Primary Specimen

Last updated: August 28, 2020

What Does Primary Specimen Mean?

A primary specimen refers to the first specimen of a substance subjected to testing. The U.S. Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs designates the primary specimen as the urine sample provided to and tested by a first laboratory to determine if a drug or drug metabolite is present. This primary specimen may be subjected to validity testing, an initial drug test, and confirmation testing.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Primary Specimen

When conducting a urine drug test for the purposes of complying with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rules, a urine sample is split into two specimens, the primary and secondary specimens.

The first or primary specimen is then sent to a lab for testing. This primary lab will conduct a validity test to ensure that the specimen is useable and unadulterated. Then, the specimen will be tested to determine the presence of the targeted drugs. If the primary specimen tests positive or is otherwise suspect, then the employee who provided the sample may request that another series of tests be performed on the secondary specimen at a different certified laboratory than the first.


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