Blog Series

Ask the Experts: What is POCT?

by Nicole Jupe on December 8, 2017

POCT is a common acronym in our industry that stands for point of collection test — an instant or rapid drug or alcohol test. A POCT  collection begins with a test administrator uses a portable device to screen urine or oral fluid and the device typically yields a result within minutes. This POCT snapshot be enough reflect a final test result for an employer. An instant test can be performed on-site at a place of business or in the field. However, some employers prefer that the test is collected and interpreted by a trained drug testing technician or collector at a brick and mortar collection site.

Best practices require that if an instant test specimen screens non-negative, it is sent to the laboratory for confirmatory testing. The lab will re-test the specimen to determine if drugs or alcohol are present and report a final result.

Employers tend to choose instant testing when the fast turnaround time of drug test results is a key requirement for their program. Although convenience and time are important variables of your program, it’s critical to consider all of the criteria and complexities before making a choice on a testing method. Factors to evaluate may include:

  • Overall objectives of your substance abuse program
  • State laws where your company conducts business
  • Added responsibility of collecting and interpreting test results
  • Drug panel configurations
  • Cutoff levels and device sensitivity
  • Susceptibility to donor adulteration or cheating
  • Value of an accurate drug test

At Quest Diagnostics, our drug testing methodology is sound. Laboratory certifications are in place to ensure that our processes, instrumentation, results, and personnel adhere to the highest standards of quality. Therefore, it is not a matter of choosing the single best drug and alcohol testing method, but rather selecting a method or combination of methods that best fits your company’s needs. In the end, accurately and reliably screening job applicants and employees to deter workplace alcohol and drug use remains paramount.

Weigh the pros and cons of instant drug and alcohol testing.

To learn more about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Rising methamphetamine use in the U.S. workforce

by Nicole Jupe on November 30, 2017

Methamphetamine Methamphetamine, sometimes called meth, crystal, crank, or ice, is a highly addictive stimulant. It emerged in the 1930s as a treatment for narcolepsy and depression and was also taken by German and Japanese soldiers in World War II to stay alert during battle, according to a DATIA focus article by Dr. Rodi Predescu, Quest Diagnostics. In the 1960s, people began to inject the drug to experience euphoria. Along with the explosion of crack-cocaine in the 1980s, meth continued to gain an audience of new users. In the past two decades, the abuse of methamphetamine has significantly increased. Although it is available by prescription, the majority of methamphetamine is produced and distributed illegally. The law requires all pharmacies and retail stores to monitor the sale of over-the-counter medicines with ingredients like pseudoephedrine because they are the key ingredients in the home-made of meth.

Methamphetamine can be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or injected. Small amounts of the drug may cause increased physical activity, increased respiration, lack of appetite, rapid and irregular heart rate, and increased blood pressure. Repeated use may lead to anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, skin sores, and severe dental issues, referred to as “meth mouth.” Additionally, people who inject meth are at higher risk for contracting infectious diseases like hepatitis C and HIV.  Addicts can suffer intense withdrawal symptoms when they detox and quit using methamphetamine.

The most current findings from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health tell us that:

  • An estimated 8.2% of adults (aged 26 or older), or 17.1 million people, currently use an illicit drug
  • About 128,000 young adults (aged 18-25) and 757,000 adults currently use methamphetamine
  • About 22,000 adolescents (aged 12-17), 156,000 young adults, and 694,000 adults suffer from a methamphetamine substance-use disorder

According to the latest Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana use has increased broadly in the American workforce, contributing to the highest positivity rate in 12 years. Although methamphetamine positivity in urine testing declined between 2005 and 2008 and plateaued between 2008 and 2012, it is currently steadily increasing. Between 2012 and 2016, methamphetamine positivity climbed 64% in the general U.S. workforce and 14% among federally-mandated, safety-sensitive workers. In oral fluid drug testing, methamphetamine positivity increased 75% between 2013 and 2016. Visit for the full report.

To see methamphetamine positivity rates by 3-digit zip code in the United States for the past 10 years, visit

Download our Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index brochure.

To learn more about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Methamphetamine positivity


Staying compliant with new DOT regulations

November 29, 2017News

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) amended its drug testing program regulations for all DOT employees effective January 1, 2018. This harmonizes DOT regulations with guidelines established by U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) for federal drug testing programs. The most notable change with this new regulation is the addition of four […]

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Webinar: The Life of a Drug Test

November 28, 2017Blog Series

From the perspective of an employer, the drug testing process is an in-and-out experience. A potential new hire or current employee provides a sample at one of our collection sites. Days later—after the sample is sent to the laboratory for testing—a final result is ready. At which point the employee returns to work or, a […]

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Ask the Experts: Cheating an oral fluid drug test

November 2, 2017Oral Fluid testing

Q: Is it possible for a donor to cheat an oral fluid drug test? Over time, we have heard about numerous attempts by individuals trying to cheat an oral fluid drug test. Examples include excessively rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash, chewing ice, eating Altoids® mints, drinking excessive amounts of water, using products that claim to clean […]

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Ask the Experts: Hair drug test specimens

October 17, 2017Hair testing

Q: Can a hair drug test be performed on someone with little or no hair? We get many questions from both individuals scheduled for a drug screen and employers in anticipation of a hair drug test. They wonder how much hair is needed, what part of the head is the hair is cut from, whether […]

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Half of Americans tested misused prescription medications

October 3, 2017Drug Testing

Quest Diagnostics Health Trends studies are published in peer-reviewed medical journals and by the company as a public service. The research features insights and analysis from a large database of laboratory data. Most recently, we released the Prescription Drug Misuse in America: Diagnostic Insights in the Growing Drug Epidemic report, which examined 3.4 million prescription […]

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New data shows 1 in 10 Americans use drugs

September 25, 2017Drug Testing

More states than ever before allow the recreational use of marijuana, a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Opiate abuse claims 91 lives each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If users can’t obtain painkillers, they seek potent, cheaper alternatives like fentanyl or heroin. In short, drug use in our society continues to […]

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By the Numbers: Random Drug Testing Data

September 22, 2017Drug Testing

Companies drug test their applicants and employees at a variety of times, for a variety of reasons, using a variety of specimen types. The federally-mandated, safety-sensitive sector follows regulatory drug testing guidance, and in doing so establishes a model that is frequently followed by U.S. companies, who elect to perform drug testing because they see […]

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Zika Spotlight: Frequently Asked Questions

August 9, 2017Drug Testing

The height of mosquito season has arrived and as we wrap up our summer clinical testing spotlight—Zika, Past, Present and Future—we realize that all of the information about the disease, its potential effects, and all of the preventive measures can be overwhelming. For that reason, we’ve narrowed down some of the most important points to […]

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