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K2 Incense or Spice doesn’t Show up on Drug Tests

July 23, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

K2 or Spice

K2 or Spice

There is a new craze going around America’s youth. It’s called K2 herbal incense. This unique blend of herbal ingredients is becoming very popular among today’s society. Before K2 incense was more of an underground ordeal however in the past 90 days it has grown rapid acknowledgment. It is technically sold as an incense that is meant to be burned without oral consumption. Word has gotten around though that when smoked, similar to the fashion of how people smoke marijuana, it offers the same or similar effects. Many people have actually labeled and coined this type of herb as ’synthetic marijuana’.

This term is quite becoming because that is pretty much exactly what it is. K2 incense by itself is just a variety of herbs including canavalia rosea, clematis vitalba, nelumbo nucifera and a few other botanical herbs that when smoked by themselves would produce no effect. Where K2 gets its added experience is in the synthetic chemical compound that it is sprayed with, JWH-018 which acts as a cannabinoid agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the human brain. It produces effects in humans very similar to those of THC itself, but with a longer duration of action. Addiction is very rare, as one test subject used JWH-018 for 8 months straight and withdrawal symptoms were fairly mild.

Although not federal regulated, senators and legislation in various states have tried to pass laws to criminalize the chemical compound or any herb sprayed with it. So far the only two states that have made it illegal to possess or traffic K2 incense are only Kentucky and Kansas. Other countries typically in Europe have also made it illegal. Many people however have voted to control the substance instead of criminalizing it. A majority of people do believe that criminalizing something like this wastes lawmakers time and produces unnecessary criminals in today’s society.

Many employers require drug testing for new and existing employees. To date, K2 does not show up on drug tests, but a testing method will no doubt become available if K2 is declared illegal nationwide. By then it may be too late for many young adults who test positive from frequent long-term use.

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How long does marijuana stay in your system?

July 19, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

This question is asked by many different people, and for good reason. Marijuana is the most commonly used and tested for drug in the United States and several other countries as well. Marijuana is also the drug that is more likely to stay in your system for days, weeks, or even an entire month after the last time that you smoke.

Therefore, even though marijuana is one of the least harmful drugs out there, it is also the most likely drug to cause you to fail a drug test.

When you ask the question “How long does marijuana stay in your system?” you need to take into account the fact that there is no simple answer to this question. Quite simply, it’s argued both that THC never leaves your brain, as well as that there are several different factors which can affect whether or not you test positive for marijuana use.

The speed at which marijuana leaves your body depends both on the speed of your metabolism, as well as on the half life of THC. Unlike most other substances, the half-life of THC can vary quite a bit, depending on who is using it, when it’s used, and several other factors. For example, it’s estimated that THC can have a half life that ranges anywhere from 1-10 days. It’s almost impossible to find out what that half life is, which means that it is very difficult to use it to calculate how long it will take for all of the THC to leave your body.

Not only that, but your metabolism and how much marijuana you smoked will also have an effect on the length of time that it will take you before you can test without testing positive for marijuana use. After all, the half-life is only the length of time that it takes for you to lose half of the THC that is in your system. If you’ve smoked a lot of marijuana, then it will take you longer before the THC in your body drops back below the amount that is detectable by most drug tests.

For this reason, when you ask “How long does marijuana stay in your system?” you have to realize that it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to get a usable answer. The most common period of time is anywhere from 3-30 days, depending on your metabolism and the amount of marijuana that you’ve smoked. This is unfortunate, since it means that while most drug tests can only turn up evidence of other drugs if you’ve been taking the drug within a few days of the drug test, marijuana could still be detected in a urine test up to a month after the last time it is used.

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Medicine and Food That Interact With Drug Tests

July 16, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

Be aware that certain foods and over-the-counter medications can cause you to test “positive” for various kinds of drugs.

Poppy seeds, for example, can show up on a drug test as morphine. Cold remedies that contain codeine can also cause a positive result for morphine.

Valium reportedly can produce erroneous indications of phencyclidine (PCP), and other cold remedies can apparently produce false reports of methamphetamine usage.

Dextromethorphan can produce a falsely positive qualitative urine opiate screening.

The widespread availability of hemp-containing products, including everything from hemp-seed oil nutritional supplements to hemp-seed candy, cookies, cheese, bread, cooking oil, and general seasoning, means that ingesting ANY of these products could potentially cause a false positive result on a test for marijuana.

Ibuprofen, contained in Advil, Nuprin, and Mortin, can make a positive result for marijauna. The EMIT test (an immunoassay test) has therefore been changed to use a different enzyme to eliminate false positives due to Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen in very high doses will still interfere with both the EMIT and the gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS) test.

Ibuprofen is a common pain reliever that (even in low dosages) used to cause a false THC positive on the EMIT test. The EMIT has been changed to use a different enzyme to eliminate false positives due to Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen in very high doses will still interfere with both the EMIT and the GC-MS. There is some conflicting data here because some sources say that the GC-MS tests can distinguish between Ibuprofen and THC (as well as other over-the-counter drugs).

Common over the counter cold, asthma, and allergy remedies and diet pills such as Diatec, Dexatrim, Cotylenol, Triaminic, Primatene, Bronkotabs, and Nyquil can show up as positive for amphetamines.

Vicks Formula-44, Demerol, Mydol, Primatene-M and common prescription antidepressants such as Elavil and Tofanil can show up as positive for opiates such as opium and heroin.

Ephedra, also known as Ephedra Alkaloids or “MaHuang Extract” has a chemical structure which is closely related to amphetamine, and can reportedly give a false positive for amphetamines. Often sold as an “energy pill” it is an effective decongestant in low doses.

Valerian root is reported to cause false positives for benzodiazepines. Other herbal supplements such as Kava Kava and St Johns Wort may also affect body chemistry such that false positives are produced.

Zoloft (Wellbutrin) is reported to cause false positives in urine screens, although for what specific substance isn’t clear.

Primatene can also show up as positive for barbiturates, and Benadryl can show up positive for Methadone.

Some additional over the counter medicines that may cause various kinds of drug test interactions include Alka-Seltzer plus, Allerest, Bronkaid, Contac, Donnagel, Sinuntab, and Sudafed.

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Workplace Alcohol Screening

July 12, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

Alcoholism drug testing kits are one of the tools employers use to try and deter on-the-job drinking. Particularly in companies utilizing heavy equipment alcohol testing helps keep the job site safe, and co-workers out of the line of danger from an impaired operator.

Many companies now perform surprise alcoholism drug screens, and include this requirement in their policy and procedure manual. Employers know that on-the-job drinking leads to accidents, poor output, increased insurance claims and increased absenteeism. By including this information as policy, workers can then give informed consent to undergo the alcohol test whenever the company dictates.

It’s important to remember that the government and various regulatory agencies often have directives for alcohol testing as a mandated, standard practice. One example is that many school boards require on-going testing for school bus drivers. Similarly, anyone working for the department of transportation must be tested regularly.

Most companies consider the saliva test to be the most time and cost effective of the two options. Breathalyzers require 20 minutes and a second testing if the first proves positive. Saliva testing takes only 2 minutes.

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What does CLIA Waived Mean?

July 11, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

CLIA refers to Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. These amendments were passed by the Congress way back in 1988. These laws stipulate that laboratory testing procedures should ensure timeliness, accuracy and dependability irrespective of the location of the tests.

What is a CLIA waiver?
Every laboratory and home test has its own unique requirements. Certain tests can be highly complex and may require specialized equipment. If these tests satisfy certain conditions they can be exempt or waived from all regulatory procedures. In other words, these tests are cleared by FDA and can be performed at home. Most of these tests are very simple to carry out and use standardized equipment, which makes chances of an inaccuracy impossible. Such tests are referred to as a CLIA waived.
Which tests are CLIA waived?
There are specific tests which have been CLIA waived. These are:
Tests performed for urinalysis using a tablet or a dipstick: These include tests to ascertain the presence of protein, urobilinogen, hemoglobin, bilirubin, nitrite, pH, glucose levels, leukocytes, ketone, specific gravity etc.
– Pregnancy tests: There are many home kits available these days, which make it easy for a woman to determine if she is pregnant.
– Occult blood of the fetus
– Non-automated method of estimating the rate of erythrocyte sedimentation
– Ovulation tests: This involves performing color comparisons visually to ascertain luteinizing hormones
– Non-automated methods of detecting copper sulfate in hemoglobin
– Using glucose measuring mechanisms to ascertain blood glucose levels
Things to keep in mind
In order to have a particular laboratory test get CLIA waived, you need a certificate from the FDA. This certificate has to be issued from the Secretary. If you already have a certificate and it is about to expire, you need to get it renewed. The certificate can be rejected for renewal if your laboratory fails to comply with the regulations stipulated as per the CLIA law. A CLIA waived test should be so easy and simple to perform that even if it is done improperly it does not harm the patient in any manner. In cases where the laboratory application for a CLIA waiver has been disapproved the Secretary will issue a notice of the same. From that date onwards, the certificate will continue to be valid for a period of 60 days or longer if the second application is made in a timely manner.
Factors considered for a CLIA waiver
There are several aspects that are taken into consideration when treating a laboratory test as CLIA waived. Various factors like the quality control being used and method of calibration, processes and examination procedures in use, interpretation mechanisms, how much of independent judgment is required, training needed for instrument usage and operation as well as other associated factors are assessed before passing a test as CLIA waived. Regular inspections will also be conducted by the Secretary to ascertain that the procedures of the laboratory are in strict compliance with the stipulations as per CLIA law. Laboratories, which are accredited as per CLIA laws will be inspected as and when deemed necessary by the Secretary. Those laboratories, which are not accredited will be inspected on a bi-annual basis.

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Corporate Drug Testing Programs

July 9, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

The basic drug test used by most corporate drug testing programs is called a Five-Screen (or NIDA-5 or SAMHSA-5) which is testing for five types of drugs:

  1. Cannabinoids (Marijuana, Hashish)
  2. Cocaine (Cocaine, Crack, Benzoylecognine)
  3. Opiates (Heroin, Opium, Codeine, Morphine
  4. Amphetamines (Methamphetamines, Speed)
  5. Phencyclidine (PCP, Angel Dust)

However, many drug testing firms now offer a Ten-Screen which expands to include five additional drugs:

  1. Barbituates (Phenobarbital, Secobarbitol, Pentobarbital, Butalbital, Amobarbital)
  2. Methaqualone (Qualuudes)
  3. Benzodiazepines (Tranquilizers-Diazepam, Valium, Librium, Ativan, Xanax, Clonopin, Serax, Halcion, Rohypnol)
  4. Methadone
  5. Propoxyphene (Darvon compounds)
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Urine Drug Testing

July 6, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

The detection times in urine are significantly greater than detection times in blood, which is also generally much more expensive. The presence of a drug or drugs in urine does not provide information as to whether the individual is actually under the influence at any particular time. Likewise, no determination can be made from urine as to the amount of the dose or the time of the dose.

Blood testing, on the other hand may provide more suitable information about whether or not an individual is “under the influence”, though this may not be conclusive in all cases.

Urine drug testing accuracy is variable depending on how the testing is done. Drug testing is extremely accurate and reliable when all aspects of the testing process are done properly. On the other hand, the information obtained may be very misleading and inaccurate when poor procedures or testing methods are utilized. Drug testing will only be reliable when the consumer knows how it should be done and then demands from the industry that it is done properly.

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Urine Drug Testing for Tobacco

June 21, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

When the subject of drug testing is discussed, most people think of marijuana, cocaine, heroin or ecstasy – but did you know that there is also a drug test for tobacco usage? That’s right, the same immunoassay technology that is used to detect illicit drugs can also be used to detect cotinine – a metabolite created when the body processes nicotine.

Testing for the presence of cotinine is a standard test to determine if a person is a tobacco user. Cotinine is found in urine from 2 to 4 days after tobacco use. By testing a urine sample, much like a pregnancy test, the tester can detect cotinine.

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Saliva Alcohol Tests Pros

June 16, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

The following list represents the positive aspects of saliva drug tests:

  • They provide samples that are acquired under direct observation.
  • They present a minimal risk of tampering.
  • They spare patients the discomfort of repeated vein punctures.
  • They are non-invasive.
  • They present no risk of infection, thrombosis, or anemia.
  • They present lower total testing costs since no special staff training is required for collection.
  • They provide for samples that can be collected easily in almost any environment.
  • They can detect alcohol use.
  • They reflect recent drug use.
  • They provide a relatively short window of detection, approximately 10 to 24 hours.
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Chain of Custody for Drug Tests

June 14, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

Chain of custody is the term used to describe the process of ensuring and providing documentation of proper specimen identification and handling from the time of specimen collection to the reporting of laboratory results. If laboratory results were to be legally challenged, the ability to prove that the specimen was handled according to strict chain of custody procedures is essential. The chain of custody protocol assures the specimen belongs to the individual whose information is printed on the specimen container label, no post-collection adulteration or tampering has taken place, exactly who had possession of the specimen and when, how the specimen was transported and stored before it was analyzed, no unauthorized access to the specimen was possible, and the specimen was handled in a secure manner.

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