Drug abuse in the workplace puts employers at a risk for increased accidents, more
absenteeism, lower productivity, and higher insurance costs. Urine testing, like all drug
testing methodologies, helps to mitigate these risks by filtering out drug users from an
employer’s workforce as well as deterring drug use within it.
Q: Why is urine testing the most frequently used method for drug testing?
A: Businesses drug test their applicants and employees to minimize their exposure to
the risks of workforce drug use. While all drug test specimen types – urine, oral fluid and
hair – have their advantages, urine drug testing is by far the most flexible and
customizable. With hundreds of different combinations of illicit and other commonly abused drugs, order codes and cutoff levels, there’s a urine drug test panel for almost any
Q: What drug testing situations are best suited to a lab-based, urine test?
A: Urine testing is an ideal solution for every testing reason including pre-employment,
random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return-to-duty and follow-up testing.
Businesses rely on laboratory-based urine testing for its cost-effectiveness, capacity to
screen for a wide variety of drug substances, both illicit and prescribed (i.e., prescription
drugs, for which their use or misuse could impact workplace safety).
Q: What drugs are detected with a urine test?
A: Comprehensive Drug Screening tests for the following drugs: amphetamines, barbiturates,
benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, MDMA (ecstasy) and its metabolite, methadone,
opiates, oxycodone, phencyclidine (PCP) and propoxyphene, synthetic cannabinoids
(“K2/Spice”) and synthetic stimulants (“Bath Salts”). Additionally, we offer specialized
panels such as Medical Professional Panels for a broad range of prescription drugs more
accessible in the healthcare industry and a steroids panel to detect performance enhancing drugs and anabolic steroid use.
Q: What is the detection window for a lab-based, urine drug test?
A: Urine drug testing typically detects recent drug use in the previous 24 to 72 hours.
Q: What is the standard turnaround time for a lab-based urine test?
A: Urine drug test specimens go through a two-tiered testing process at the laboratory.
The initial screening is performed on one portion of the specimen and is designed to
rapidly differentiate negative specimens from those that need additional testing, on
a different portion of the specimen, to confirm the outcome. Negative screening results are
often released within 24 hours and non-negative screens are typically released within an
additional 24 to 72 hours.
Q: How is a urine drug test collected?
A: Urine drug testing requires a minimum of 30 mL of urine (45 mL for a U.S. Department
of Transportation collection) collected in the privacy of a restroom. The collector pours the
specimen into a bottle that is sealed with tamper-evident tape. The specimen
and completed Custody and Control Form (CCF) are sent to the laboratory for testing.
Quest Diagnostics collection sites maintain an on-site inventory of urine testing supplies so
your donors simply need to show up with their documentation and provide their specimen.
Q: What training does a Quest Diagnostics collector receive prior to performing a urine
drug test collection?
A: We hold our collection sites to the highest standards of quality and professionalism. We
follow Department of Transportation (DOT) collector training protocols that include
qualification training (e.g., instructional videos online collection training, and tests)
as well as “mock” collections designed to ensure proper training. In addition, we
validate that sites follow the standard protocols by performing audits and conducting
anonymous “mystery shopper” programs. If an issue is discovered, we recommend
options for immediate correction.
Q: Do you offer an emergency urine drug test?
A: Yes. Our nationwide network of more than 6,000 certified collectors provides around the
clock access to emergency drug collections for post-accident or reasonable cause. With a
nationwide network of more than 200 dispatch offices, we’re there with an average
response and collection time of less than two hours.
Q: Do you offer on-site urine drug tests for events such as a job fair?
A: Yes. Performing collections at your place of business or job site offers benefits including
simplified logistics and the convenience of not having to coordinate the collection process.
Through our mobile, on-site collection service, we make it easier for you and your
employees to provide specimens for testing. Another option for testing is our Express
Results™ Online instant, urine test with speed that helps to hire candidates quickly. It
detects up to 11 commonly-abused drugs.
Q: Is a urine drug test approved for Department of Transportation testing?
A: Yes, urine testing is the only drug test type approved for federally-mandated drug testing.
To follow standardized procedures established by the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the DOT, urine test results are evaluated
by a Medical Review Officer after the urine specimens have been tested
for five classes of drugs (amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opiates and
phencyclidine) in a SAMHSA-certified laboratory. The DOT’s rule 49 CFR Part 40
describes required collection procedures for conducting workplace drug and alcohol
testing for the federally regulated transportation industry.
Q: Will a urine drug test stand up in court?
A: we have stood behind every drug test result reported by our
laboratory. Our results have successfully withstood legal challenges in workplace testing,
military proceedings and other civil jurisdictions. Our proven track record of success
supports the fact that we provide reliable, accurate urine drug testing results that you can
Q: What testing methodology is used?
A: For most urine drug tests, the initial screen is performed using Enzyme Immunoassay
(EIA) methodology. EIA involves a binding reaction between the target drug and/or drug
metabolite and an antibody producing a signal that is detected by automated instruments
indicating whether the target compound might be present in the specimen. This technology
provides fast, efficient separation of negative specimens from those that require further
testing. Confirmatory drug tests for the non-negative specimens are performed with Gas
Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) or Liquid Chromatography – Mass
Spectrometry (LC/MS) methodology. These instruments are capable of specifically
identifying and distinguishing the drug or drug metabolite from other compounds that might
be present in the specimen. At the same time, they can accurately measure the
concentration of the target compound.
Q: How are the results reported?
A: As with all laboratory-based drug testing, test results are logged into the laboratory
information system and reported to the customer or Medical Review Officer by a direct
interface, web reporting, confidential fax, printer or voice response.
Q: How long are urine drug test specimens maintained?
A: Laboratory test results and records are maintained for a minimum of two (2) years.
Note: Specimens that test negative are destroyed after 5 days, while specimens that test
positive are maintained in frozen storage for a minimum of 1 year.
Q: How much does a lab-based urine drug test cost?
A: The cost of the urine drug test will vary based upon volume and the number of drug panels