What Type of Substances Does a Urine Drug Screening Detect?

drug screening

Do you have reason to believe that someone you know is using drugs? If so, a urine drug test can provide the clear answers you need.

Throughout the years, these tests have become more sophisticated and savvy than ever before. Now, they’re able to test for a wider range of drugs, including custom configurations.

Wondering what type of substances a typical urine drug screening will detect? Read on to learn more!

Traditional Urine Drug Screening

Urine drug tests are the most common form of drug and alcohol testing on the market. This is attributed largely to the fact that they’re the least invasive tests, as well as the most legally acceptable ones. 

Not only are these ideal for personal use, but they’re also the go-to testing method for employers. Drug tests might be included in pre-employment screenings, performed randomly to keep employees in check, or after a workplace accident occurs. 

Moreover, urinalysis is currently the only testing method approved for federally-mandated testing. 

Yet, for all of their benefits, urine drug tests remained relatively basic, until recently. Original models started out testing for the most common drugs, including:

  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Opiates (OPI)
  • Amphetamine (AMP)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

These tests work by revealing the presence (or absence) of drug metabolites present in someone’s urine. Metabolites are residues that remain in one’s body for a period of time following recent drug use, even after the initial effects of the drug are gone. 

The Evolution of Urine Drug Testing

While original urine drug tests were effective in their own right, it’s no secret that the current pace of drug use is astronomical.

In fact, research shows that nearly 40% of Americans now battle some form of illicit drug use disorder. Every year, more than 70,000 people in the country die from a drug overdose, with 68% of those overdoses linked to a prescription drug or illegal opioid.

As addiction continues to escalate, so do the types of drugs available. In addition to the standard categories listed above, there are now new and custom drugs on the market that didn’t exist a few years ago.

As such, this shift has placed an impetus on drug testing manufacturers to create products that can keep up. It’s likely that most of the newer drugs would go undetected in an older-model test that wasn’t designed to capture them.

Modern, More Comprehensive Drug Tests

Today, you can find advanced urine drug tests that detect the presence of the following:

  • Custom drugs
  • New drugs
  • Root drugs
  • Specific drugs
  • Synthetic drugs 

Consider our 14-panel CLIA-Waived Urine Drug Test Cup. Far more all-encompassing than a standard five-panel urine test, this single test covers a variety of drugs.

In addition to AMP, COC PCP, and THC, the test also detects:

  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morphine 300
  • Ecstasy
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Propoxyphene
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants

Testing for Synthetic Opioids

A major advantage of these more modern urine drug tests is that they can now detect even minor levels of synthetic opioids. A few of the synthetic drugs that they can now monitor include:

  • Tramadol
  • Fentanyl
  • Kratom
  • Bath Salts

Why is it important to use products that test for these drugs? Put simply, they’re more potent than their predecessors.

Synthetic opioids (Tramadol and Fentanyl) account for nearly 30,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. This is more than any other opioid.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is quickly realizing that Kratom is more dangerous than once thought, causing the deaths of nearly 100 people in a 17-month span. Meanwhile, bath salts are behind an estimated 23,000 annual visits to the emergency room.

Custom Cutoff Levels

In addition to testing for these new drugs, purchasers can also set custom cutoffs for these new tests. This allows them to define exactly where they want the test to shift from negative to positive. 

Traditionally, pre-set cutoff levels existed in these tests to allow for a small trace of the metabolite to be present in a given specimen, giving the donor the benefit of the doubt. For instance, tests that monitored for THC had cutoff levels in place to help prevent a false positive from occurring after exposure to secondhand smoke. 

Now, however, the testing minimums are stricter than ever before, and users aren’t quite as lenient. To exercise their control and ensure that even a trace amount of any drug doesn’t slip through the crack, users can set these cutoffs to their liking, often lowering them from their levels in years past.

Detecting Adulteration Attempts

Testing for a broader range of drugs is helpful, but what if the person being tested has access to materials and resources that can help them alter the results?

It’s all too easy for them to tamper with or manipulate their urine specimen, intending to generate a false negative result. In most cases, they’ll do so by substituting or adding adulterants that interfere with the test or kill the drugs present in their urine.

There are many materials, methods and substances they can employ in this endeavor, including:

  • Oxidants (OH)
  • Specific Gravity (SG)
  • pH
  • Nitrates (NI)
  • Glutaraldehyde (GL)
  • Creatinine (CR)

Yet, it’s much harder to fool these modern urine drug tests. Most of the ones available will test for either three of the above adulterants or all six of them. This is possible through built-in adulteration test strips that can easily detect if any foul play has occurred.

The Modern Drug Screening Products You Need

Are you ready to embrace the future of urine drug screening? If so, you came to the right place.

We offer a variety of urine testing kits designed to meet any need, including dip cards, test cups, and iCassette tests. We’re proud to offer top-of-the-line solutions in line with today’s pattern of current and anticipated drug use, helping you take a more accurate approach to testing.

Gone are the days when you could only test for the five main classes of drugs. Today’s test solutions are more inclusive and innovative than ever before.

Contact us today to learn more about the products we provide and let’s connect.

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