Drug testing: all you need to know

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Nowadays, too many people are addicted to various drugs, so drug testing has become widespread. With the help of the testing, you can independently check whether a person has used any drug. In this case, you might want to look for drug testing facilities near me. There are several such tests, each has its own characteristics, so it is worth considering this issue in more detail.

Drug testing varieties 

For pre-testing, individual test systems are used, which can be used to detect traces of illicit drug use at home, or kits for professional diagnosis. 

But there are methods for detecting psychotropic substances and their metabolites, which can be carried out only in the laboratory. These tests differ not only in ease of use, but also in the reliability of the results, sensitivity and quantity of detected substances. 

The disadvantages of existing rapid diagnostic methods are: 

  • limited types of certain substances (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, maximum 10); 
  • the limited period between taking the drug and the possibility of its detection; 
  • a certain level of concentration - below the detection limit the test gives false negative results; 
  • the possibility of falsification of samples for analysis. 

Studies can detect drugs, but do not allow to determine the frequency of their use. Therefore, an important step in most cases is the collection of medical history, visual examination (to detect traces of injections, changes in the structure of arteries, tissues) and psychological tests to determine the degree of change in psyche, behavior, mental abilities, reaction rate and more. 

Express methods have the following advantages: 

  • non-invasive; 
  • mobile - testing can be performed directly at the workplace; 
  • allow you to get results quickly; 
  • cheap. 

Unlike test systems, laboratory methods require special equipment, trained personnel and are expensive, so they are used to confirm and verify the results obtained in rapid diagnostics. 

For fast and mass diagnostics, multisystems that operate on the principle of thin-layer immunochromatography are produced. If there is a surfactant in the urine, one line appears on the test strip, if there is no drug or the substances in the sample are contained in an amount below the threshold level, then 2 strips will appear. You need to wait 5 minutes to get the result.

The most common is a multipanel for the detection of 3 or 5 types of drugs in the urine: 

  • opiates; 
  • marijuana; 
  • amphetamines, including methamphetamine; 
  • cocaine. 

They are most often used to detect drugs in workers in various industries. Less common tests for 10 groups of drugs - 10-panel urine screen. They help determine the use of: 

  • amphetamines; 
  • cocaine; 
  • marijuana and other cannabinoids, including synthetic (K2, spice); 
  • natural and semi-synthetic opiates; 
  • barbiturates; 
  • benzodiazepines; 
  • phencyclidine; 
  • metaqualone; 
  • tricyclic antidepressants; 
  • propoxyphene. 

The list of banned substances is constantly expanding, so there are new methods of their detection. For example, there are rapid tests that can detect traces of solid drugs not only in biological fluids, but also on clothing, objects, body parts, exhaled hair.

How long do drugs stay in your system?

Different types of psychoactive and toxic substances have different duration of detection in biological fluids. For example, alcohol stays in urine for 7-12 hours, amphetamine — 48 hours, cocaine — 6-8 hours, metabolites — 2-4 days, marijuana 3-30 days, natural and semi-synthetic opiates — 36-72 hours, Phencyclidine — 8 days, Propoxyphene — 6-48 hours, benzodiazepine — 3 days,  Methaqualone — 7 days,  barbiturates — from 24 hours till 24 days (depending on the mechanism of action), Codeine — 48 hours. 

For most substances the detection time is limited to 1-4 hours. So, there is no answer to “how long does drugs stay in your system?”. The more and longer a person takes them, the longer the circulation time of drugs in the urine. With a single dose of amphetamine, it is determined in the urine for up to 4 days. With constant use of surfactants are detected after 1 week.

Marijuana is excreted in 1-3 days, but can be detected in a few weeks, as cannabis can be deposited in adipose tissue. Even with secondhand smoke, a positive marijuana test is possible. 

Blood tests are performed less frequently, because surfactants are stored in the blood plasma for no more than a few hours, and the collection of material is traumatic, requires certain skills and compliance with the rules of asepsis. 

Hair for research is used even less often as microscopic data are difficult to standardize and at their studying there is a high probability of influence of the human factor. Hair tests are performed if it is necessary to obtain data for a period that significantly exceeds the time of surfactants and metabolites in the blood, urine. In the hair, signs of psychoactive substances may appear 3-4 months after the last episode of use. 

Some types of toxic substances are detected by indirect signs, which do not allow to determine with a high degree of reliability whether their use was regular or accidental inhalation of toxic fumes. 

Existing methods of rapid analysis cannot determine a number of substances, for example: lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), gamma oxybutyrate (GHB), mescaline and inhaled hydrocarbons. In addition, most hallucinogens are not included in the mandatory screening program.

How long does it take to pass a drug test?

False-positive results in rapid diagnosis can be caused by various external and internal factors. For example, the material for analysis can be replaced by a sample taken from a person who does not use drugs. To prevent falsification: 

  • urine collection is performed under the supervision of an employee of the laboratory or organization that monitors; 
  • from the room where urine is collected, water sources are removed / blocked, soap and other chemicals are removed; 
  • water in the toilet / tank is painted blue; 
  • the material is placed in a special container with protection against unauthorized disclosure. 

To reduce the level of surfactants or their metabolites in the urine sample, some subjects drink plenty of fluids or diuretics the day before. However, too light urine with a low specific gravity is excluded from testing, and the subject will have to re-pass the material.

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