drug testing laboratory

I’m There: Joshua Weaver

by Steve Beller on August 14, 2017

Not limiting ourselves to a defined job role sets Quest Diagnostics apart from the competition. Joshua Weaver, Specimen Custodian in our Lenexa, Kansas laboratory, believes in taking action to do whatever needs to be done. His commitment to delivering above and beyond expectations demonstrates how our we’re there mindset is ingrained in our culture.

In this month’s feature of our “I’m There” series, Joshua describes what we’re there when you need us means to him. Read the 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 drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

Ask the Experts: Hair Drug Test Collections

by Nicole Jupe on August 4, 2017

How much hair is needed for a drug test?Question: How much hair is needed for a drug test?

Rumors abound about exactly how much hair is snipped for a hair drug test. Some imagine they will suffer with a choppy, bad haircut or bald spot. Others fear they will lose their precious locks and require a hat wherever they go. In fact, quite the opposite is true if an individual visits a site with trained, professional collectors. At these drug test collection sites, the collector will only cut the small, specific amount of hair needed for the laboratory to perform the test. The hair is typically cut from the crown of the back of the head in a manner where it will not be as noticeable.

At Quest Diagnostics, our scientific experts have defined precise measurements for a hair test specimen collection. The amount of hair needed for a hair drug is approximately 100 milligrams made up of the first 1-½ inches from the root end. Since the weight of hair varies by individual and because drug testing collectors do not have access to highly sensitive weighing scales, it is easier to visualize the required quantity in terms of the width or diameter of the hair specimen collected.

If the hair is more than four inches long, the laboratory requires approximately 120 strands. If placed in a bundle this quantity of hair would resemble the circumference of a pencil; or if laid flat, would be approximately 1 centimeter in width. It is critical that the root ends of the cut hair are aligned and placed with the root ends extending about ¼ inch beyond the pointed portion of the arrow formed by the foil in the Quest collection kit. In order to approximate time of drug use (up to 90 days), the lab will cut and use about 1½ inches from the root end. If the collected hair is shorter than four inches, but longer than a ½ inch, additional strands of hair (in addition to the first 120 strands), or a larger quantity of hair is required to ensure an adequate amount of hair is received to complete testing. If the hair is curly, root ends do not have to be kept aligned and the hair sample size should resemble the size of a standard cotton ball.

If the donor has no head hair or hair shorter than ½ inch long, the collector may use chest, underarm, leg, or facial hair—in that order of preference. The amount collected should resemble a standard cotton ball. The collector should always note the source of the hair sample on the hair collection envelope. This will aid in a more accurate interpretation of the drug test result. If body hair is collected, the collector must make sure to collect as much hair as possible. Body hair is usually lighter in weight and more hair is needed for testing.

These detailed collection protocols should reassure donors that only a minimal amount of hair is cut for a drug screening and stress the importance of a trained collector.

Visit our Hair Testing FAQs for more frequently asked questions about hair testing.

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

ESP: Simplicity from Start to Finish

June 21, 2017Drug Testing

When technology is at its best, it combines powerful functionality with intuitive design. The Employer Solutions Portal (ESP) drug testing portal is a great example of this combination. But don’t take our word for it. A longtime client recently wrote us to say, “With ESP, we can set up templates and minimize data entry. It’s […]

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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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Increases in Illicit Drugs, Including Cocaine, Drive Workforce Drug Positivity to Highest Rate in 12 Years

May 16, 2017Drug Testing

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) reveals insights into patterns of drug use among the American workforce. It has been published annually for more than 25 years as a public service for government, employers, policymakers, media, and the general public. This year’s report will be presented at the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association […]

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I’m There: Dr. Steven Sykes

May 15, 2017We're There

Dr. Steven Sykes rotated throughout the forensic toxicology laboratory during his multi-year post-doctoral fellowship to learn every aspect of the drug testing process. By training alongside lab technicians and certifying scientists, he gained unique insights into what it takes to reach the highest standards of quality. In this month’s feature of our “I’m There” series, Steven […]

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Employers Paying the Price of Substance Abuse

May 9, 2017Drug Testing

Substance abuse in the workplace is increasing. For the past several years, data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ has shown an increase in drug test positivity in the American workforce. We knew that employee drug use was costly to businesses in turnover, absenteeism, accidents, and insurance. However, the actual cost employers bear for […]

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Fentanyl Crisis Continues

April 26, 2017Drug Testing

Without the careful monitoring of a licensed physician, opioids can be deadly. The National Center on Health Statistics shows that in 2015 alone, more than 17,000 people died from opioid pain relievers, in addition to the 19,000 who died as a result of their use of heroin and other illicit opioids. In total, the percentage […]

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I’m There: Roselyn Alviar

April 13, 2017We're There

As a strong advocate for both clients and teammates, Roselyn Alviar jumps in to help out wherever she can and fosters camaraderie in the laboratory. She troubleshoots problems to maximize efficiency with faster workflows and consistently offers exceptional service. Together, she and her department always rally to get the job done right. In this month’s […]

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I’m There: Charlie Sullivan

March 6, 2017We're There

Charlie Sullivan believes that if we take care of our employees, in turn, they will take care of our customers. As a result, he trains and mentors his team to focus on providing a seamless experience at our collection sites so that a donor’s first impression is a positive one. He understands that our frontline […]

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