• Drug Testing Jargon Buster-Workplace Drug Testing Terminology Explained

    Many of the terms used in drug testing can be confusing if you are not familiar with them. Here you will find a useful listing of terms and their meanings that will help dispel that confusion.

    • Adulterated Specimen: This term refers to a sample of body tissue that has been tampered with in some way. Generally this means that the sample either contains a lot of a particular ingredient, which makes it clear that the substance was consumed to throw off the drug test or that something was added directly to the sample to try to hide drug use.
    • Blind Specimen: A specimen that is taken and sent to a lab with the intention of acting as a quality control for that lab. This type of specimen is shipped with a fake identifier to hide its purpose.
    • Chain of Custody: The record kept of how the specimen was handled and by who over the course of the drug testing process, from the time it leaves the person being tested to the point at which it is destroyed after drug testing is complete.
    • DOT: The Department of Transportation is a large grouping of several organizations such as the National Coast Guard, The FAA, and Federal Transit Administration among many, many others associated with transport in the United States. The regulations set out by this group are considered a valid, standardized manner of conducting drug testing in the U.S.
    • Invalid Drug Test: This is a drug test that has been tampered with and therefore invalidated for drug testing.
    • MRO: Medical Review Officer, a licensed physician in charge of receiving and then reviewing lab results made from an organizations’ drug testing program. The MRO is also in charge of evaluating those results for possible medical causes.
    • Split Specimen: A split specimen refers to a urine specimen that is divided to ensure the integrity of the sample’s results. One portion of the sample is stored for later evaluation and the other is tested for drug use. If that specimen is returned as a positive test then the other portion can be tested if the person being tested or the organization that asked for the drug test have requested it in order to ensure the positive result is accurate.
    • Stand Down: A Stand Down refers to a situation wherein an employee is asked to remove themselves from duties that involve using machinery or materials that are deemed to be unsafe for those under the influence of drugs, alcohol or other substances that leave the user impaired. Generally this happens when a positive drug test has come back or the person is undergoing evaluation before returning to regular use of such materials and machinery.
    • Accession Number:  A number used to identify a sample as it passes through the drug testing process in order to keep track of where it goes through the system.
    • Designated Employer Representative: A Designated Employer Representative is an employee who has been given the role of pulling employees from safety sensitive jobs and making decision in cases where drug testing is involved. They also receive the drug test results.
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