Initial Drug Screen

Last updated: June 21, 2018

What Does Initial Drug Screen Mean?

An initial drug screen is a preliminary test done. If immunoassay, the most common initial screening method, is used it can only assess whether or not a specific drug metabolite is present in a sample rather than the presence of a drug itself. At this stage of testing, only a positive or negative result can be obtained, indicating the presence or absence of the drug metabolite. The quantity of a drug taken by the employee who submitted the sample cannot be measured at this stage of testing.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Initial Drug Screen

An initial drug screen is the first step in drug testing. Because an initial drug screen usually employs immunoassay testing and only detects the presence of a drug metabolite in an employee's sample, a positive result would then indicate that further testing is required to confirm the result and to provide specific data as to the nature and quantity of the drug metabolite in the sample. Initial drug screens are often performed using an immunoassay method to analyze a urine sample, which can also normally detect if an adulterant, such as bleach or ammonia, has been added to the sample.


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