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I’m There: Cecilia Melgar

by Nicole Jupe on July 20, 2017

Being part of our technical team means delivering on our promise of accurate drug testing coupled with exceptional service. As a Certifying Scientist in our West Hills, California laboratory, Cecilia is eager to learn from cross-training and new experiences.

In this month’s feature of our “I’m There” series, Cecilia describes what we’re there when you need us means to her. Read her full story.

Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions shares a commitment to being there when our clients and colleagues need us – at every possible opportunity. Through unique stories from our team, you’ll get a more personal perspective of what that commitment means to them. To learn more about this series, read our introductory post.

For more information about Employer Solutions, visit our website or contact us online.

Ask the Experts: Drug Testing Cutoffs

by Nicole Jupe on July 18, 2017

Question: Can you explain cutoff levels for laboratory-based drug testing?

In workplace drug testing, the industry standard process involves two-tiered testing – an initial screen on one portion of the specimen, followed by a confirmatory test on a second portion of the original specimen. The initial test is designed to separate negative specimens from further consideration. The confirmatory test uses definitive methods, such as chromatography-mass spectrometry (e.g., GC-MS, LC-MS/MS), that specifically identify and quantify the drug/metabolite in the specimen. Drug testing detects the presence of drugs and drug metabolites using cutoff levels to determine whether a specimen tests positive or negative for the use of a specific drug.

Cutoff levels are expressed in nanograms (ng) per milliliter (mL) for urine and oral fluid testing or picograms (pg) per milligram (mg) for hair testing. It is important to select a specimen type and cutoff level based on the desired window of detection and any regulatory requirements. Only when a drug or drug metabolite is identified at a concentration equal to or above the administrative cutoff is a specimen reported by the laboratory as positive. Consequently, a negative drug test does not necessarily mean that no drug is present. While that may be the case, other possible interpretations are that a drug was present below the cutoff or the testing panel did not include the drug the individual was using.

Cutoff levels for federally-regulated drug testing programs are established based on mandatory guidelines set by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) rule 49 CFR Part 40 harmonizes with HHS and describes the required procedures for conducting drug and alcohol testing for the federally-regulated transportation industry. Many non-regulated employers mirror the cutoff levels established by the government while others customize their drug testing panels to be more sensitive to certain drugs based upon their program needs and unique workforce.

Download our Complete Line of Drug Testing Solutions to see the most commonly ordered non-regulated drug test panels and their cutoff levels.

Take our Drug Testing Needs Assessment to evaluate the benefits of different solutions for your program goals.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

SHRM in the Big Easy

July 13, 2017Drug Testing

New Orleans has a rich history that spans back to the 1700s. The city’s pulse beats through marvelous jazz musicians, street performers, and some of the world’s most diverse and delicious food. No other city in the United States quite compares. This eclectic stage lent itself to a lively conference held by the Society for […]

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Zika Spotlight: Past, Present, and Future

July 11, 2017Drug Testing

“At first I thought Emanuelle was just a tiny baby but I noticed she wasn’t developing like my nephew of the same age. At four months she couldn’t sit down properly and was very floppy and didn’t move around at lot.” Emanuelle’s mother, Vanessa, found out the heart-breaking news that her baby had a mild […]

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Fighting Opioid Prescription Addiction

June 29, 2017News

Opioid addiction can begin with the best of intentions, like managing pain. The middle-aged male visits the ER for a back sprain. A typical teenager has her wisdom teeth removed by the oral surgeon. To minimize discomfort, the healthcare professional may prescribe 20 or more hydrocodone pills. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and […]

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An Exploration of Addiction: Young Adults

June 27, 2017Drug Testing

In the previous installment of our Exploration of Addiction series, we examined the adolescent years and how access, curiosity, and a number of other factors can influence adolescent drug and alcohol use. We now turn our attention to a demographic that is sometimes synonymous with excess, experimentation, and substance-abuse: young adulthood. According to the National […]

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Name That Drug: Seemingly Superhuman

June 23, 2017Drug Testing

DATIA focus magazine is a quarterly publication of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) that provides up-to-date resources and information. As a top publication in our industry, DATIA focus features content on leading innovations, research, and current trends. The publication features in-depth articles that discuss trends, the effects of drugs, legal implications of drug and alcohol […]

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I’m There: Laron Nelson

June 19, 2017Drug Testing

Always racing against time, Laron Nelson, Technical Forensic Processor, greets thousands of packages with a smile and an eagerness to get them moving throughout our Lenexa, Kansas laboratory. He is part of the specimen processing team that must always work quickly and efficiently because our clients trust Quest to deliver timely, accurate drug test results. […]

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Mapping Drug Use in the U.S. Workforce

June 9, 2017Drug Testing

Which drugs are popular in my county? How does workplace drug use in my state compare to the rest of the country? Has drug use in the American workforce changed significantly during the past decade? Employers, media, government, and policymakers frequently look to Quest Diagnostics for insights about their specific geographies. These inquiries are especially […]

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Cocaine Continues Upward Trend

June 1, 2017Drug Testing

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant native to South America where many chew its leaves to squash pain, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. By the 1880s, doctors as famous as Sigmund Freud were studying cocaine as a “miracle drug” as an anesthetic for surgery and for a variety of health conditions including anxiety, addiction, and […]

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