Hair Follicle Drug Testing!

Hair Sample

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


Are you interested in looking at adding hair testing to your drug testing program? Give us a call; we are always happy to help! 1.800.452.0030 ext. 203.

Click here to watch out Hair Testing, Oral Fluid Testing, and Urine Drug Testing video! 

Refusal To Test

Refusing Paperwork

What is a refusal to take a DOT drug test, and what are the consequences? The DOT regulations speak to refusals in subpart I – Problems in Drug Testing. The three rules that are commonly cited are 40.191, 40.193, and 40.195. A refusal to test is much broader than the employee telling their employer that they will not have the test completed.

(a) As an employee, you have refused to take a drug test if you:

(1) Fail to appear for any test (except a pre-employment test) within a reasonable time, as determined by the employer, consistent with applicable DOT agency regulations, after being directed to do so by the employer. This includes the failure of an employee (including an owner-operator) to appear for a test when called by a C/TPA (see §40.61(a));

(2) Fail to remain at the testing site until the testing process is complete; Provided, That an employee who leaves the testing site before the testing process commences (see §40.63 (c)) for a pre-employment test is not deemed to have refused to test;

(3) Fail to provide a urine specimen for any drug test required by this part or DOT agency regulations; Provided, That an employee who does not provide a urine specimen because he or she has left the testing site before the testing process commences (see §40.63 (c)) for a pre-employment test is not deemed to have refused to test;

(4) In the case of a directly observed or monitored collection in a drug test, fail to permit the observation or monitoring of your provision of a specimen (see §§40.67(l) and 40.69(g));

(5) Fail to provide a sufficient amount of urine when directed, and it has been determined, through a required medical evaluation, that there was no adequate medical explanation for the failure (see §40.193(d)(2));

(6) Fail or decline to take an additional drug test the employer or collector has directed you to take (see, for instance, §40.197(b));

(7) Fail to undergo a medical examination or evaluation, as directed by the MRO as part of the verification process, or as directed by the DER under §40.193(d). In the case of a pre-employment drug test, the employee is deemed to have refused to test on this basis only if the pre-employment test is conducted following a contingent offer of employment. If there was no contingent offer of employment, the MRO will cancel the test; or

(8) Fail to cooperate with any part of the testing process (e.g., refuse to empty pockets when directed by the collector, behave in a confrontational way that disrupts the collection process, fail to wash hands after being directed to do so by the collector).

(9) For an observed collection, fail to follow the observer’s instructions to raise your clothing above the waist, lower clothing and underpants, and to turn around to permit the observer to determine if you have any type of prosthetic or other device that could be used to interfere with the collection process.

(10) Possess or wear a prosthetic or other device that could be used to interfere with the collection process.

(11) Admit to the collector or MRO that you adulterated or substituted the specimen.

If the employee is concerned about COVID-19 and refuses to go into the clinic to have the collection completed, it is deemed a refusal to test. If the test is considered a refusal, you must consider it as a violation. As a result, the refusal must get reported to the clearinghouse. For information on how to handle this violation, please read our other article here.

If you have any questions, please contact us! We are here anytime to assist you with compliance!

What Is A Dilute Drug Test?

Water In A Drinking Glass

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!

Medical Review Officer (MRO) Services

Doctor With Pill Bottle

Medical Review Officer (MRO) is a licensed physician responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer’s drug testing program. Regulations require that Medical Review Officers have knowledge about the pharmacology and toxicology of prescriptions as well as illicit drugs. An MRO should also have knowledge of the federal agency drug testing regulations and guidelines from the Department Of Transportation.

As a Medical Review Officer (MRO), we must act as an independent and impartial “gatekeeper” and advocate for the accuracy and integrity of the drug testing process. Nationwide Testing Association, Inc., is required to review the documents for possible errors, interview donors who have non-negative results to determine if there is a legitimate medical explanation for their results, and provide feedback to employers regarding performance problems, if necessary.

At Nationwide Testing Association, Inc., our Medical Review Officers (MRO) are certified by a nationally recognized MRO certification board. We ensure that our MROs maintain their certifications by retaking and passing the exam every five years.

Medical Review Officer (MRO) Process

The first part of the process is the collection; the employee/donor/applicant will go into the collection site to provide the required specimen. The collection site will follow applicable protocols and will ship the specimen, along with the lab copy of the Custody and Control Form (CCF), to the laboratory to begin testing. The collection site should also transmit the Medical Review Officer and the DER copy of the CCF to the correct parties.

Once the laboratory receives the specimen, they will begin conducting the required testing. Once completed, the laboratory will transmit the results to the MRO to review and report.

After the Custody and Control Form (CCF) is received, the donor’s name and id number are entered into the system. The Custody and Control Form is then processed so that it will link to the result.

When the lab results are received through an electronic interface, they are immediately downloaded into our system. During this process, the result links to the client, the donor record, and the Custody and Control Form. The system will also determine an applicable status for the result based on pre-set identifiers and criteria

If the lab result is non-negative the system will automatically assign that result to our Medical Review Office, they are then reviewed by our Medical Review Officers. Each donor with a non-negative result will have the opportunity to speak with an MRO regarding their results.

If the lab result is negative, they will report to the company automatically through the system. If the laboratory results appear positive, the MRO will interview the donor to discuss the results and then the final report will be distributed to the company. The medical review process offers an opportunity for the donor to provide a valid medical explanation for any questionable results. Our process is designed to protect individuals and employers from wrongful accusations. We exceed all federal and state regulations and help you maintain a safer workplace!

Contact us today to learn about the Nationwide Difference!

Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Employment

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!

Non-DOT Drug Testing: What to Consider

Non-DOT Drug Testing

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:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Update your test panel to include a more comprehensive and current configuration.
  3. Provide updated information to employees on current trends in substance abuse and the dangers of substance abuse.
  4. 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.

Contact us today to discuss the numerous options for enhancing the effectiveness of your workplace testing program!