Last updated: April 6, 2020
Adulterated Specimen: When a body fluid or tissue that was to be used as a sample is interfered with, it is called an adulterated specimen. This happens when unnatural substance is contained in the sample, or that a foreign item was added directly to the sample to beat or cheat the drug test.
Accession Number: A number assigned to a sample for purposes of identifying and tracking its movement as it goes through the process of analysis and drug testing.
Affidavit: A form used to rectify problems such as missing or incorrect date contained in the initial Chain of Custody form. This form has to be signed by the collector.
Alcohol Confirmation Test: An alcohol test that makes use of an Evidential Breath Testing Device. The test is done as a follow-up if the result from a screening test is 0.02 or higher, to quantify concentration of alcohol in the subject’s system.
Alcohol Screening Device: A saliva or breath device that is different from an Evidential Breath Testing Device and is acceptable to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Alcohol Screening Test: A procedure that analyses urine, saliva or breath specimen to establish if the level of alcohol concentration in a person’s system is prohibited.
Breath Alcohol Technician: A person who manages an Evidential Breath Testing Device and guides employees during alcohol testing.
Blind Specimen: A specimen that is collected and taken to the lab as quality control. This specimen comes with a false identity in order to conceal its purpose.
Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC): The amount of alcohol present in a given volume of breath. The figure is expressed as grams of alcohol per liters of breath.
Breath Alcohol Technician: A skilled person who helps and directs subjects when testing for alcohol and runs the Evidential Breath Testing Device.
Cancelled Test: This refers to an alcohol or drug test with an identified problem that has not been corrected. The results of such a test are neither positive nor negative.
Chain of Custody: An account detailing how and by whom a sample was handled during the entire drug testing process, right from when it was collected from the subject to when it is destroyed upon completing the test.
CLIA: Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments are federal regulatory standards relating to all clinical laboratory testing done on humans with the exception of basic research and clinical trials. CLIA was passed by Congress to ensure that irrespective of where a test is done, the results will be accurate, reliable and timely.
Clinic: A medical facility that could also serve as a collection point.
CLIA Waived: Health, drug testing and other products that meet certain set standards and have been found to have a high degree of accuracy and are easy to use. Such products can be purchased and used by consumers and will have minimal possibility of error.
Collection Container: A container in which urine, saliva or body fluid is gathered and held to be used as sample in a drug test.
Collection Site: A location chosen by a tester where subjects of a drug test go to provide specimen for analysis.
Collector: A person whose job is to direct and help those to be tested at the collection point, collect and inspect the samples submitted and fill in the Chain of Custody form.
Confirmation Test: A test done after the initial immunoassay test to confirm that a particular drug or metabolite is present.
Confirmation Validity Test: A second test conducted on a urine sample to give credence to the results of a validity test.
Confirmed Drug Test: A result of a confirmation test from a laboratory, given to a Medical Review Officer.
Consortium/ Third Party Administrator: An agent who coordinates and provides a range of alcohol and drug testing services to employers or a group of employers. The consortium executes administrative tasks relating to the operations of such programs.
Continuing Education: Regular training designed to update substance abuse professionals and medical review officers in the field on developments and changes in alcohol and DOT drug testing programs.
Control Line: A line that should appear in the control section of an instant drug test, irrespective of whether the result is positive or negative. If the control line does not appear, the test is considered to be invalid.
Creatinine: A product that is constantly produced in the body when muscles are broken down. Testers check the levels of creatinine in samples to establish whether the specimen has been diluted. This will result in a negative dilute drug test.
Cutoff Level: The least quantity of a drug metabolite that has to be in a sample for the test result to be either positive or negative. Cutoff levels help to eliminate false positive results occasioned by exposure to a drug or substance.
Designated Employer Representative: An employee tasked with the responsibility to get staff from jobs that are safety-sensitive. They also decide on matters relating to drug testing and receive drug test results.
Diluted Specimen: A specimen is said to be diluted if the sample has been manipulated to reduce the concentration of the drugs and metabolites in the specimen. This could happen if the subject drinks lots of water before samples are collected or if water is added directly to the sample after collection. Measuring the creatinine levels and specific gravity of the specimen can help to determine if it has been diluted.
DOT: Department of Transportation, an umbrella body comprising of several transport organizations in the United States. The DOT sets out standardized and valid regulations for carrying out drug tests in the country.
Drug Metabolites: A chemical that is a by-product of the body metabolizing a drug after ingestion. These are the chemicals that drug screens look for during testing. Specific substances are associated with specific metabolites.
Error Correction Training: A type of training for collectors, Breath Alcohol Technicians and technicians in a screening test after there was an error in alcohol and drug test that led to cancellation of results.
EtG: Ethyl Glucuronide. When testing for alcohol, EtG is a direct metabolite of ethanol that is soluble in water and non-volatile. While its presence is detectable between eight and 12 hours in a test for ethanol, this highly sensitive biomarker will be identified up to five days after the subject has taken alcohol.
ETS: Ethyl Sulfate. This direct, biomarker is not degradable through the process of bacteria hydrolysis and is tested alongside EtG during confirmation tests.
Evidential Breath Testing Device: An appliance accepted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for purposes of testing breath samples at alcohol concentration of between 0.02 and 0.04. The device also conforms to the specifications required of NHTSA’s Conforming Products List or CPL.
GC/MS: The initials stand for Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. This is a testing method used as a confirmation test once an immunoassay test has revealed traces of drugs in a sample. GC/MS establishes the identity of various substances contained in the sample by combining mass spectrometry and gas-liquid chromatography.
HHS: An abbreviation for the Department of Health and Human Services. This also covers any person selected by the Secretary to act on behalf of the department.
Immunoassay: A biochemical test that is usually the first to be done to detect the presence of a drug in a subject’s system. The test uses immunoglobulin or antibody to check for the presence and measure the concentration of macromolecules in a sample. Once this test returns a positive result, more stringent tests are conducted as follow-ups.
Initial Drug Screen: A type of immunoassay test that is also the first one in a drug screening process. The test is used to check for traces of drugs and metabolites, with a confirmation test being done if drug traces or metabolites are detected.
Initial Validity Test: The first test done to establish if a specimen has been interfered with through dilution, adulteration or substitution.
Instant Test Kit: An immunoassay test that is available for purchase by anyone who wants to perform a drug test. The tests can be dome anywhere and produce instant results. However, the results cannot be used in legal situations.
Invalid Drug Test: A drug test that is rendered void for drug testing because it has been interfered with.
Laboratory: Any US laboratory that meets the minimum required standards and has received certification from the Department of Health and Human Services. This could also be a foreign laboratory that has gained the approval of the Department of Transportation to participate.
LC/ MS: A way of testing that brings together features of mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography to establish the specific substances contained in a test sample. It is done as a confirmation test after an immunoassay test has shown drug traces in a sample.
LC/ MS/ MS: A confirmation tests that identifies the various substances in a test sample by combining features of mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. This test is done after an immunoassay test has returned positive results for traces of drugs.
MRO: Medical Review Officer. A licensed physician who receives and reviews lab results obtained during a drug test for organizations. The MRO may also evaluate these results to establish any probable medical causes.
Negative Dilute Result: A result showing that the amount of drug metabolites in a given sample did not exceed certain limits.
NIDA: An Abbreviation for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This is a research institute under the federal government that seeks to be at the forefront in national efforts to bring to bear the power of science in matters drug abuse and addiction.
Non-negative specimen: A urine sample that has been found to have been substituted, adulterated, invalid or tested positive for drugs.
Normal Result: A laboratory result that indicates a negative outcome.
Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance: A position within the Office of the Secretary in the Department of Transportation. The function of this office is to organize alcohol and drug testing events for the department and to provide information on how these programs are implemented
Paruresis: Commonly known as shy bladder, paruresis is the medical term given to someone who becomes fearful or anxious at the thought of urinating with others nearby. This can present a challenge for workplace drug testing programs when urine drug testing is used.
PCP: Phencyclidine. Also known as “angel dust”, this once popular drug was made in the 1950s to be used as an intravenous anesthetic during surgery. It is also an illegal drug that some people snort, smoke and inject.
Point of Contact (POC) Test: Also referred to as an instant drug test this is a gadget that can be used to conduct an immunoassay test and provide results within a few minutes of analysing the sample. Since the test can be done at the collection site and results produced fast, the test eliminates the need to send samples to a laboratory if it returns negative results. It is only if the results are positive that they should be taken to a lab for a confirmation test.
Positive Test Result: A drug test established that has used GC/MS in a laboratory and has established the presence of the drug or metabolites being tested for. While immunoassay tests can also produce positive results, the sample has to be taken to a laboratory for follow-up and confirmation tests. The outcome can only be said to be a positive test result if GC/MS confirms it to be positive.
Preliminary/ Presumptive Positive Drug Test Result: The initial stage in the process of drug screening where a saliva or urine specimen tests positive. Every single preliminary positive drug test has to be sent to the laboratory for further analysis and tests since specific over the counter medications and foods can lead to an untrue positive drug test.
Primary Specimen: The specimen holder that is opened and checked by the initial lab to find out if drug traces and metabolites were present in the subject’s system. The primary specimen is also used for validity testing.
Qualification Training: The requisite training that one has to go through in order to become a qualified SAP, Breath Alcohol Technician, collector, or Screening Test Technician. A person who successfully completes the training can also carry out specific duties in alcohol and drug testing initiatives in the Department of Transportation.
Refresher Training: A form of training that is done from time to time in order to help already qualified Screening Test Technicians, Breath Alcohol Technicians and collectors to go over the main requirements and update them on changes and developments in the industry. This includes changes in technology, interpretations, amendments and any other issues relating to the regulations set out by the Department of Transportation.
Safety-Sensitive Position: A role in which part of the job responsibilities of the employee involve, to a given extent, serious concern for the health, safety and welfare of the said staff member occupying the position, their colleagues, those who interact with Company property as well as the general public whose health, safety and well-being could be in great danger in case the employee in the safety-sensitive position used illicit drugs or misused alcohol.
SAMHSA: Short form of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This is a federal agency that sets standards relating to drug testing as well as governs and regulated drug testing laboratories that have received the required approval.
Screening Test Technician: A qualified technician who runs an ASD, offers guidance and assistance to those to be tested during an alcohol testing program.
Security-Sensitive Position: A role in which part of the responsibilities of the employee in that position involves having access to securities, cash, bonds, other financial instruments and/or valuable commodities. It may also involve access to and use of firearms, weapons, armaments as well as protection of valuables, property and individuals. A security-sensitive position may also relate to issues of law enforcement, military, national security and protection of sensitive information relating to the interest of the company. Illegal use of drugs and misuse of alcohol by an employee in a security-sensitive position will undermine the interests of the company as well as any party that is affiliated to the company.
Service Agent: Any entity that is not associated with an employer and is qualified to provide services that meet the alcohol and drug testing requirements of the Department of Transportation. Service agents include laboratories, collectors, Medical Review Officers, Breath Alcohol Technicians, substance abuse professionals, Third Party Administrators among others.
Shipping Container: A container used to protect and transport specimen bottles and the related documents right from the site where they are collected to the testing laboratory.
Shy Bladder: Also known as paruresis, shy bladder is a term used to describe someone who becomes fearful or anxious at the thought of urinating with others nearby. This can present a challenge for workplace drug testing programs when urine drug testing is used.
Specific Gravity: The ratio or proportion of the density of a given substance to the density of another substance used as reference. In drug testing, the first substance will be urine while the reference substance will be water. Normally, the specific gravity for urine when compared to water will be between 1.010 and 1.025.
Specimen Container: A container used to hold specimen as it is transported from the collection site to the laboratory. These containers are tightly sealed and labelled in line with the appropriate procedures.
Split Specimen: This term describes a specimen that is divided into two or more portions to promote the integrity of drug test results. While one of the portions is tested for the presence of drugs, the other is stored for analysis at a later time. In case the first specimen yields a positive result, the other portion can be tested in case the subject or the organization that requested for the test wishes to establish whether the positive outcome was accurate.
Stand Down: This term is used to refer to a situation where an employee is required to excuse themselves from job duties and responsibilities that entail the use of materials and operation of machines that would create an unsafe working environment if the employee has impaired judgement after using alcohol, drugs or other substances. This situation arises when an employee is being evaluated or a drug test has yielded positive results.
Substance Abuse Professional: A person who assesses employees who have failed to comply with regulations laid down by the Department of Transportation. The professional can then make recommendations regarding follow-up tests, treatment, education and aftercare.
Substituted Specimen: This is a specimen that came from a person other than the intended subject.In urine tests, such a specimen could be another person’s urine, an animal’s urine or a completely different substance.
Temperature Strip: A strip for determining if the temperature of the urine to be tested is within the normal range. Urine that has not been tampered with will be in the 90 to 100 degree Fahrenheit (32 to 38 Degree Celsius) range.
THC: The main component of the cannabis plant that causes psychoactive effects.
WHO: World Health Organization. This is an agency of the United Nations that specializes in international public health.
Verified Laboratory Test: This is a test result from the laboratory that has been confirmed to be true and accurate by a Medical Review Officer (MRO).