Last updated: November 27, 2023
Opiates refer to a combination of both natural and synthetic drugs that have a pharmacological action similar to that of morphine. They mostly include drugs that have the same structure as morphine. Some of the naturally occurring opiates that originate from the poppy plant codeines which are mostly used for as pain relievers.
They also depress the central nervous system of your body. Other semi-synthetic opiates that are derived from various compounds found in the poppy plant include oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxycodone. Heroin is also a synthetic opiate from morphine which is rarely detectable in body fluids during the opiate drug testing process. Sometimes, the poppy seeds that are used in favorite foods such as bagels may contain high amounts of opioid which may end up triggering positive opiate results during drug testing.
Most of the opioid compounds usually have negative effects on your central nervous system and the bowel. These compounds tend to produce respiratory depression, constipation, confusion, mood changes, and analgesia. Over-dependence and abuse are characterized by pinpoint pupils, respiratory depression, and coma. Heroin and morphine remain the most commonly abused opiates. The heroin rush is the most desired sensation admired by those who abuse it.
Opiate drug testing
The testing is mostly done through urine drug testing which typically provides valuable information that is used in the employment process. The results of the test confirm the existence or non-existence of the opiates in your blood. Urine drug testing can also test for abuse or misuse of the opiate compounds. Job applicants are always required to undergo drug and alcohol screening as part of the job application process.
Before testing starts, the drug testing expert must identify the specific opioid compounds for which to test and the appropriate methods to use as well as the expected results. Immunoassay is one of the most commonly used drug tests since it tends to provide accurate results. Sometimes, the identification of specific opiate compounds may be made using sophisticated drug identification methods. Other techniques such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography may be used for identification of specific compounds.
It is sometimes referred to as point-of-care testing. It’s always the first drug testing method to be considered under the UDT program since it identifies the existence of opioid compounds quickly and efficiently. However, this drug testing strategy is always best suited as a screening test. The results of this stage should only be considered as preliminary results. However, the ease of use and the low cost of conducting an immunoassay make it a viable strategy during the drug screening stage of the job application process.
You should also keep in mind that ordering and interpreting the results of these tests accurately requires a precise understanding of the testing modalities and conventional explanations of the false-negative and false-positive results. Morphine and codeine are more responsive to UDT by immunoassay, but the process doesn’t show the distinction between the two.
When the immunoassay UDT seems inconsistent, i.e., it indicates the presence of opioid compounds that shouldn’t be in the sample then more accurate and somehow expensive testing is done to provide more accurate results of the test. A small percentage of every outcome is always subjected to advanced laboratory techniques to ascertain the accuracy of the results. Since the repercussions of a false-positive screen can be dire, a confirmation test is always performed on all inconsistent immunoassay results.
Interpretation of the results
The analysis of the results from the testing stage is crucial in establishing whether the individual tested positive or negative. Codeine is always metabolized to morphine so you should keep in mind that both substances may appear in the urine following the digestion of codeine.
Typically, the tests indicate if one or more opioid compounds are present in the urine sample provided. These are quantitative tests since we only establish if a particular compound is present in the urine sample but not how much of the compound is present. The tests are done as part of the routine drug screening during the recruitment process. All prospective employees must be screened for opiate use before being hired.