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Published Friday, 5th September 2014

 

A Drug and Alcohol Screen is performed when a biological sample such as blood, urine, saliva or breath is collected and analysed.

Analysing a sample takes from a few seconds up to 5 minutes and will detect the presence or absence of drugs and alcohol or their metabolites in the sample collected.

Metabolites are the intermediates and products of metabolism.  Metabolites are also tested along with their parent drug because metabolites have a Detection Window in urine of up to several days whereas some drugs have a Detection Window in urine that lasts only hours.

The presence of certain drugs and alcohol or their metabolites indicates that the substance detected has been consumed.  The consumption of certain drugs is prohibited by some employers and the results of a Drug and Alcohol Test will determine if a worker is fit to enter the workplace and perform their duties safely.

At KINNECT, urine, saliva and breath samples are collected when performing a Drug and Alcohol Screen.  Different screening methods detect the presence of different substances and their metabolites (see table below). 

If onsite Drug and Alcohol Testing detects the presence of a drug or its metabolites, the biological sample that is collected is sent to a laboratory for further testing.

This is called confirmation.  Confirmation determines the actual level of a drug or its metabolites in the biological sample collected and indicates whether the consumption of the drug has been therapeutic or recreational.

For therapeutic consumption of a drug, a worker may still be considered safe to enter the workplace; for recreational consumption of a drug, a worker will not be considered safe to enter the workplace and will therefore, fail the recruitment process.

KINNECT Drug and Alcohol Screening Methods

Type of Drug

Detection in Urine

Detection in Oral Fluid (saliva)

Detection in Breath

Alcohol

N

N

Y

Cannabinoids (THC)

Y

Y

N

Opiates

Y

Y

N

Amphetamines

Y

Y

N

Methamphetamines

Y

Y

N

Cocaine

Y

Y

N

Benzodiazapines

Y

N

N

 

Confirmation testing for urine and saliva is performed using one of two techniques known as Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) or Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS). GC-MS is widely regarded as the “gold standard” for forensic substance identification1 but recent advances in technology have seen a shift from GC-MS to LC-MS3 as the technique used for Confirmation testing. This is because LC-MS allows for a simpler work flow and requires less time to prepare and analyse the sample and deliver results2.

Confirmation testing determines the actual level of a drug or its metabolites in the biological sample collected and indicates whether the consumption of the drug has been therapeutic or recreational. For therapeutic consumption of a drug, a worker may still be considered safe to enter the workplace. However, for recreational consumption of a drug, a worker will not be considered safe to enter the workplace and will therefore, fail the recruitment process.

References

  • Dams R, Murphy CM, Lambert WE, Huestis MA (2003). Urine drug testing for opioids, cocaine, and metabolites by direct injection liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 17:1665–1670.
  • Grebe, S.K.J., & Singh, R.J. (2011). LC-MS/MS in the clinical laboratory – Where to from here? Clinical Biochemistry Review 32, 5 – 15.
  • Agilent Technologies (2001). Basics of LC/MS. http://ccc.chem.pitt.edu/wipf/Agilent%20LC-MS%20primer.pdf

Call KINNECT on 1300 546 632

 

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