Background image

Substance Vol 7 Iss 2

Showing: drug testing

19Aug

Substance Vol 7 Iss 2

posted by

23May

Shifting Landscape

posted by

By Joseph Salerno

The need for opiate and drug testing has grown in the last three decades. 2.4 million people in the United States abused opioid pain relievers in 1985, the year before President Ronald Reagan announced his Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program.1 That number swelled to 4.9 million – a 104% increase – by 2012.2 During that same time, the population of the United States grew only 32%.

The original opiate testing panel created in 1986 is an incomplete tool for today’s drug testing needs. No other category of drugs has evolved as much as opiates and opioids. Addiction to high strength pain relievers and newer opioid compounds has eclipsed codeine, morphine, and heroin addiction addressed by the original 1986 five-panel drug test.

Based on the most recent data on emergency department visits related to illicit substance abuse, it is clear that opiate and opioid abuse has shifted dramatically. Screening for opiate abuse using only 1986 drug testing guidelines for the opiate drug class misses the past 30 years of pharmaceutical and drug testing advancements.3

References:

1. United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Drug Abuse. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 1985. ICPSR06844-v3. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-06-19.

2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.

3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4760 Series D-39. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin., 2013.

06Apr
We Can Help You Help Them with ChildGuard®

When a child is exposed to illegal substance abuse they often also face other coexisting obstacles to a normal life – neglect, abuse, violence, and other vulnerabilities. Substance abuse is a disease, one that often prevents adults from doing what is in a child’s best interests. Our environmental exposure test for children can help.

Our hair environmental exposure test is the only drug test designed to detect passive exposure to drugs and detect both native drugs and drug metabolites in the hair specimen. Drug metabolites are produced in the body only if drugs have been ingested. Children in drug exposed environments are most often not drug users themselves, so drug metabolites are typically absent in child specimens. However, the hair, like a sponge, can absorb non-metabolized drug (native drug) if it is exposed through things such as touching or being in contact with drugs or drug users.

Standard hair tests with other labs will only report a positive exposure result if drug metabolites are detected, even when the native drug is in the child’s hair specimen. Our hair environmental exposure test reports a positive result if either native drugs or drug metabolites are detected.

A hair exposure test can provide evidence of drugs in a child’s environment for the past 3 months. A positive test result suggests that the child has experienced one or more of the following: passive inhalation of drug smoke, contact with drug smoke, contact with sweat or sebum (skin oil) of a drug user, contact with the actual drug, or accidental or intentional ingestion of illegal drugs.

ChildGuard®is the only child hair test designed to detect exposure to native drugs and drug metabolites.

Maintaining Chain of Custody Protects Health Institutions and Newborns

By Joseph Salerno

The movement and location of physical evidence from the time it is obtained until the time it is presented in court is the legal definition of chain of custody. The results of any newborn alcohol or substance of abuse test performed at USDTL may eventually be presented as evidence in a court of law, and this is why USDTL maintains universal chain of custody regardless of the client source of testing specimens. A court can exclude the results of a test if a chain of custody for the newborn sample was not maintained by the hospital and USDTL.

Chain of custody for specimens sent to USDTL is maintained as a chronological paper trail of collection and transfers of specimens throughout the testing process. The paper trail is signed and dated by each person who handles the specimen, both when they receive the specimen into their own hands, and when they hand it off to the next person in the process. Less transfers of a specimen that need to be documented is better for the chain of custody overall. A well maintained and legal chain of custody begins at the time of specimen collection and continues uninterrupted until test results have been presented in court, if necessary.

There are several key elements of the chain of custody for alcohol and drug test samples that must be present when samples arrive at USDTL. First, the specimen container must be sealed with an intact security seal. Next, the sample must be accompanied by a Chain of Custody and Control Form with an identification number matching the number on the specimen container. The Chain of Custody and Control Form is the first piece of the chain of custody paper trail. Thirdly, the Chain of Custody and Control Form must be signed and dated by an authorized agent from the client. If one or more of these elements are missing, USDTL must return the sample to the client.

An unbroken chain of custody ensures sample integrity in several ways that preserve the legal usefulness of alcohol and drug testing results. 

Chain of custody ensures that the original sample is the same as the one that is tested and ensures that the integrity of the sample is preserved during transport.  Tampering, substitution, or alteration of the sample prior to being tested is prevented by the chain of custody process, which ensures thatit has been handled only by the donor, a qualified collector, and lab testing personnel.

Maintaining chain of custody for newborn samples destined for alcohol and drug testing is a simple process, but all those who handle a drug testing specimen need to be vigilant about the process nonetheless. Diligent maintenance of chain of custody is always in the child’s best interest.  Unfortunately, it is only when the legal impact of an improperly maintained chain of custody is realized, that the full value of a well maintained chain of custody is understood. Ultimately, chain of custody protects the institution that is collecting the specimen, as well as the newborn whose health and well-being may rely on the results of a USDTL alcohol or drug test. 

Reference: Giannelli, P. (1996). Forensic Science: Chain of Custody. Criminal Law Bulletin, 32(5), 447-465.

12Jan

The Shelter of the Law

posted by

To read the full article by Eric Frazer, Psy.D., and Linda Smith, Ph.D., in our Fall issue of Substance, please click here.

22Sep

Dear Valued Client,

We are proud to announce that we are the first laboratory in the world to be ISO/IEC 17025 accredited for drug and alcohol testing in umbilical cord, fingernail, and toenail specimens.On September 4, 2015, USDTL attained ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation showing full compliance with the international testing standards. We have received our accreditation from ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, demonstrating technical competence in the field of forensic testing. The scope of our ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation encompasses all specimen types and methods of analysis utilized in our laboratory.

Our laboratory has always maintained this level of quality and competency since our humble beginnings in 1991, bringing our clients the most responsive, personal service in the drug and alcohol testing industry. ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation reaffirms that commitment to our clients, for all aspects of our testing and client advocacy. You can always have absolute confidence that the results of every specimen tested by our laboratory will meet the highest of international standards.

ISO/IEC 17025 is the single most important standard applied to testing and calibration laboratories around the globe. Laboratories accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard have demonstrated that they are technically competent and able to reproducibly generate accurate, precise and consistent data.

The practical benefits for clients of USDTL of ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation are seen on a continual basis:

  • Continuously produced testing results of the highest quality, validity, and integrity;
  • Improved customer communication and resolution of customer issues;
  • Continual improvement of our management system, with an emphasis on the responsibilities of senior management;
  • Fast resolution of laboratory issues regarding methods and equipment.
  • Evidential acceptance of USDTL laboratory results in virtually all jurisdictions.

To view our certificate of accreditation, visit us online at www.usdtl.com/wp-content/uploads/USDTL-ISO17025.pdf. If you have questions about ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, please contact us at clientservices@usdtl.com or 800.235.2367.

Sincerely,

Adam Negrusz, Ph.D., F-ABFT
Laboratory Director

Concerned about detecting synthetic cannabinoids? You will need to expand your drug testing.

19Nov

Reservoir Matrices

posted by

Reservoir Matrices

20Aug

How Drugs Are Incorporated In Hair

posted by

How Drugs Are Incorporated In Hair

15Aug

Pill Bottle, concept for Healthcare And MedicineBy Joseph Salerno, Science Writer, USDTL

On August 18, 2014, the pain reliever tramadol (Ultram®) will be scheduled as a Class IV controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.1 Tramadol is a synthetic, opioid pain reliever similar in strength to codeine. In 2012, more than 40 million tramadol prescriptions were written in the United States, more than any other opioid medications except for hydrocodone and oxycodone.2

In 1994, clinical data suggested tramadol had a very low abuse potential.3 Research has since shown that tramadol can produce a euphoric high similar to oxycodone. At doses greater than prescription levels, tramadol has addiction reinforcing effects similar to morphine and oxycodone.

Between 2004-2012, emergency department visits related to illicit tramadol use increased from 4,800 incidents to more than 16,000.1 Adverse effects of tramadol include sedation, dizziness, respiratory depression, seizures, apnea, and death.4

Withdrawal symptoms often occur following both abrupt and tapered discontinuation of tramadol use, suggesting an issue of drug dependence for tramadol users.

In the year 2000, tramadol was present in only 82 law enforcement drug seizures. This number increased to 1806 by 2012.1 A 2002 study found that 87 out of 140 healthcare professionals testing positive for tramadol use obtained the drug with illegal prescriptions.

Tramadol is available in both single dose (25-100 mg) and extended release (100-300 mg) forms. Tramadol abusers can crush extended release tablets and ingest them for an instant, high-dose euphoria similar to OxyContin but without the cognitive impairment.2

Fingernail testing detects tramadol use for up to six months, while hair provides a three month look-back. Tramadol testing is available in USDTL’s extended drug panels. If you have questions or need more information about tramadol testing, contact our Client Services group at 800•235•2367 or at clientservices@usdtl.com.

References
1. Office of Diversion Control, Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section. (May 2013). Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of Tramadol into Schedule IV. Retrieved from http://www.hpm.com/pdf/blog/DEA_8_Factor[1].pdf
2. Nadia Awad. (2014). Now What? DEA Tosses Tramadol in Schedule IV. Retrieved from http://www.medpagetoday.com
3. John Fauber. (2013). Killing Pain: Tramadol the “Safe” Drug of Abuse. Retrieved from http://www.medpagetoday.com
4. Senay, E.C., Adams, E.H., et al. (2003). Physical Dependence on Ultram (tramadol hydrochloride): Both opioid-like and atypical withdrawal symptoms occur. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 69:233-241. 

USDTL Forensic Blog

Subscribe to RSS