Drug and Alcohol Tests

What is a Drug and Alcohol Test?

A drug and alcohol test is an analysis of a biological sample such as urine, hair, saliva, breath or blood. The analysis detects the presence of specific drug groups including ethanol (alcohol). The analysis determines prior drug and alcohol use. In addition, it can detect illegal drug use and/or the abuse of prescription drugs. Also, it can determine the use of performance enhancing drugs for sport. The alcohol test determines alcohol use, evidence of abstinence or chronic alcohol abuse.

In summary, the information below provides an overview of the types of tests we provide.

Urine instant Point of Care (POC) Drug Test

Indicates the potential presence of drugs of abuse. This uses immunoassay screening analysis.
This test option is a cost effective and a prompt method of determining recent drug use. Usually, initial screening results are available within minutes of sample collection.
We test a standard panel of 6 drugs, see below. We can test other drugs upon request. Also, alcohol testing is available with this drug test. For example, with a Breathalyser or Alcohol Saliva Screen.

  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamine
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Cannabis
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opiates

The extra drugs available for testing are:

  • Barbiturates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Methadone
  • Ketamine

Urine Laboratory Screen & Confirmation Drug and Alcohol Test

Confirms the presence of drugs of abuse using a UKAS 17025 accredited laboratory. This includes immunoassay screening and GCMS confirmation testing methods.
This option is an effective and accredited method of determining recent drug use. Usually, initial screening results are ready within 2 working days of sample collection.
Confirmation testing of non-negative screen results are available within 3 working days

We test a standard panel of 8 drugs, see below. In addition, this includes the testing of alcohol if required.

  • Ethanol
  • Amphetamines, including Methamphetamine and Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepine (including Diazepam and Temazepam)
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Methadone
  • Opiates

More drug groups are available upon request. Also, an alcohol screen can be undertaken with this test using a Breath Alcohol Screen.

This test utilises accurate CEDIA reagents. As a result, this provides an advantage over the alternative Point of care urine screen. The other drugs available for testing upon request are:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • Methaqualone
  • Phencyclidine
  • Propoxyphene

We issue Laboratory reports for all samples that screen negative. Initial screening takes up to 2 working days from the appointment. Usually reports are available the day following sample collection.

Samples that screen non-negative will ‘Undergo Further Analysis’. This is the ‘Confirmation Testing’ phase. This will identify the drug or metabolite found in the sample and the quantity present. If the presence of a drug or metabolite is over the cut-off level, we will issue a positive laboratory report. This could provide evidence of drug abuse. The laboratory report may specify whether the drug and its quantity is therapeutic. For example, in line with declared medication. Further investigation to confirm this can be undertaken. For instance, our Medical Review (MRO) provides further information for a specific result. For more details about the MRO, please ask a Clinical Advisor.

Oral Fluid Laboratory Screen & Confirmation Test

Confirms the presence of drugs of abuse using UKAS 17025 accredited laboratory. This includes Immunoassay screening and GCMS confirmation testing methods.
It is an effective and accredited method of determining recent drug use. Usually, initial screening results are available within 2 working days of sample collection. Also, confirmation testing of non-negative screen results are available within 3 working days. We test a standard panel of 5 drugs, these are.

  • Amphetamines, including Methamphetamine and Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Benzodiazepine (including Diazepam and Temazepam)
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates

Breath Alcohol Screen can be undertaken at the appointment to screen for alcohol. We issue Laboratory reports for all samples that screen negative.

Samples that screen non-negative will ‘Undergo Further Analysis’. In other words, this is the Confirmation Testing phase. This identifies the drug or metabolite found in the sample and the quantity present. We issue a positive report when the presence of a drug or metabolite is over the cut-off level. This could provide evidence of drug abuse. The laboratory report may specify whether the drug and its quantity is therapeutic. For example, in line with declared medication. Our Medical Review service can confirm this, please ask for details.

Hair Drug testing

Using a UKAS 17025 Accredited laboratory. This provides the most reliable and accurate form of historical drug use.
The Hair test analyses the drugs and metabolites found inside the hair strand. When a drug is ingested it enters a person’s blood stream. After this, It then transfers from the blood vessels into the hair shaft at the root.

We can taken a hair sample from anywhere on the head or body. But, we recommend head hair, due to biological factors that influence hair growth rate. Regardless of the hair origin, we need only a moderate amount of hair sample for the analysis. As a result, the area from which we take the hair sample is unnoticeable.

Hair Testing shows the level of drug use over a specific period-of-time. Or, provides evidence of abstinence from 1 month to 12 months. But, this does depend on the length of hair available. Segmentation of the hair sample is also possible to provide a month by month view of potential drug use. Also, this would support a claim that someone had recently stopped taking drugs. This is possible in increments of 1cm or 0.5cm segments. Other options are also available for certain circumstances such as spiking incidents. You can discuss this with a Clinical Advisor at the time of booking.

Hair Alcohol Test

Provides an accurate analysis of longer term alcohol intake for upto 6 months.
As hair grows, it absorbs the metabolites of alcohol into its structure. These are Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEEs) and Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG). A Hair alcohol test will look at the amount of each metabolite found in the hair sample. This will show the level of alcohol consumption for the required period of time, up to the previous 6 months. The FAEE finds its way into the hair by diffusion from an external sebum layer. This is an oily substance secreted by glands in the skin.

Long term excessive consumption of alcohol would cause an elevated FAEE result. If the amount of FAEE detected in the hair sample is above the cut off level of 750pg/mg (picogram per milligram). In this case, this suggests consumption of alcohol at a chronic level. The FAEE alongside the EtG analysis, gives the best overview of alcohol consumption. This is because environmental factors can affect both.

Formed in the liver, EtG is only produced on consumption of alcohol. EtG is then deposited into the hair from sweat. Detection of higher levels of EtG in the hair could show consumption of more alcohol. As a result, the reporting guidelines are as follows:

Example of EtG Interpretation

If the EtG is lower than 7pg/mg, this is suggestive of abstinence within the period covered by the sample.

If the EtG is between 7 – 30pg/mg, this is indicative of alcohol use within the period covered by the sample.

The analysis for a Hair test takes 3 – 5 working days from receipt of your sample. We recommend that a Blood Alcohol test is undertaken in combination with the Hair test. This will give the most accurate analysis of a person’s alcohol consumption. Also, an Expert Witness statement gives a further understanding of the test report. Please ask about this service when you speak to a Clinical Advisor.

Accreditation and Compliance

All administration including the test results process is in compliance with ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and ISO 14001. All laboratory reports come in secure PDF format via email with password protection.

For all drug and alcohol tests, predefined cut-off levels exist. As a result, environmental factors are considered. Also, cut-off levels comply with EWDTS guidelines. Each Donor is legally identified at the appointment. Samples are then collected, sealed and bar coded* to strict Chain of Custody Protocols. *Except Point of Care samples.

We collect samples under strict chain of custody protocols. This is undertaken using certified sample collection officers. You can book your test at any one of our network of UK Drug Testing Clinics or via the mobile collection service.

Are employers ready for Canada’s new marijuana laws?

When cannabis finally becomes legal in Canada, how do you prevent people from coming to work high? The implications could …

Do you think doping occurs in UK Athletics?

Doping in sport is in the headlines again. Crystal Health polled 170 people and asked ‘Do you think doping still occurs …

Should Workplace Drug Testing be Mandatory?

Our most recent poll attracted 410 votes and asked the question, ‘should drug testing in the workplace be mandatory?’ …