We confirm that we will be able to collect urine, blood and/or hair sample(s) from your client and submit for drugs/alcohol testing.
If urine only is to be collected, the donor should only be given short notice (day before) of the collection date, which we can arrange between us. It should be noted that urine testing would only detect alcohol abuse for a short period after drinking (up to perhaps 10 hours or so); if alcohol misuse is an issue there is a special hair test which can be used – see below for details. Drugs should be detectable in urine for up to several days after abuse, although cannabis metabolite can be detected for up to several weeks after use depending upon the pattern of abuse.
Urine analysis - the range of drugs included represents a standard panel used for routine workplace drugs of abuse testing and includes heroin metabolite, cannabis metabolite, cocaine metabolite, amphetamine, Ecstasy drugs, benzodiazepines and alcohol.
The quantitative cut-offs used for the tests are standard for this type of work.
Hair analysis – the range of drugs included in the standard drug panel is similar to those above. Additional analysis can be requested for specific drugs or many of the new psychoactive substances which can be encountered.
Alcohol is not routinely included in the hair panel but analysis of Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) and FAEE’s (fatty acid ethyl esters) is available if an indication of excessive alcohol consumption is required. Although EtG/FAEE analysis in hair is a useful tool, the analytical findings should not be taken in isolation. The analysis of a blood sample for liver function can be a useful complementary test.
A sample of hair (roughly the width of a pencil) will be taken from the back of the crown of the head. In subjects who have poor hair distribution, 3 smaller locks can be obtained. Obviously a sufficient length of hair must be available before a hair test can be carried out; at least 2 cm should be available for collection, which would enable 2 months retrospective drug abuse screening to be carried out. The normal length of head hair analysed is 3 cm (proximal) – representing the previous 3 months approximately.
Body hair may also be used (eg pubic, underarm or chest). Generally body hair samples are analysed as a single entity and reflect a detection period of up to 9 months or more.
It should be noted that a negative result does not preclude the possibility that trace levels of drug(s) may still be present in the sample at sub-cut-off levels. The absence of drugs in urine or hair does not preclude the possibility that drugs had been used. If benzodiazepines and certain analgesics are detected, their presence may be due to prescription medication. It is therefore important for the donor to declare any medication to the nurse/doctor at the time of collection.
From a hair analysis it is not possible to demonstrate complete alcohol abstention.
Collection arrangement: this can be arranged at a Belfast City Centre location and details can be provided when dates are arranged.
It is essential that the donor can produce photographic ID at the time of collection.
The donor should also ensure that he/she explains to the collector that they have been instructed by his solicitor to undergo a drugs test.
The donor will be asked to provide a sample of urine and/or hair for analysis. The collectors have been trained in these procedures and will be alert to any signs of urine adulteration or substitution.
Analysis: the sample will be despatched to the laboratory on the day of collection and results are usually available within 1 week for urine and within 3 weeks for hair.
Report: a report will be sent/faxed to you (solicitor) indicating the test results. It will be explained that any negative urine findings relate only to the status of the individual at the time of testing.