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Wondering where your Drug Testing Results are? Learn the Drug Testing Procedure to Find Out

Occupational Health

Drug testing procedure, drug testing results, drug test, employee screening, company policy

Patience and drug tests are two things that do not mix. Upon the collection for a drug test taking place, employers want to know immediately whether their employee can return to work or not. These emotions are entirely understandable and can be put at ease if the drug testing process and reoccurring delays are understood.

There are many drug testing options to consider. If you are looking to keep your employees at work, you can utilize instant tests and have your employees tested on site. This process enables your workers to stay at work, and receive negatives drug test results within a few minutes! Negative tests allow employees to return to work immediately, and if a test shows to be non negative, the specimen must be sent to a lab for confirmation testing. Information and education are key to the drug testing processes. There are location options, product options, and testable specimen options. The following process will briefly explain a standard drug testing process and touch on some delays that can affect the overall turnaround time of a drug test.

Standard Urine Drug Testing Process:

  1. Specimens are collected either at a clinic or on the job site.
  2. Specimens are sent from the collection site to a laboratory for testing. The transportation process from a lab currier or FedEx typically takes one business day. (weather and time of collection permitting)
  3. At the laboratory, specimens are tested Monday through Friday. Typically, the lab can report the result to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) within 24hours, which can then be reported to the company.
  4. Specimens that show levels of a banned substance go further into confirmation testing. This is a secondary investigation performed on the same specimen. It verifies the specific drug levels, pinpoints the actual drug consumed, and reports to a MRO. Some substances can take up to 7 days due to labs ensuring their findings are correct.
  5. The MRO will speak with the donor directly. The completion time is now dependent on the donor’s ability to quickly and effectively communicate with the MRO and provide a prescription that may have caused a positive result. The MRO will confirm the prescription and verify it was not being abused based on the levels of the drug in their system.

Potential Delays

This drug test process seems simple enough, but within each step there are many opportunities for a delay to take place. For instance, when a MRO is trying to get a hold of a donor, they are known to have difficulty getting the donor to answer the phone and cooperate. Additionally, delays can occur if a donor shows up at a clinic on a Friday at 4pm. This could prolong the process until Monday because the FedEx cut off time for overnight shipments is 3:30pm in most states, also the lab will not start testing any specimen received over the weekend until Monday. Another postponement could occur if a lab currier comes at 11am on a Monday and a specimen is collected at 12pm, the specimen would then not be sent to the lab until Tuesday. These are some of the many obstacles that have the potential of creating a longer turnaround time when receiving drug tests results.

Origin Can Help

Luckily, understanding the components to each step can significantly quicken the process and eliminate frustration. Additionally, there are Third Party Administrators like Origin who can help. Origin has manufactured a digital system that eliminates errors such as a chain of custody being forgotten or filled out incorrectly. Through this paperless platform, Origin has digitally integrated with clinics Nationwide and allows you to digitally schedule an employee drug test. Imagine being able to track the entire drug testing process without having to pick up the phone! The Origin system is transparent and allows you to be in the loop every step of the way. This means no waiting on hold with clinics and wasting valuable time. Leave drug testing to the experts, leave it to Origin.


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