cannabisnews.com: Rapid-Result Drug Tests are Gaining Popularity





Rapid-Result Drug Tests are Gaining Popularity
Posted by FoM on May 12, 2000 at 11:40:19 PT
By Lois M. Collins, Deseret News Staff Writer
Source: Deseret News
An increasing number of companies require employees  or those applying for jobs  to submit to drug screening. And they want to get the results back as soon as possible.Rapid-result drug tests are suddenly very popular, according to Dr. Howard Leaman, medical director of Intermountain Health Care's Health Services to Business program. The program's Salt Lake area WorkMed Clinics now offer rapid testing as one option.
But rapid testing is only truly rapid if the results are negative for drug use. Any specimen that might be positive for use must by law be confirmed in a traditional laboratory test. Possible positives are reported out as "needs further testing," since that doesn't necessarily mean illicit drug use is a fact.The rapid test is a chemical test done in a disposable urine testing container or with a card that is dipped in such a container or by similar methods. The test contains a reagent strip that will show a reaction if it detects drugs. There's a built-in threshold, so there can be no question that someone is testing positive for, say, secondhand marijuana smoke. It documents only personal use.The rapid test can detect marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamines and PCP.But Leaman is quick to point out that, along with advantages, rapid screening also has pitfalls."The biggest drawback is that the donor of the specimen can introduce an adulterant into the urine so that test results come back as negative" when illicit drugs are, in fact, being used, he said.Labs test first for adulterants. And "many companies have policies that deal with that; sometimes worse than for testing positive" for drug use, he said.Adulterants can often get past the rapid test. "Clinics go out of their way to control collection of specimens. But you can get into almost any specimen" if you're determined, Leaman said.Sheran Smith, president of Northwest Toxicology, notes that "these devices can be useful in obtaining rapid negative test results, however, the importance of confirmation testing cannot be over-emphasized." In the specimens that underwent the follow-up testing at Northwest Toxicology during the first three months of 1999, only half of those that screened possibly positive for amphetamines and 25 percent of those that that screened possibly positive for opiates were actually confirmed to result from illicit drug use. The rest of them, she said, were found to contain prescription medications or other substances that "cross-react with the screening immunoassays or contained drugs below the cutoff levels."Follow-up lab testing was unable to confirm use of marijuana, cocaine or PCP between 7 and 8 percent of the time.If the drug test can be beaten and the results aren't always accurate, why use that method? Leaman said it's very simple. Employers can kill a lot of time having drug tests done and getting results back. In some cases, positions may not be filled until the process is completed. By rapidly finding employees or applicants who test negative for drug use, work can begin immediately.The cost for the two testing methods is about the same, he said, but having the results back quickly can translate into a fatter bottom line for businesses.While there's potential to use the rapid test to see if your teenager is smoking marijuana or taking other drugs, Leaman doesn't recommend it. "If you are the parent of a teenager and worried that your child is using drugs, you should arrange screening through a program or a group that does counseling." For one thing, teenagers have made popular several substances that wouldn't be found with the test, like Ecstasy. And counseling and support are important.Sports teams, however, may find rapid testing a good idea as a screening tool, he said.And people who must have Department of Transportation testing, such as pilots and truckers, are never offered the rapid screening option. A test in a regular lab is required.You can reach Lois M. Collins by e-mail at: lois desnews.com Published: May 12, 2000Copyright  2000, Deseret News Publishing Corp. CannabisNews Drug Testing Articles & Archives:http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/list/drug_testing.shtmlhttp://alltheweb.com/cgi-bin/search?type=all&query=cannabisnews+drug+testing
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Comment #4 posted by Jackie on May 05, 2001 at 21:26:23 PT:
Drug tests, adulterants and specific drugs
I sell some of these rapid result drug tests, and I wanted to point out that this article contains some falicies. First of all, adulterant strips may be used and some are even built in to the testing device. There are tests that test for up to 10 different drugs! THC (marijuana), Cocaine, Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, PCP, Opiates, Benzodiazepines, Methadone, TCA and barbiturates. This covers almost any type of drug imaginable. Also, parents may wish to purchase these products as a deterrant to keep their children from trying drugs. I would be happy to answer any other questions at 888-215-8228. Thanks, Jackie Coleman Co-Owner of Rocky Mountain Health Screens
http://www.rmhealthscreens.com
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on May 13, 2000 at 08:43:37 PT:
Oh, really, now?
'But rapid testing is only truly rapid if the results are negative for drug use. Any specimen that might be positive for use must by law be confirmed in a traditional laboratory test. Possible positives are reported out as "needs further testing," since that doesn't necessarily mean illicit drug use is a fact.'Yes, but how many employers, facing time and expense constraints, will not be prone to using that same classification to 'weed out' ( no pun intended, this is far too serious for that) rather than re-test those they suspect? I have no doubt that this happens already.'The rapid test is a chemical test done in a disposable urine testing container or with a card that is dipped in such a container or by similar methods. The test contains a reagent strip that will show a reaction if it detects drugs. There's a *built-in threshold*, so there can be no *question* that someone is testing positive for, say, secondhand marijuana smoke. *It documents only personal use*. (Emphasis mine)Since all urine tests check for metabolites that result from contact with illicit substances, and those metabolites are measured in parts per million, then these tests must be even more highly sensitive...measuring parts per billion, perhaps? Truly, an astonishing breakthrough in medical technology! Such fine delineation can now open the door for incredibly sensitive medical testing that can determine the presence of a dangerous disease well before it manifests symptoms! Wow! Why haven't we seen anything about this in medical journals (I read the JAMA at the local library all the time, and I haven't seen any mention of these super precise tests)?Simply perhaps, like jackalopes, snallygasters, and other such mythical creatures, they simply don't exist. And this lazy 'reporter', swilling DrugWarrior propaganda from the same old trough, was too enamored of having an 'inside source' to ask a simple question: who says it is so effective that it can tell the difference between second hand smoke and primary exposure?Once again, the lapdog media is too busy licking the hand that feeds it its' daily tripe to question the veracity of what it's being fed. And then, in stentoriamn tones every night, dares to inform us what unalloyed reality is.
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Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on May 12, 2000 at 21:36:15 PT
Rapid Fire
Now they could rapidly fire you, of course that's always a good excuse if you're not productive.
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Comment #1 posted by J. Bills on May 12, 2000 at 19:47:49 PT:
Rapid or not, urinalysis is ILLEGAL!
Is it your business what your employer does when he is NOT at work, as long as he is in a sober state when he comes to work? If not, then why should our PRIVATE LIVES be perused by EMPLOYERS, if we are sober when we walk in the door? A vast majority of current tests show only PAST drug ugage within certain limits or quantities; or metabolites. The limits placed on the tests are FAR BELOW what would be present in the urine required for even VERY MILD intoxication. In fact, I tested positive for marijuana 43 days after my last doobage during rehab! And you are going to tell me that it is your business what I may have done 43 days ago, LET ALONE 3 HOURS BEFORE I set foot in the door of the JOBSITE? 
The Libertarians
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