Procedures Used For Drug Testing

In order to avoid tampering or urine substitution, and as well as to confirm the validly of the test, there are fairly standard procedures usually followed for a drug test. While they may vary to a small degree, the drug testing procedures are very similar between states, regions, and facilities. They are used to establish the identity of the person taking the test, verify the authenticity of the urine drug test sample, and document the chain of custody for handling, testing, and storing the sample. The chain of custody form should be with the urine sample at all times. If, after a positive drug test, the chain of custody form is not complete, it is incorrect, or missing, you should contact an attorney.

Usually, the chain of custody form should be signed by at least five people - the person collecting the sample, the courier who transports the sample, the person who receives the sample at the testing lab, the lab technician conducting the test, and the person who stores the sample after testing. Samples are retained after the drug test in case the results are disputed so it can be re-tested.

The typical drug testing process is executed by having the person being drug tested do the following:

  • Sign a drug test consent form. Many speculate the form is not actually required, but a way to entice some people to admit to drug use so the drug test will not even be required - saving time and money.
  • Show a driver's license or other photo ID to establish the identity of the person being drug tested. This ensures that a supposedly "clean" substitute person hasn't been sent in place of the person who is supposed to be drug tested.
  • Enter their name and social security number on the chain of custody form to establish the chain of custody.
  • List any prescription or over-the-counter drug currently being taken. These may affect drug testing outcomes.
  • Remove any outer clothing like coats and sweaters, as well as roll up their sleeves and have their pant legs, socks, etc, verified that they do not contain any substances that may be put in the urine drug test sample, and to ensure they do have a clean sample to submit as their own.
  • Empty all shirt and pants pockets. Women are not allowed to take their purses into the restroom.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and dry them with a clean towel so any impurities or substances on their hands and fingers do contaminant the drug test sample.
  • Remove the plastic seal from the drug test sample jar and urinate in the jar. Usually the sample jar must be at least halfway filled.
  • Be monitored while providing a drug test sample so it is not altered or substituted.
  • Place the lid on the drug test sample jar and seal it with the provided tape and give the sample to the testing attendant.

In addition to these steps, additional security measures are also common. The most frequent measure involves verifying the temperature of the urine sample is around body temperature. This provides evidence that the urine has been recently expelled from the body as opposed to a hidden false sample. The verification may be as simple as the testing attendant holding the sample jar to ensure it feels warm, or it may more sophisticated like a temperature strip attached to the sample jar. Some facilities may place blue-tinted cleaner in the toilet and the urinal so those being drug tested are not tempted to add some toilet water to the sample in order to dilute it.

Usually the procedures will remain the same for every drug test. When they vary you should take note for future reference.