You will likely take the urine drug test in a bathroom specifically prepared for drug testing. The test procedure includes the following steps:

  1. You will receive a specimen cup from the person administering the test.
  2. You’ll need to leave your purse, briefcase, or other belongings in another room while you take the test. You’ll also need to empty your pockets.
  3. In rare cases, a same-gendered nurse or technician will accompany you into the bathroom to make sure you follow all testing procedures. They should explain the reason for this type of supervised testing.
  4. Clean your genital area with a moist cloth that the technician provides.
  5. Urinate into the cup. You need to produce at least 45 milliliters for the sample.
  6. When you finish urinating, put a lid on the cup and bring it to the technician.
  7. The temperature of your sample will be measured to ensure that it’s in the expected range.
  8. Both you and the collector must keep visual contact with the urine specimen at all times until it’s been sealed and packaged for testing.
Urine drug test results

Some sites have instant results, some do not. Depending of the reason for the drug test, the sample is often sent out for testing so that a formal report can be generated.

Immunoassays, the most common type of urine drug screening, don’t measure drugs themselves. Rather, they detect how the drug interacts with the body’s immune system and its ability to form antigen-antibody complexes.

Results of this test are expressed in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). The test uses a cutoff point. Any result below the cutoff number is a negative screen and any number above the cutoff number is a positive screen.

If it’s an instant result, the people who administer the drug test usually give the results in terms of positive or negative rather than numeric values. Many instant immunoassay tests don’t display the ng/mL measurements. Rather, the results appear on a test strip that turns different colors to indicate the presence of various substances.

If you get a positive result for illegal drugs that you haven’t taken, you should make sure to get a GC/MS follow-up test immediately. You will also want to talk to the medical review officer (MRO). This is the physician in charge of interpreting and reporting the results of any drug testing done in their facility.