Everything You Need To Know About Blood Drug Testing
One of the major problems in the world today is the increase in the number of individuals who have become dependent on drugs and alcohol. What makes it worse is how it has affected so many young individuals, and how it has led to several deaths related to drug addiction.
The Most Commonly Abused Drugs
The purpose of this article is not to promote the usage of the following drugs but to inform you about the negative effects of these substances.
- Scientific Name: Cannabis Sativa
- Mode of Usage: Smoking
- Adverse Effects: speeds up heart rate, paranoia, difficulty to concentrate, heart disease.
- Street Names: Weed, Pot, Grass, Dope, Mary Jane, Hash, Aunt Mary
- Chemical Name: methyl (1R,2R,3S,5S)-3- (benzoyloxy)-8-methyl-8-azabicyclo[3.2.1] octane-2-carboxylate
- Mode of Usage: snorting, inhaling, or injecting into the veins
- Adverse Effects: tightens blood vessels, increases heart rate, paranoia, muscle spasm, convulsions, intense depression, increased craving for more drugs, hallucinations, panic and psychosis.
- Street Names: Aunt Nora, Snow, Paradise, Toot, White
- Chemical Name: (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate
- Mode of Usage: smoking, injecting or inhaling
- Adverse Effects: weakening of the immune system, respiratory illness, muscular weakness, loss of memory and intellectual performance, depression, insomnia.
- Street Names: Big H, Brown Sugar, Nose Drops, Thunder, Horse
- Chemical Name: N-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine
- Route of Administration: oral, intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, smoke inhalation, insufflation, rectal, vaginal
- Adverse Effects: psychosis, changes in brain structure, memory loss, aggressive or violent behavior, decreased appetite, rapid/irregular heartbeat
- Street Names: Crystal Meth, Glass, Ice, Speed, Crank, Tina’
Drugs: A Menace To Society
There have been endless debates on legalizing certain drugs – most especially cannabis – as some medical professionals claim that some of these substances are helpful in treating certain diseases and disorders. However, when these substances fall into the wrong hands, this may lead to abuse, and consequently irreparable damage and even death. Another rising issue related to drugs is how these illicit substances are being designed to mimic other drugs to replicate their effects despite using a different chemical composition. When taken with another substance or alcohol, these so-called designer drugs can increase its potency, and become potentially dangerous.
Fentanyl, a known synthetic opioid pain reliever, is typically prescribed to cancer patients to relieve them from chronic pain. Unfortunately, this has become notoriously labelled as a “club drug” or “party drug” and is believed to be at least 100 times more potent than morphine. It comes in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges. Fentanyl is one of the most commonly abused drugs sold at parties, concerts and music festivals.
There are at least 5,500 recorded deaths related to synthetic opioid abuse since 2013. This may be attributed to illegally made fentanyl, non-prescribed fentanyl and non-pharmaceutical fentanyl. The infamy of fentanyl is due to its being sold as either pure heroin / cocaine or a combination of both. In 2014, Ohio recorded the most number of confiscated fentanyl products. Meanwhile, in 2013, about 92 fentanyl-related unintentional overdose deaths were reported in the same state.
Some of the cases involved individuals who used the drug but were not aware that it was fentanyl that they were using. Most of the victims may have been made to believe that they’re using heroin or cocaine, but drug tests have proven it to be otherwise. In other drugs, some athletes have recently been in the news for their dishonesty in achieving their success in their respective sports.
The unscrupulous use of performance-enhancing drugs among athletes has become quite a notorious sensation for a time. Remember how Lance Armstrong admitted that he was doping through his cycling career? Most athletes who are still using these drugs have somehow found ways to still use these drugs without being caught. From masking to using fake urine, athletes with malicious intentions can pass their drug tests by cheating.
Drug Testing in the Workplace
In a general perspective, U.S. states allow drug testing among its applicants as long as employers follow procedures to prevent discrimination and inaccurate sampling. Some of the provisions in a typical drug testing policy include the following:
- Drug testing of applicants must be mentioned on job postings.
- All applicants must be tested similarly.
- The employer may offer a job to the applicant, contingent on passing a drug test.
- The drug testing should be administered by a state CLIA certified laboratory.
Testing Current Employees
The testing should focus on an individual whose performance may have been affected with the use of drug. Drug testing on employees may only be carried out after a workplace accident/injury happened and that the employer suspects or has a reason to believe that it may be cause by someone who is under the influence while art work.
Kinds of Drug Tests
Drug testing aims to determine the presence of certain drugs in an individual’s system. A basic drug test should be able to detect at least the following categories of drugs:
- Amphetamines (amphetamines, methamphetamines)
- Cannabinoids (marijuana)
- Cocaine (benzoylecognine)
- Opiates (codeine, heroin, morphine)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Here are the different types of drug testing methods available in the market:
Urine Drug Test
- Least expensive of all methods
- Can be done at home though laboratory verification is required to confirm results
- Drugs can be detected with the past week of usage
- Test result may be affected by abstaining from drug use for a long period of time
- Temperature is important to ensure integrity of the sample
- Considered non-intrusive method of testing
- Easy to conduct but may still need laboratory processing to ensure accuracy
- More expensive that urine drug test kits
- Can detect drugs that are more recently used
- Found to be more reliable in detecting Methamphetamine and Opiates and less reliable in detecting cannabinoids
Hair Drug Test
- More expensive than urine drug testing
- Can detect substances that have been used over a longer period of time
- Currently used drugs may not be detected
- Sample hair must be at least a diameter of a pencil and 1.5 inches in length
- Can determine the difference between poppy seed and opiate use
- Found to be reliable in detecting Cannabis, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Opiates, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Opiates, Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates and Phencyclidine
Blood Drug Test
- The most expensive method of drug testing
- Also the most intrusive drug testing method
- Considered to be the most accurate method among other drug tests
- Least commonly used form of drug testing because of its cost and invasiveness
Sweat Drug Test
- A bit of an intimidating type of drug test because it requires using a patch for an extended period of time
- Not a very common type of drug test used
- Accuracy is questionable
- Drug use can easily be detected because of the patch being used for an extended period of time due to sweat gathering on the patch
There are existing guidelines to determine if an individual is positive with drug use. If the value does not show more than the guidelines, then it is considered as “negative”. However, if the values show higher than the guidelines, then a confirmatory testing is done through a process called gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS).
Drug Test Cutoff Levels
Here are the allowable cutoff levels for drugs using the enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique (EMIT) test:
|Drug||Nanograms per Milliliter (ng/ml)|
Why Blood Testing is Not Common
A blood drug test is performed by extracting blood from a vein to detect usage of illicit drugs. Blood tests have the ability to detect the parent drug, unlike urine tests where only the metabolites are detected. Blood tests have a short detection window – a drug may no longer be detected after six hours of use.
Blood testing can be the most accurate type of drug test if the testing is done during the detection window. Any result that turns out to be positive cannot be denied of its accuracy. Any form of contamination may also be detected instantly. This is not a very common type of drug testing used despite of its accuracy because of the following reasons:
- It is the most invasive type of drug test.
- It is the most expensive type of drug test. This is the very reason why urine drug test is the most common type that is used because it is the least expensive of all drug tests.
- It requires medically trained administrators and specialized equipment.
- Results can take up to a week compared to other tests which can offer on the spot results.
When is Blood Testing Required?
There are certain instances wherein blood testing may be required, and these are based on the following situations:
- Insurance companies require drug testing when an individual applies for an insurance policy.
- An employer may require an employee to submit himself to a blood drug test prior to hiring.
- A blood test may be needed in court cases to prove whether an individual involved in a certain case was under the influence, especially when the incident led to death or serious injury.
Blood tests are commonly used at accident sites or in cases where a victim may be involved in a vehicular accident (DUI). This way, it can easily be detected if the person was under the influence of illegal drugs.
Why Blood Testing is the Most Accurate Type of Blood Test
Some drug users have discovered several schemes to alter their drug test results to evade being persecuted or fail an employment application. The usual drug test of choice is urine test because it is the least expensive of all drug tests. However, urine tests have become so common that some individuals attempt to cheat their way through these tests.
With blood testing, since it is only conducted by professionals, there is no way that any alteration or using contaminants can be possible. Additionally, any substance used to mask the existence of any drug during a blood drug test can also be detected.
How To Prepare for a Blood Drug Test
Prior to extraction of the sample, the individual should be able to inform the healthcare professional of any medications as well as its dosage that he might be taking, including over-the-counter drugs.
How To Pass A Blood Drug Test
The accuracy of blood drug testing within drug detection windows renders it nearly impossible to tamper with. If an individual has been using a certain drug, attempting to pass a scheduled blood drug test may require abstaining from taking the drug at least 1 day before extraction. However, this may be difficult to pull off, especially if the blood drug tests are conducted randomly and unannounced.
Some companies claim to have created products that help in detoxifying the body of drug metabolites, which sounds like a good solution for any drug addict who wishes to pass a drug test. However, no drug detox product has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Moreover, these products should also be taken with precaution especially by those who might be pregnant or have any existing medical conditions. On a final note, the best way to pass any blood drug test is to keep away from using any illicit drugs.