Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does it take to get a negative drug test result?
Approximately 24 to 48 hours.
2. What does a dilute result mean?
A dilute specimen is a urine specimen that has a greater concentration of water than that of a normal urine specimen. Dilute specimens are generally caused by oral hydration of fluids and are usually more clear in appearance that normal urine. It is possible that a specimen could be dilute due to inadvertent over-hydration, several medications taken by the donor or existing medical conditions. However, it is also possible that the donor has intentionally over-hydrated, or water-loaded, to avoid the detection of presence of drugs in the specimen.
3. What is the difference between initial screening and confirmation testing at the lab?
The initial screening process at the lab separates the negative from non negative results. GCMS testing is an extremely accurate test that is completed on non negative results which provides quantitative results for the presence of a specific drug or drug metabolite.
4. Why are some people randomly tested more than once?
"Is the boss singling me out? I just did a random last month? Joe, never gets tested? I don’t think this thing is random at all!"
Those are not uncommon concerns among some safety-sensitive employees, and many employers have been challenged in court to demonstrate that their programs are truly random. The reality is that in a truly random selection process, a high probability exists that some employees will be selected several times while others may never be selected. Why? Because after each selection, the employee’s name is returned to the same pool, and he or she becomes just as likely as anyone else to be selected next time.
5. What are the retention times for drugs?
6. Do I need to tell the collector at the time of specimen collection what prescriptions I am currently taking?
No, however, it does help to have prescriptions available in the coming days in the event that you are contacted by the Medical Review Officer.
7. How does the testing laboratory determine if a specimen is dilute?
The first step in urine-specimen screening is called validity testing. Validity testing determines the authenticity and concentration of the urine specimen. To make this determination, testing laboratories measure the specimen’s specific gravity and creatinine levels. The range for specific gravity in a normal urine specimen is greater-than-or-equal-to 1.003. The range of creantinine in a normal urine specimen is greater-than-or-equal-to 20mg/dl. If BOTH the specific gravity and the creatinine levels fall below the normal range, the specimen is considered dilute. Although a specimen is considered dilute, the testing laboratory still screens the specimen for the presence of drugs, and dilute specimens can occasionally yield a positive result. If a dilute specimen is positive, the result is treated as a positive result and sent to the MRO. Dilute specimens that are negative for the presence of drugs will be reported as ‘negative dilute.’
8. What is specific gravity?
It is a ratio comparing the density of the urine to the density of water. This checks the amount of substances in the urine. It also shows how well the kidneys balance the amount of water in urine. The higher the specific gravity, the more solid material is in the urine. When you drink a lot of fluid, your kidneys make urine with a high amount of water in it which has a low specific gravity. When you do not drink fluids, your kidneys make urine with a small amount of water in it which has a high specific gravity.
9. What is the review process at the MRO office?
The MRO receives the result from the lab and obtains all necessary paperwork. The MRO will then contact and interview the donor. The MRO will report out the negative results on our website and positive results will be reported to the company DER. The normal turnaround time for a non-negative result is 48 – 72 hours depending on the availability and cooperation of the donor with the MRO.
10. How do I reach the MRO (Medical Review Officer)?
Please contact Client Services Department and we will facilitate contact with the MRO’s office.
11. How do I obtain a status for drug test results?
Contact Client Services Department
12. What methods of drug testing are available?
Multiple methods of drug testing are available. Please contact our Sales Department for further evaluation of your drug testing needs.
13. Why conduct random testing?
Random testing is the most effective way to deter substance abuse and convey the company's commitment to a drug-free workplace. Benefits include:
- Saves lives and prevents injuries
- Helps employers identify workers with substance abuse issues and facilitate their treatment
- Allows employees to easily say no to illegal drug use. "No thanks, my employer tests at work."
- Reduces liability
- It's a fair way of testing
14. How far does Hair Testing go back?
Hair testing generally uses 1-1/2 inches of hair represents about 3 months’ of growth. It is generally accepted that in order to test positive, the drug in question must have been used 3 times or more within the window of the test. After a drug is used, it takes about 7-10 days for the hair containing the drug to grow out of the scalp enough to be cut. Consequently, the hair test will not include drugs used in the week prior to the test.
15. What is creatinine?
Creatinine is a byproduct of protein metabolism that occurs in human urine. It is a substance which is formed after breakdown of a product called creatine. It is a chemical waste molecule generated during muscle metabolism. In simpler words, creatinine is formed, when food is changed to energy, through metabolism. About 2% of creatine in the body is converted into creatinine everyday. It is formed in the body at a steady rate and is often not affected by diet or normal physical activities. It makes its way into the kidney through the bloodstream. Creatinine is flushed out of the body through the kidneys into the urine. There is a little or no reabsorption of creatinine in the body.
16. What is a DER?
The Designated Employer Representative (DER) is your key employee for many drug and alcohol program functions. The DER must be a company employee. DERs cannot be contractors or service agents. The only exception is when C/TPAs function as DERs for owner-operator truck drivers.
17. What is the DER (Designated Employer Representative) responsibility when a non-negative result is received?
For a DOT test, refer to CFR part 40 for company specifications. For Non Dot test, refer to your company policy.
18. What are Medical Review Officers (MRO)?
Under DOT regulations, MROs are licensed physicians with knowledge and clinical experience in substance abuse disorders. They must also complete qualification training courses and fulfill obligations for continuing education courses. They serve as independent, impartial gatekeepers to the accuracy and integrity of the DOT drug testing program. All laboratory results are sent to an MRO for verification before a company is informed of the result. As a safeguard to quality and accuracy, the MRO reviews each test and rules out any other legitimate medical explanation before verifying the results as positive, adulterated or substituted.
19. What other Drug/Alcohol support services does SECON provide?
SECON provides full Drug/Alcohol support such as Drug Screen Collections, On-Site Collections, Reasonable Suspicion/Supervisor Training, DOT Collector Training and Random Program Management etc.
20. If the applicant/employee fails a DOT drug test can they be sent back in for another test?
No, the employee must be removed performing safety-sensitive duties and complete the Return-to-Duty process.
21. The applicant/employee fails a DOT drug test can they contest the test results?
Federal regulations permit the applicant/employee to request the split specimen that was collected at the time of the original specimen be sent to another laboratory for testing. This request should be made to the MRO within 72 hours of the employee being notified of the positive test result.
22. If the employee requests the split to be tested who pays for it?
The regulations give the employee the right to request the split specimen be tested. The company can’t deny the employee's request for testing. If the company wants the employee to pay for the retest it must be stated in the company policy and will then have a means for withholding the cost of the test from the employee's pay.
23. The company receives a negative/dilute test result from the MRO are they required to send the applicant/employee back for another test?
No, an employer may accept a negative/dilute test result as a negative test. If the employer wants a retest it may do so, however, it must be stated in the employer's policy and the employer must require a retest of all individuals that have a negative/dilute result in the same testing category. For example, an employer may choose to retest on pre-employment tests only. If so, all applicants with a negative/dilute result will be required to retest.
24. What if the DOT covered employee refuses a drug or alcohol test?
Consequences for refusing a test are the same as if the employee had a verified positive drug test or an alcohol test of 0.04 or greater.
25. What happens if a DOT covered employee tests positive for drugs or an alcohol test of 0.04 or greater?
The employee must be immediately removed from performing any safety-sensitive functions as defined by the regulations (varies by agency that regulates the employer). The employee may not return to performing safety-sensitive duties for any DOT covered employer until he/she has been evaluated by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), completed treatment required by the SAP, been reevaluated and cleared for a return-to-duty test, and will be subject to a minimum of 6 follow-up tests to be conducted in the first 12 months after their return-to-duty. Follow-up testing may continue for up to 5 years as determined by the SAP.
26. Will prescription drugs make me test positive?
Use of some prescription medications may result in a positive drug test. In this event, a Medical Review Officer (MRO) or other appropriate company personnel may inquire to determine if the employee has a legitimate medical explanation, such as a physician's prescription, for the result.
27. What is "synthetic marijuana"?
Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of dried herbs and spices sprayed with chemicals that, when smoked, create a high similar to THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana. “Spice” and “K2” are two popular names for these products.
28. As an employer, do I have to do DOT testing?
Yes, if you or your employees are subject to the DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. The DOT Agencies and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) have regulations that require certain employers to comply with drug and alcohol testing rules. To see if your company is covered, you can go to a feature on our website called, ―Am I Covered? at: http://www.dot.gov/odapc/am-i-covered
29. Do I need to have written policies that explain my program?
Yes. The DOT Agencies and USCG require employers covered under their regulations to have policies in place that fully explain their drug and alcohol program. Not only must you have policies, but you must also make them available to employees covered under your DOT program.
30. Will my results be confidential?
Your test results are confidential. An employer or service agent (e.g. testing laboratory, MRO or SAP) is not permitted to disclose your test results to outside parties without your written consent. But, your test information may be released (without your consent) in certain situations, such as: legal proceedings, grievances, or administrative proceedings brought by you or on your behalf, which resulted from a positive or refusal. When the information is released, the employer must notify you in writing of any information they released.