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Court Ordered Testing


The most popular specimen types tested under court orders are hair and nail. Both specimens have a longer detection period than any other kinds of specimens.  Substance abuse hair testing offers up to a 90-day window for detection of drug use prior to the test date, and nail testing has a window of detection of approximately 3-6 months. Most laboratories only guarantee results up to 3 months in the workplace.

There are many situations in which someone may be legally required to undergo drug testing, including agreements between divorcing spouses, child custody arrangements, probation, DUI or DWI arrests.

These two sample types, hair and nail, are collected under direct observation, which makes it difficult to adulterate or cheat. Body hair and toe nails accumulate more biomarkers due to their slower growth rate, which in turn extends the detection window up to 12 months. Both hair and nail follicle testing share the disadvantage of not being able to detect recent or short term drug abuse within the most recent 2 weeks. It takes 7 to 10 days for any drug(s) to metabolize through the blood vessels and grow out either through the hair follicle or the nail bed.  

Over the last few years, hair testing has become popular with employers throughout the United States.  Hair testing provides nearly twice the number of positives due to its longer detection window, and it’s hard to adulterate the specimen. But if your desired testing window is within the past 12 hours, it would not be recommended that a hair, nail, or even urine test be conducted.

Oral fluid specimens have a shorter detection period and produce higher positive results than urine or hair follicle samples. The reasons Oral Fluid is becoming popular are:

  • Always conducted under observation
  • No definitive way to adulterate an oral fluid test, if the donor was under observation for ten minutes’ prior to completion.

Cutoff Levels are listed below:

Drug Cutoff Level Approximate detection Time in Oral fluid
Amphetamine 1,000 ng/mL 1-3 days
Cocaine 300 ng/ml 1-3 Days
Methamphetamine 1,000 ng/mL 1-3 Days
Opiates 2,000 ng/mL 1-3 Days
Phencyclidine 25 ng/mL 1-3 Days
THC 50 ng/mL 6-12 Hours

Tests Available for court testing:

  • Hair
  • Urine for drugs
  • Urine for alcohol
  • Urine ETG – that are ethyl glucuronide and ethyl sulfate are metabolites of ethanol (alcohol) that is present in urine after ingestion of ethyl alcohol. ETG is excreted in urine for a prolonged time, which makes this test useful to measure alcohol intake.  The presence of this biomarker will indicate that ethanol was ingested within the previous 3 to 4 days, or approximately 80 hours after the body has eliminated the ethanol.  The test specimen is submitted to a laboratory for examination by LC/MS (Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry ).
  • Nail
  • Saliva
  • DNA (for paternity, siblingship, grandparent age, and others.)           

Court admissible drug testing requires laboratory confirmation for all non-negative results. DATCS’ protocol recommends all laboratory positive results be forwarded to a Medical Review Officer, provided by DATCS, to confirm any prescription usage by the donor, that may interfere with test results..

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Drug & Alcohol Testing Compliance Services, Drug Testing, Longview, TX

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