November 24th, 2009
There is a lot of information out there on how to pass a drug test.
Many companies require employees or job candidates to provide urine, blood, saliva, or hair sample that are sent to the labs and tested there for presence of illegal drugs.
A urine drug test is the most common test. Usually two ounces is sufficient enough for one sample. The labs prefer to collect the first urine of the day (morning urine), since it will have more potential toxins, but if you want to successfully pass your test, try to avoid that.
When an employer requests a drug test, the employee needs to go to a collection site. Some labs are more relaxed than others about how they collect your urine sample: some give you a cup, show you where is the bathroom, and please give them some pee. Others might escort or observe you while you are peeing into a cup. You need to know beforehand just how closely you’re going to be observed, so you can choose a product right for your situation.
There is probably not going to be anything in the bathroom except for the toilet, not even a sink. Often the water in the toilet will be dyed blue, so you can’t use that water to dilute your specimen right in the cup.
As soon as you’re done providing your sample, technician will test the temperature right away, and if the sample is colder that required (less than 92 degrees), it is an automatic fail. If you passed the temperature test, you’re done for the day.
A standard urinalysis consists of different stages:
- physical examination (tested: color, specific gravity, clarity, concentration);
- chemical examination (sample tested for specific illegal drugs of interest);
- microscopic examination (identifies cells, casts and other components such as mucous and batteries).
Color. Many things affect urine color, including fluid balance, diet, medicines, and diseases. How dark or light the color is tells you how much water is in it. Some medicines, blackberries, beets, rhubarb, or blood in the urine can turn urine red-brown.
Specific gravity. This checks the amount of substances in the urine. It also shows how well the kidneys balance the amount of water in urine. The higher the specific gravity, the more solid material is in the urine. When you drink a lot of fluid, your kidneys make urine with a high amount of water in it, which has a low specific gravity. When you do not drink fluids, your kidneys make urine with a small amount of water in it, which has a high specific gravity.
Clarity. Urine is normally clear. Bacteria, blood, crystals, or mucus can make urine look cloudy.
Depending on the lab, they either may do the initial dip test right there and then, and you will have your results before you leave; or you have to wait 24-48 hours before you know it, and in some cases they inform your employer first.
And in rare cases it’s just a “no news is good news” situation. If your results are negative maybe no one will tell you. In that case you either have to risk looking suspicious by asking, or just wait some time and assume that it was negative if no one called you for a couple weeks. But if it’s positive, you’ll almost always know within a day or two.
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