What is Drug Testing? an explainer

is drug testing? Drug testing uses urine,
hair, blood, or saliva samples to detect drug use
within a limited time frame. However, knowing if
someone has used drugs does not prove that
they were impaired at the time of testing. Random drug tests
can only legally be carried out in safety
sensitive environments, such as manufacturing,
forestry, or construction. Reactive drug tests
can be conducted on suspicion or
after an incident, but only if specified in
employment agreements. Regular drug testing may
also be used by the courts, for monitoring in
treatment programs, and in professional sports. Individual consent,
privacy, and rights must always be respected. Unlike breath tests for
alcohol, most drug tests take the metabolites
left in the system when a body breaks down drugs. Some metabolites last
in the body for longer, and this varies
between individuals. For a test to be
valid, samples must be collected by
qualified tester and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The most frequently used
method is urine testing, which is limited by
what it can detect. Blood testing can detect a
wide range of substances, but is uncommon in
the workplace and is more likely to be used
in serious situations. Hair testing for
specific substances is the most expensive method. Saliva testing is not currently
an approved drug testing method in New Zealand. Use of cannabis,
methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates can be detected
over a varying length of time depending on the type of test. Positive test
times in urine will vary depending on the
individual and substance. Blood tests can detect
use of legal medications and illicit drugs
for up to three days. A positive urine test only shows
that cannabis, for example, has been used once
in the past month. It doesn’t tell if
this was at the weekend or if someone’s
impaired when tested. Cannabis metabolites
are stored in fat cells and stay in the body
for a long time. Even if an individual has
stopped using cannabis completely, intermittent tests
can show spikes in daily levels and show a different picture. Some medications can cause
false positive results and it’s impossible to
test for every drug. So remember, drug testing only
shows part of the picture. Each test only
detects some drugs. And to improve workplace
safety, focus on impairment, not if drugs have been used. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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