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DRUG TESTS- AN INSIGHT

Drug can be termed as any substance that, when injected, consumed, inhaled, smoked, absorbed through the human skin or can be dissolved by keeping it under the tongue other than food that gives nutritional support to the body causes a great physiological change in the human body. Earlier the drugs were obtained from extracting the medicinal plants in order to cure, treat, diagnose and to prevent the disease but now days it has been obtained from organic synthesis. The drugs obtained from medicinal plants were used for a short period and if there is any chronic disease they can be used on regular basis.

In order to know the presence or absence of any specified drug a technical analysis is conducted of a biological specimen like hair, breath, urine, sweat, and blood or saliva/oral fluid. The technical analysis so conducted is termed as drug tests.

Recently various institutions, hospitals, schools, colleges and the employment places conduct drug testing.  In sports drug testing is done in order to detect the presence of steroids as used by players for enhancing their performance.

The employers can screen their employees for cocaine, heroin like drugs that are prohibited by the law. The police officers conduct tests for the presence of alcohol in the blood in order to see the blood alcohol content.

The drug detection will depend upon various factors such as the class of drug, frequency of use of drug, age of the person taking drugs, health of that person, body mass, metabolic rate, and the pH of urine. The detection period approximate values are as below:

  • Alcohol can be tested up to 6-24 hours in urine and up to 90 days in hair of the alcohol consuming person.
  • Amphetamines can be tested up to 1-3 days in urine and up to 90 days in hair.
  • Methamphetamine can be tested up to 3-5 days in urine and up to 90 days in hair.

The seal of the evidence is checked before testing the sample and if the sample is found to be damaged or tempered then the laboratory conducting the test do not perform the test and rejects the sample. The testing of laboratory has two steps involved:

  • Screening test- it is applied to all samples and immunoassay based test for drugs.
  • Confirmation test- samples that pass the screening test will undergo this test and specific chromatographic techniques are used in this.

When the sample is positive under screening and the confirmation tests then the person who ordered the test will be reported as positive. In case of any dispute or lawsuit the laboratory save the samples that are positive for couple of months or years. The testing can be done by urine drug testing, spray drug testing, oral fluid testing, hair drug testing.

It has been found that the employers who have drug free workplace witness employees to be more productive, less absenteeism, less accidents, improvements in morale, better health status in comparison to the employers having employees using drugs.

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