Drug Testing Terminology

Drug testing can be a complicated process, and there are many terms and definitions that are important to know. Below are some simpler explanations of the most important terms related to drug testing:

1. Adulterated Specimen: A sample that has been tampered with by adding unnatural substances or foreign items to cheat a drug test.

2. Accession Number: A unique identifier assigned to a sample for tracking and identifying it during testing.

3. Alcohol Confirmation Test: A test conducted with a device to measure alcohol concentration.

4. Alcohol Screening Device: A tool for saliva or breath alcohol testing approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

5. Alcohol Screening Test: A test that analyzes urine, saliva, or breath to detect prohibited levels of alcohol.

6. Alcohol Testing Site: Designated locations where samples can be submitted for alcohol testing.

7. Blind Specimen: A control sample with concealed identity used for quality control.

8. Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC): The amount of alcohol in breath, measured in grams per liter.

9. Chain of Custody: The record of the handling of a sample from collection to disposal.

10. Collection Container: A container used to hold urine, saliva, or body fluids for drug testing.

11. Collection Site: A location where subjects provide samples for analysis.

12. Collector: The person who collects, inspects, and fills out the Chain of Custody form for subjects at the collection point.

13. Confirmation Test: A test that follows an initial test to confirm drug or metabolite presence.

14. Confirmed Drug Test: A laboratory result from a confirmation test sent to a Medical Review Officer.

15. Consortium/Third Party Administrator: A service provider that coordinates and provides drug testing services to employers.

16. Control Line: A line appearing in the control section of an instant drug test, indicating test validity.

17. Creatinine: A substance produced when muscles break down to detect sample dilution.

18. Cutoff Level: The minimum amount of a drug metabolite required for a test result to be positive or negative.

19. Designated Employer Representative: The person who removes safety-sensitive staff from duties, handles drug testing, and receives results.

20. Diluted Specimen: A sample that has been manipulated to reduce drug concentration.

21. DOT: The Department of Transportation sets standards and regulations for drug testing.

22. DOT Drug Test: A urine drug test required for safety-sensitive DOT staff.

23. Drug Metabolites: By-products of drug metabolism detected in tests.

24. Ecstasy (MDMA): A recreational drug derived from amphetamine.

25. EtG: Ethyl Glucuronide, a direct ethanol metabolite detectable up to five days after alcohol consumption.

26. ETS: Ethyl Sulfate, a non-degradable biomarker tested alongside EtG.

27. Evidential Breath Testing Device: A device approved by the NHTSA for breath alcohol testing between 0.02 and 0.04.

28. GC/MS: Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, a test to confirm drug presence in a sample.

29. Immunoassay: An initial test to detect drug presence and concentration.

30. Initial Drug Screen: The first test in a drug screening process.

31. Initial Validity Test: The first test to determine specimen interference.

32. Invalid Drug Test: A nullified test due to interference or other issues.

33. LC/MS: Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, a test used to confirm drug presence.

34. LC/MS/MS: A confirmation test that combines mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography.

35. Negative Dilute Result: A result indicating sample dilution without exceeding specific limits.

36. Non-Negative Specimen: A urine sample indicating substitution, adulteration, invalidity, or drug presence.

37. Normal Result: A laboratory outcome signifying a negative test.

38. Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance: The office that manages drug and alcohol testing for the Department of Transportation, ensuring program implementation and information provision.

39. Opiate (OPI): A category encompassing illicit (heroin) and prescription (morphine) drugs derived from the opium plant.

40. Paruresis: Known as a “shy bladder,” it describes individuals anxious about urinating with others nearby, posing challenges for urine drug tests.

41. PCP (Phencyclidine): Also called “angel dust,” an anesthetic developed in the 1950s, later used as an illegal drug through snorting, smoking, and injecting.

42. Positive Test Result: A laboratory drug test confirmed by GC/MS, indicating drug or metabolite presence.

43. Preliminary/Presumptive Positive Drug Test Result: The initial stage where a saliva or urine specimen tests positive, requiring further lab analysis due to potential false positives from over-the-counter medications or foods.

44. Primary Specimen: The sample initially checked by the lab for drug traces and used for validity testing.

45. Specific Gravity: The urine-to-water density ratio used to detect sample dilution.