Adulterated Specimen

Definition - What does Adulterated Specimen mean?

An adulterated specimen is one that has been altered in some way. In drug testing, a specimen is identified as adulterated if it contains substances that are not normally found in like substances, or normally occurring substances are found at irregular concentrations.

For example, a urine sample that contains a chemical additive not normally found in urine would be labeled adulterated. Some substances, referred to as oxidizing adulterants can oxidize drugs or drug metabolites in a urine sample or affect the effectiveness of reagents to the presence of the drug.

Evidence of adulteration may also be in the form of excesses of expected substances. An example of this type of adulteration would be excessive amounts of water present in a urine sample. This type of adulteration is also called dilution.

Other types of samples, include oral fluid samples, can also be subject to adulteration.

As an initial step in drug testing procedures, a collection or lab technician will usually conduct a series of tests to determine whether the test sample has been adulterated.

WorkplaceTesting explains Adulterated Specimen

When drug or alcohol testing is conducted pursuant to federal law, specific guidelines must be followed. These guidelines, promulgated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), include procedures for the detection of adulteration.

For Department of Transportation mandated drug tests, a test specimen will first under go an initial specimen validity test. This test is designed to detect evidence of adulteration, substitution, dilution or other causes to invalidate the test. If a specimen is determined to be invalid following this test, a second test may be ordered to confirm the finding.

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