An in-depth look at the Medical Review Office Process. During this video, you will learn what happens after a drug test is completed at the lab and sent to the MRO.
What do you currently know about hair testing? Hair drug testing is an effective way to evaluate long-term patterns of use. Some employers choose to use hair testing because the collection process is relatively noninvasive and it is challenging to cheat a hair drug test. While hair tests can detect long-term drug use, they can’t detect recent use and there is a longer processing time required to get results. Hair drug testing is the only testing method available that provides up to a 90-day drug use history. However, these tests cannot pinpoint the exact date of drug use because hair growth rates can vary widely among different people. Although hair samples undergo a two-step testing process, they are not 100 percent accurate. Factors that can affect the concentration of drug metabolites present in a hair sample include:
- The structure of drug compounds
- The quantity of drugs a person has consumed
- How much a person sweats
- The amount of melanin (dark hair pigment) in a person’s hair — certain drugs bind more readily to melanin
- Bleaching or coloring the hair
The use of typical styling products and shampoos should not affect the test results. In 2015, researchers at the Friends Research Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted a study examining the effectiveness of hair follicle drug tests. The researchers compared self-reported drug use with hair follicle test results from 360 adults at risk for moderate drug use. According to the results of the study, hair follicle drug testing correctly identified:
- 52.3 percent of people who reported recent marijuana use
- 65.2 percent of people who reported recent cocaine use
- 24.2 percent of people who reported recent amphetamine use
- 2.9 percent of people who reported recent Opioid use
Have you ever received a drug test result that said dilute? Applicants and employees who know they are going to test positive may attempt to tamper with their sample to pass the test. The most common way of doing this is by diluting their urine, leading to a dilute drug test result.
Diluting urine means that the donor drinks a significant quantity of water before providing a specimen, and their body is overly hydrated. However, it is possible that a donor doesn’t do this with the intent of cheating the system and simply drinks a lot of water in general.
It is widely known that some donors try to dilute their urine because they consumed drugs and are trying to flush out their system. This practice will result in a dilute drug test result.
What can be done?
A dilute drug test result can still be used. If it is positive dilute, then it is positive and the employer should proceed accordingly. However, If it is negative, the employer does have a few options to help in making the best determination.
An employer can require that anyone who has a negative dilute drug test be retested. The employer can specify that the donor retest via another urine drug test or can choose another testing method that may be harder to cheat. Keep in mind that when testing a DOT donor, it may be necessary to retest that donor under a Non-DOT policy if choosing another testing method. This would mean that the test, if positive, would not report to the clearinghouse as DOT only allows for DOT urine samples. The employer can choose other options like a hair follicle or saliva drug test, which are both conducted under direct observation. Contact our office for help in developing a testing protocol for a dilute drug test.
Illicit drug users who test negative dilute often slip through the system and get hired more often than one would think. Sometimes, these users will get caught through random testing or reasonable suspicion testing. Don’t risk it! The safety of the workplace should come first! We are here to help provide the resources needed to promote safety in the workplace. Contact us for answers to any questions!
Nationwide Testing Association, Inc., has over 37 years of experience assisting companies in making informed decisions. Our nationwide solutions for drug and alcohol testing, compliance services, and background screening are industry-leading. We pride ourselves on our host of full turnkey programs. All of our programs are customized to exceed both our client’s expectations and state and federal guidelines. Our high standards and our emphasis on a customer-first program has set us apart from our industry.
Pre-employment testing is the most common type of drug testing and is a way for employers to make the best hiring decisions possible. When an applicant applies to a job, they may be subject to a pre-employment drug test after a conditional offer of employment has been made. To ensure that the applicant is suitable for the position, most companies conduct a pre-employment drug test. Studies show a correlation between employee drug abuse and Increased absenteeism, higher workplace accident rates, decreased productivity and increased turn over.
When implementing pre-employment drug testing or employment drug testing, it is important to consider your business. What is right for you? Urinalysis? Hair Testing? Oral Fluids? Blood? Each of these testing methods has a different set of benefits. Pre-employment testing is only part of a full turnkey program! It is recommended to pair pre-employment testing with a random selection testing plan, as employees can begin drug use after the initial pre-employment test has been passed.
Contact Nationwide Testing Association, Inc., to discuss which nationwide drug testing program would be best for you! We will work with you to enhance your workplace safety! Discover the difference today!
In today’s workplace, government-mandated drug testing and the industry-standard “5 panel” drug test may not be enough. Over the past several years, our communities have seen a significant increase in the abuse of:
- Heroin – this is now at epidemic levels
- Synthetic Opiates
- Synthetic THC
In addition, the US market is constantly flooded with a stream of ever-changing drugs of abuse from foreign markets: Kratom, Flakka, Salvia, and Khat are just a few examples.
When you are creating your Non-DOT Drug Testing Program, it is important to consider what drugs you want to screen for. Don’t choose a one size fits all option. Customize your program to meet your specific needs.
So how do you combat these risks in today’s workplace? These four important steps are necessary:
- Review and evaluate your current substance abuse policies. Once revisions are determined, distribute in writing to all employees subject to the policy, and obtain signed and dated acknowledgment of receipt form.
- Update your test panel to include a more comprehensive and current configuration.
- Provide updated information to employees on current trends in substance abuse and the dangers of substance abuse.
- EDUCATE YOUR SUPERVISORS! Provide education to supervisors on not only the classic drugs of abuse, which are still alive and well, but on the new drugs of abuse and how to handle reasonable suspicion situations legally and effectively.
As the use of e-cigarettes grows, employers are faced with a new question: Do you allow vaping in the workplace? E-cigarettes are devices that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the user. Recent trends show a significant increase in e-cigarettes being used to vape THC.
If a workplace vaping policy isn’t something your organization has addressed yet, consider making it a priority for the future. As an employer, you will want to consider the pros and cons of e-cigarette use and examine how it fits into your company’s culture and goals.
If you choose to implement a smoking/vaping policy, you should evaluate your current smoking policy for consistency with state and federal laws. Consider your company insurance plans (if applicable) when determining if a smoking/vaping policy is right for you!
If you make any changes to your policy, be sure to communicate them clearly and in advance with your employees by updating your handbook, posting, and distributing the new policy to employees. When you introduce the policy to your employees, have a discussion with them and provide them a resource within your organization that they can go to if they have questions.
For assistance developing a policy, contact us!