Dedicated to clarity: Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Drug and Alcohol testing, curated from our extensive experience.

How long do drugs stay in my system?

This depends upon several factors and timelines can vary significantly between people and their differing circumstances. These aspects can include, but are not limited to, the amount of the drug consumed, the strength of the drug, and how frequent the consumption, the tolerance levels of the individual, and the weight/ metabolic rate of the person.

In general, drugs can be detected in the urine for up to 5 days for one-off use, and up to 6 weeks for chronic use, whereas oral fluid (saliva) has a smaller detection window where the drugs can be detectable for 1-2 days. However, these time periods can be shorter/longer.

How soon after a drug was taken can it be detected?

The point at which a drug becomes detectable varies depending upon the sample type. Drugs can be detectable in urine within 4-6 hours, whereas drugs can be detectable in oral fluid within minutes.

What type of samples can you test?

Here at AttoSure we can test urine and oral fluid samples for drugs of abuse and alcohol. We have a comprehensive variety of point-of-care tests available to suit your testing needs. We also offer the option of bespoke point-of-care test panels, so if there is something particular you would like, please get in touch (minimum order levels apply). Alongside our urine and oral fluid testing options, we can offer rapid BBV testing products and breath alcohol testing devices.

Although we do not perform hair testing here at AttoSure, our trusted sister company, Anglia DNA, can offer these services – please get in touch today.

What is the correct urine temperature that I should expect?

32 – 38 °C

Any temperature outside of this range indicates that it may not have come from a human body, and the sample may have been adulterated. All of our urine cup tests have integrated temperature strips to take to help manage the issue of sample integrity.

Will I fail my drugs test if I am on prescribed medication?

You will not fail your drugs test if you have declared your prescribed medication, but it is likely you will still receive a positive/non-negative result. You may need to bring a copy of your prescription in support of your declaration. All medications taken within the past 14 days should be disclosed to the sample collector and be noted on the collection form.

If I have eaten Poppy Seeds, will I fail my drugs test?

Poppy seeds are a popular ingredient in a number of foods. The poppy seeds themselves are harvested from the opium poppy, which is where other opiates are derived, such as Codeine and Morphine, and can sometimes contain trace amounts of these if not washed properly in the food preparation process. As a result of this, poppy seeds can cause a positive/non-negative result at the screening stage but will not cause the donor to fail a drugs test because of it.

What does a very faint line on an onsite drug test mean?

We adopt the principle of ‘any line is a line’, indicating a negative result has been obtained.

What is a cutoff level and what makes a test positive?

A cutoff level is the minimum value at which a result is a positive. A positive (or non-negative in some scenarios) result is a concentration greater than the cutoff for that drug. It also indicates that the drug has been used but cannot specify when or how much of the drug was used. Our laboratory cutoffs are set in line with the direction published within the European Workplace Drug Testing Society (EWDTS) guidelines.

Why should my workplace introduce a Drug and Alcohol policy?

Drug and Alcohol use presents a serious risk to the individual, their co-workers and at times the public. Drug and other substance (e.g., solvent) misuse is everyone’s concern. In the context of work, not only does it damage the misuser’s health, but it can cost employers through absenteeism and reduced productivity. It may also increase the risk of accidents. The HSE recommends employers should adopt a substance misuse policy, in consultation with their staff.

All companies want to ensure they meet their obligations to their staff and legal requirements under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare at work of their employees. Also, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states it is advisable to assess the risks to the health and safety of their employees. If an employer knowingly allows an employee under the influence of drug misuse to continue working and their behaviour places the employee or others at risk, the employer could be prosecuted. Employees are also required to take reasonable care of themselves and others who could be affected by what they do at work.

In addition, the Transport and Works Act 1992 makes it a criminal offence for certain workers to be unfit through drugs and/or drink while working on railways, tramways, and other guided transport systems. The operators of the transport system would also be guilty of an offence unless they had shown all due diligence in trying to prevent such an offence being committed.

Introducing a Drug and Alcohol testing policy in the workplace is not expensive and will actually gain greater productivity across staff, less accidents through impairment and subsequent legal proceedings.

What is the UK policy on drug testing?

Drug testing is legal in the UK, but there are regulations that employers must follow. An employer must justify their use of workplace drug testing, if they are not already in an industry that requires this by law, and should have a clear policy on the subject, which should be communicated to all members of staff. The company must ensure that the testing is performed in a consistent and fair manner.

The policy should also include what happens if an employee fails a drug test. Additionally, employers must make reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities that may affect the drug test results.

Do you offer training services?

We do indeed! AttoSure believes in supporting the products and services we provide by delivering straightforward and thorough training. Our training sessions can be tailored to your specific needs, and will be sure to address all aspects of the services we provide, including:

  • An introduction to Drug & Alcohol Testing
  • Urine & Oral Fluid Point of Care Testing
  • Breath Alcohol Testing
  • Factors impacting Testing
  • Chain of Custody procedures
  • Kit Storage
  • Sample Collection
  • Result Interpretation
  • Windows of Detection
  • Over the Counter, Prescribed Medications & Supplements – Cross Reactivity
  • Frequently Asked Questions

All training sessions end with a knowledge check, and certificates of attendance will be provided to all attendees.

How do I know that the POC test is working correctly?

All of the point of care tests provided by AttoSure have a built-in control line. A control line is to ensure that the test works and runs correctly and is present for all drugs within the test device. If the control line does not appear, the test is considered invalid. This could be for several reasons, such as insufficient volume of sample or incorrect procedural techniques, but a retest will be required with a new test device. Examples of the various outcomes can be seen below.

How can I contact my Account Manager?

Your dedicated Account Manager will always be on hand to help with any query you have regarding any of our services, no matter how small. They can be contacted via telephone or email, whichever is easiest for you. When you complete the customer onboarding process, you will be assigned an Account Manager and will be given their contact details. If they cannot be contacted, please also feel free to contact the office on 01603 327808, where our experienced team will also be happy to help.

Why is the confirmation result I have received negative when the screen result was positive/non-negative?

There may be occasions whereby the initial screening test result will be positive, but the follow-up confirmatory result will be negative. This can be due to several reasons, one of which being cross-reactivity. Cross-reactivity is the interaction of structurally similar compounds to that of the drug of interest whereby they bind to the specific antibody for the drug. This is common with immunoassay screening methodologies and is the reason that confirmatory tests are always recommended in these cases, and that a drug test outcome should not be decided on the screen results alone.

Another reason for difference between the initial screening result, and the follow-up confirmation result, is that the amount of drug present in the sample could be below the confirmation cutoff concentration. Screening looks for the drug group as a whole and is cumulative, whereas the confirmatory analysis will look for the drugs on an individual basis.

My sample has failed chain of custody procedures, why can’t it be tested?

The chain of custody procedure is paramount in ensuring the sample is unequivocally linked to the donor, and that the sample has not been tampered with in any way prior to receipt of the sample for analysis. The chain of custody is a set of procedures/ documentation that accounts for the specimen by tracking its handling and storage from point of collection to final disposal, when all testing has been completed.

If the chain of custody has been broken at any stage in the process, it no longer proves beyond reasonable doubt that the received sample is the same sample that was collected from the donor during the collection appointment. Therefore, the test is no longer legally defensible.

A break in the chain of custody could also indicate potential tampering of/ interference with the sample, which will affect the results.

What is a “B” sample and why is it needed?

Workplace drug testing kits will be supplied with 2 separate containers to collect the specimen for analysis, an A and a B sample. The A sample is the specimen used to conduct the laboratory testing, and the B sample is retained in storage, unopened. The B sample is required in times of donor challenges to results. If the donor does not agree with the reported test results, they can opt to ‘release’ their B sample for analysis at an alternative accredited laboratory. The purpose of the B sample analysis is simply to ascertain if the drug detected in the A sample, is also present in the B sample. All B sample testing is conducted at the donor’s, or representative’s, expense.

How important is the 10 minute “nil by mouth” stage before an oral fluid or breath alcohol test?

“Nil by mouth” in these test situations is the most important aspect to consider prior to the commencement of the testing.

The “nil by mouth” stage where breath alcohol testing is concerned is crucial to ensure that there are no residual traces of alcohol in the donor’s mouth prior to the start of the test, which could come from something innocent such as some mouthwashes, which may lead to inaccurate results.

Where oral fluid testing is concerned, not only does it ensure that there are no residual traces of drugs in the donor’s mouth, but several foods and/ or drugs are known to affect the secretion of oral fluid. Chewing gum is known to stimulate the production of oral fluid. When this occurs, it can change the pH of the environment, and the amount of the potential drug(s) present within the oral fluid. Studies have shown that drug concentrations can be lowered up to five-fold in these situations.

How can I place an order for drug testing kits?

To place an order for drug testing kits, get in touch with the office today on 01603 327808 or office@attosure.co.uk, or contact your Account Manager who will be able to submit the order on your behalf.

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