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A Guide to Drug Testing Methods Determining the drug users in a company or in whatever situation can be done using different methods of drug testing. Different methods of drug testing may be used, and depending on the method, a biological specimen is obtained so that it can be analyzed technically for the presence of drugs or their metabolites. Urine, saliva, sweat, and hair are the usual samples taken from an individual. The procedure for testing the specimen is as follows. Before sending a specimen to be analyzed in a laboratory, it is first placed in an appropriate container and then sealed. When it reaches the laboratory they immediately check the seal to ensure that there was no tampering done. If the seal of the container has been found to be tampered then the specimen is rejected and sent back. Contents of untampered containers will then be subject to testing and analysis.
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Before the actual testing, some specimens have to be made testable. With urine and saliva, however, no testability procedure is done because they can be analyzed outrightly in their existing condition. For the other specimens, however, drugs have to be extracted from the specimen in advance. Below are some preparatory work done on specimens before they go to testing for drug presence.
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A centrifuge is a machine which uses centrifugal force and is the one responsible for separating plasma from blood specimen. A solvent is used to break up the drugs present in sweat samples. When the drug test uses hair specimen, the hair is first washed before breaking down the keratin with enzymes. The actual drug testing is conducted in two levels. The two tests are the screening test and the confirmation test. The screening test is used for all samples sent to the laboratory. The method used in screening is called immunoassay which is a biochemical test. Fluids like urine or serum are tested for substance concentration. This is done by observing and making use of the reaction of the antibody to its antigen, in order to measure the concentration of a substance in the fluid. When the sample comes out negative of drug content then they are discarded and reported as negative. If the sample comes out positive, they are sent to the next level for the confirmation test. When specimens are screened positive of drug content then they go to the confirmation test. Mass spectrometry, a technical method that determines the composition of molecules in a specimen is used in the confirmation test. This test gives precise results but is usually very expensive. If the screening test will give a false positive results then it necessarily follows that the confirmation test will be negative. But, a positive result from both tests will be report as positive for drug use.