What is point of care drug testing?

What is point of care drug testing?

When someone is suspected of being under the influence of drugs at work, speed is of the essence when it comes to drug testing them. In the case of a workplace accident, it is essential to get an accurate measurement of drugs in someone’s system before the drugs are processed and eliminated. This means that a test should be performed as soon as possible.

Most drugs will be flushed out of a body in a matter of hours or days. However, the effects may last longer and depend on several factors:

  • Type of drug used
  • Amount of drug ingested
  • Frequency of drug use
  • Testing method
  • Height and weight
  • Metabolic rate

As such, point of care drug testing is ideal for workplace testing because they can be performed rapidly and on site. AlphaBiolabs offers two point of care drug tests: urine drug testing and oral fluid testing. Both of these tests use devices that are compact, portable and do not require electricity.

Urine drug testing

One of the most popular methods of determining whether someone is misusing drugs in the workplace is by taking a sample of their urine and analysing it for particular substances. Urine drug testing is ideal for point of care testing thanks to it being quick, accurate and providing an immediate result. This method is known as a ‘narrow-window’ form of testing as its period of detection is only a few days, although this can depend on the particular substance taken. Drugs including cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamine can be present in urine for roughly 3–5 days, but cannabis can stay in urine for as long as 28 days after chronic use.

AlphaBiolabs uses a fully self-contained urine screening kit to analyse 14 drugs and their metabolites. The pot has tamper-protection features to help ensure integrity of the sample and it can be used by both men and women. For point-of-care testing on site, all that a company needs to do is provide a dedicated toilet that can be used for the testing process.

The AlphaBiolabs 14 panel urine drug test kit costs £18. If you require larger quantities, please call 0333 600 1300 for a quote.

Period of detectionWhat can it test for?AdvantagesDisadvantages
From 3 days up to 28 days14 drugs and their metabolites: amphetamine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, buprenorphine, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), ketamine, methadone, methamphetamine, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), propoxyphene and tramadol
  • Quick test producing immediate results
  • Cheaper testing option than both oral and hair testing
  • Tamper-prevention features prevent ‘fake’ samples
  • Needs dedicated toilet facilities for the testing process
  • Donor may not be able to produce enough urine

Oral fluid testing

If dedicated toilet facilities cannot be provided, oral fluid testing (also known as saliva drug testing) is another point-of-care testing method. This is also a ‘narrow window’ form of testing and its period of detection is from 30–60 minutes after ingestion up to 48 hours, although again this can depend on the particular substance taken. It is one of the most popular methods of for-cause (or post-incident) screening when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there has been recent misuse of drugs in the workplace.

The entire test takes 20–30 minutes and involves placing an absorbent collector (similar to a large swab) inside an individual’s mouth for up to 2 minutes to soak up sufficient saliva.

Period of detectionWhat can it test for?AdvantagesDisadvantages
From 30–60 minutes after ingestion up to 2 daysAmphetamine, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine and opiates
  • Quick test producing immediate results
  • Detects recent drug use
  • Doesn’t require dedicated collection facilities
  • Difficult to cheat results
  • Ideal for post-incident testing
  • Sample easy to collect
  • Hygienic
  • Does not test for as many drugs are urine testing
  • More expensive than urine testing

AlphaBiolabs has workplace sample collectors that follow strict procedures to ensure the chain of custody is retained and that confidentiality remains throughout either of these point-of-care testing processes. In the case of urine drug testing, the collectors would not observe a donor giving a sample, but adulteration of samples is minimised by cisterns and taps being sealed. Individuals are also asked to empty their pockets and leave bags, belongings etc. outside of the testing area.

AlphaBiolabs can also train a representative of a company’s staff to perform workplace drug testing and sample collection to the highest standards. This means that they will also be able to collect samples for workplace drug testing and retain the chain of custody.

Enquire about point of care drug testing

For information on AlphaBiolabs’ workplace testing and training services, please email info@alphabiolabs.com