Drug Testing - Collection Site and Day of Test

Some companies will give an individual a days notice of a pending drug test. This is usually a sign that the donor will providing a sample off site. The collection site and laboratory where the urinalysis is performed are usually two different places. Less than 5% of all samples have a drug test with a GC/MS performed in the same facility where the sample is collected.

When the donor arrives at the collection site, a nurse or lab technician will ask for photo I.D. for proof of verification. The technician will then transfer the donor's information on the laboratory paperwork and give the donor the sample cup. The donor is usually asked to empty their pockets and leave all personal items in the lobby area. The donor is then escorted to the restroom. The technician will make a quick check of the restroom and might inspect the donor's fingernails or ask the donor to wash their hands before voiding (urinating). This is to ensure the donor does not have salt or other additives under their fingernails. The water in the restroom sink is turned off and the toilet water is dyed blue. The donor is given instructions on how many samples to provide and not to flush the toilet after voiding. Each lab is different on the sample size. Most labs require a minimum of 45 ml or 1-½ ounces of urine. The accepted sample size can vary from 30 - 150 ml or 1 to 5 ounces. Usually the donor is left alone to provide the sample. The technician will wait outside the stall or in the hallway while the donor is urinating. Rarely does the technician view the genitals while the sample is being delivered except for the military and a few cases of criminal probation. The donor is then instructed to wash their hands and proceed to the final paperwork. The urine sample is never supposed to leave the donor's sight in this stage of the test until the final paperwork is completed.

The technician will get the sample from the donor and do a quick integrity check. This consists of temperature and maybe a test strip (see picture), which contain a few Test strips used to check the urine integrity tests like pH, creatinine, and nitrite. The sample must be in the 90-100°F range, a pH in the 4.0 - 9.0 range, creatinine > 20 mg/dl, and nitrite < 500 ng/dl. The sample is then split in two, in case there is a dispute on the first set of results, the second sample can be sent in for a second reanalysis.

Test strips used to check the urine integrity

The donor must sign their name or initials several times in a chain of custody. The chain of custody proves the sample was not tampered with after the donor left, or that samples were mixed up in shipping. The samples are sealed with special tape. The donor signs his initials to the tape confirming the identity of the urine and indicating they have witnessed the sample splitting. The urine is then placed in a special transportation bag that the donor also initials. A final signature on the chain of custody form and the donor is finished. The entire process usually takes less than fifteen minutes.

The sample will then be overnighted to the laboratory for analysis. Results typically take one day if negative, and two to three days if positive.