugs of abuse refer to all illegal or prescription drugs such as those mentioned above and taken for purposes other than medical. Non-medical purpose of a prescription drug is where an individual takes a prescription drug for a period exceeding the period prescribed by a doctor. It is worth noting that medications may not be abuse if the drugs are taken for medical purposes for which they are prescribed and according to the instructions of a certified doctor.
The Types of Tests Taken
The tests are qualitative in nature. This means that the tests seek to establish if a particular illegal drug is present in urine. This type of test does not necessarily test how much of the drug is present. Tests are performed in numerous circumstances and the most common scenario is when someone is suspected of abusing illegal drugs. In other cases, one may decide to conduct a quick-home test if he or she suspects that drugs he’s been taking are illegal and that could land him in trouble, especially if he is a professional sportsman or woman. If you are not certain about the specific drug, it is important to confirm from the label before you start using it.
How soon Will after taking Drugs Will the Test Show
This question is commonly asked by many people and the answer is that clearance rates will help reveal how soon an individual may test positive after ingesting drugs. It also reveals how long you may continue to test positive for a drug after quitting the drug. For example, the estimated clearance rate for marijuana is 1-3 hours while cocaine is 2-16 hours.
How a drug of Abuse Test is Performed
You need to have a sample collection cup, the test kit (which may be a test strip, test card, cassette or any other appropriate method of testing urine) and clear instructions on how to conduct the test. It is important to understand the procedure before taking the sample from an individual. This will help avoid any errors or misreading of the results. Remember that some test kits require that the test is taken immediately or not more than a specific time after the sample is taken. If the preliminary test suggests the presence of the drugs, the next step is to take a laboratory test where a more comprehensive test will be taken using chemicals to obtain a more substantive and conclusive result.
The following are some additional circumstances that may necessitate drug testing:
- College admission
- Professional athletic drug testing
- Pre-employment drug screening or tests at work place
- Post-accident drug testing — this is where the driver may be tested for certain drug abuse after
- causing an accident leading to casualties or death.
- Safety drug testing-if the occupation is risky requiring a certain level of care, an employer may recommend a drug test
The costs are closely related to lost incomes, crime, and health care. In 2015, over 9.5 million urine drug tests were taken from the labor force tested positive for illegal drugs in the US, which was a 4% increase compared to the previous year. Drug tests include tests for drugs that are considered the potential for abuse, including alcohol, prescription drugs, steroids, diuretics and erythropoietin among others.