Drug Testing Do’s and Don’ts

by Pablo Bolanos on November 14, 2017

Its 6:00 a.m. and the sound of your alarm fills the calm morning air. You’re certain that wonderful wake up sound is a bit early and hit snooze to catch a bit more rest. You finally wake up and when you do, you’re immediately hopeful, because today could mark the beginning of a new chapter. As you sit down next to your closest friend—coffee—you take a moment to reflect on your journey and replay the steps you’ve taken to change one of the most important aspects of your life—where you work.

During the past month, you’ve written down potential interview questions, calmed your nerves during face-to-face meetings, and rehearsed the perfect tone when you assert yourself as the best-suited candidate for the job. Prospective employers met you, listened, and got to know you better, and, at last, one manager recognized that your talent would be a great fit for the team and made you a conditional job offer. Before walking proudly into your new job, there is one last step—you must complete and pass a drug test.

As the most common reason for testing, a pre-employment drug test, helps employers proactively protect themselves from the negative impacts of hiring a drug user. The process kicks off when an employer gives the candidate instructions to provide a urine, oral fluid or hair drug test specimen. The test is typically conducted at an off-site location like a Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center by a professional test administrator. It’s significant to note that the drug testing process is standardized across our network, meaning the same strict regimen occurs no matter which Quest site you visit. Our staff is trained to be welcoming, respectful, and to consistently follow strict guidelines.

Your part in the process is simple, yet equally important, to ensuring a successful drug test collection. With the goal of making sure that you, as well as others in the waiting area, have a safe and pleasant experience, we have compiled 10 helpful tips:


For information about your upcoming drug test from Quest, visit our website or contact us online.

Veterans, PTSD, and substance use disorders

by Pablo Bolanos on November 10, 2017

The United States is proud of the millions of men and women who have served in the military to protect the core values of one of the world’s premier superpowers. Defending our great nation involves more than signing up for military service; many are called to war to protect the security of our country and defend democracy. Sadly, the casualties of war do not end on the battlefield.

Many veterans struggle to cope physically and psychologically from trauma sustained during their military service. The psychological effects experienced by veterans are commonly referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD causes clinically significant distress or impairment in the individual’s social interactions, capacity to work, or other important areas of functioning. PTSD is included in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 as a “Trauma-and Stress-or-Related Disorder,” and a diagnosis is not conclusive unless there has been specific surrounding exposure to traumatic events, where the individual:

  • Directly experiences the traumatic event
  • Witnesses the traumatic event in person
  • Learns that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend (with the actual or threatened death being either violent or accidental)
  • Experiences first-hand repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event (not through media, pictures, television, or movies unless work-related)

As detrimental as PTSD can be, many service members are not regularly seeking the necessary care when they have mental health problems, according to research by RAND Corporation. Without appropriate treatment, quality of life can be severely affected, often times leading to self-medication. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reports that many former service members try to cope with their PTSD symptoms by drinking heavily, using drugs, or smoking. Research also shows that “if someone does not have a problem with alcohol before a traumatic event, PTSD increases the risk that he or she will develop a drinking or drug problem.”

As a result, PTSD and substance abuse in unison can create a full-blown substance use disorder, hindering an individual from fully participating in everyday life and, in some cases, becoming severely debilitated. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs about substance use disorders in veterans who also suffer from PTSD are eye-opening, for example:

  • More than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have a substance use disorder
  • War veterans with PTSD and alcohol problems tend to binge drink. Binges may be in response to bad memories of combat trauma
  • Almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for substance use disorders also has PTSD
  • About 1 in 10 returning soldiers from wars in iraq and Afghanistan seen in the VA have a problem with alcohol or other drugs

Annually, we observe Veteran’s Day on November 11 to celebrate the people who have bravely served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Along with our praise and love for veterans on social media and on the news, we can help to increase awareness about the difficulties veterans face when reentering society after their tours of service has ended. Although statistics surrounding both PTSD and substance use disorders are disconcerting to say the least, they are also part of a larger conversation that needs to happen more often.

If you are a veteran and think you may have an issue with PTSD and a substance use disorder, talk to a health professional and discuss treatment options. Additionally, every VA center staffs specialists who are trained in treating both conditions:

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

Hair Drug Test Procedures

November 7, 2017Drug Testing

Hair drug testing can help employers detect habitual use by job applicants and employees. Its primary benefit when compared to other types of drug testing is its long detection window. Additionally, the process requires a small specimen of hair cut under direct supervision, making it difficult to tamper or cheat.  When compared with urine testing, […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

International Drug and Alcohol Trends

October 31, 2017Drug Testing

Brazil is known for spectacular beaches, the Amazon rainforest, and over the past decade, the “Cracklands,” a notorious part of Rio de Janeiro at the heart of Brazil’s growing crack-cocaine epidemic. On the other side of the equator, there is Canada, often referred to as “the friendly neighbor to the north.” Much like the U.S., […]

Read the full article →

How to choose a drug testing laboratory

October 30, 2017Drug Testing

Studies by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggest that substance abuse – which includes drugs and alcohol – costs the U.S. an estimated $276 billion a year, with much of the cost resulting from lost work productivity and increased healthcare spending. Compared to the risks that hiring a drug user can […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

Accept the Challenge: Drug-free Work Week

October 13, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

Today someone, somewhere in the U.S., will miss work, dodge deadlines, shift their work to others, and eventually leave a position vacant. Drug and alcohol abuse can be one of the contributing factors for absenteeism, lost productivity, and eventually turnover. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 7% of adults employed full-time […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

Detect marijuana more often using oral fluid

September 27, 2017Oral Fluid testing

As state marijuana laws continue to change, it’s not surprising that marijuana use and drug test positivity are also on the rise. An estimated 24 million adults (aged 12 or older) currently use marijuana, according to latest data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. New technology in oral fluid testing has proven effective […]

Read the full article →