Randox Testing Services understands the importance of using the right sample type in the right testing scenario. As a result we use a variety of testing methods and sample types to detect drug abuse or alcohol misuse and offer advice and guidance on which method, or combination of methods would be best. Our drug and alcohol testing methods include a breath test, oral fluid test, urine test and a hair strand test.

Breath Test

A breath test is used for the detection of alcohol and determines whether an individual has recently consumed alcohol or is currently over the legal or pre-determined limit. It produces instant results and is commonly used by employers carrying out various types of workplace testing including random testing, for cause testing and post-incident testing, as well as police officers involved in criminal cases where alcohol is suspected to be the cause.

Alcohol breath testing consists of using a non-invasive handheld device to analyse and estimate an individual’s blood alcohol content indirectly by measuring the amount of alcohol in their breath. This is possible due to alcohol being absorbed from the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines into the bloodstream. As the blood passes through the lungs, some of the alcohol evaporates and moves across the membranes of the lungs alveoli (air sacs) into the air. The concentration of the alcohol in the air is related to the concentration of alcohol in the blood, allowing a breathalyser device to be used to estimate an individual’s blood alcohol content.

At Randox Testing Services we use and supply breathalysers to provide extremely accurate results.

Intoximeters Breathalysers

Intoximeters Breathalysers allow alcohol testing to be conducted on-site, and results to be reported immediately. Our highly trained collection officers will perform a breath test at a place convenient to you, using a calibrated instrument to produce legally defensible results which are printed and reported immediately. The donor will then be asked to sign the result report which will be retained by our sample collection officer and included in our final report. For our full range, please click here.

Benefits of Using a Breath Test to Detect Alcohol:

    • Practical method of analysis
    • Immediate results
    • On-site reporting
    • Accurate detection of alcohol levels – measures the presence and level of alcohol

Saliva Drug Test

A saliva test is used for the detection of drugs, and can detect drugs for up to 48 hours after consumption. Providing analysis of short-term drug abuse, a saliva drug test is used by employers conducting for-cause testing and post-incident testing, as well as family law solicitors who may require testing for abstinence of drugs.

An oral fluid test consists of taking a saliva sample from between the cheek and gums to analyse traces of drugs. This sample method is reliable due to the high concentrations of drug components which remain in the oral cavity for a period of time after drug consumption. Sample collection is taken quickly and easily, and is less prone to adulteration due to samples being taken by the sample collection officer and the sample donor being in view at all times.

Benefits of Using a Saliva Test to Detect Drug Abuse:

    • Easy to collect and non-invasive
    • Observed sample collection ensures samples are not tampered with
    • Reliable method due to significant level of local absorption of drugs in the oral cavity

Urine Test

A urine test can be used for the detection of drugs and/or alcohol, and offers short-term detection of substance abuse. Alcohol is detectable in urine for less than 12 hours, and a urine drug test can detect traces of drugs from between 4 hours and up to 8 days (this may be extended for regular cannabis users to around 30 days). It is often used in combination with another method such as a hair strand test to provide an enhanced time-line for drug and alcohol detection; therefore allowing analysis of chronic substance abuse.

As a simple and practical method it is used as the most common sample type for workplace drug and alcohol testing. It is also utilised when conducting family law testing to ensure no alcohol intake by someone who has been forbidden to consume alcohol by a court of law or someone who is on a drugs or alcohol rehabilitation program.

A urine test consists of gaining a urine sample from the individual securely. Due to the nature of the urine sample being deposited privately by the sample donor, measures need to be taken to ensure the sample is not tampered with. At Randox Testing Services samples are collected under strict chain of custody protocols to guarantee sample integrity for legally defensible testing. We also increase accuracy of results by testing for creatinine which is a simple method of testing the authenticity of the sample given and reduces false-negative results.

Benefits of Using a Urine Test to Detect Drugs and Alcohol:

    • Practical method of sample collection
    • Accurate detection of the presence of drugs and alcohol
    • Can be used in conjunction with other methods to provide more detailed results

Hair Strand Test

A hair strand test can be used for the detection of drugs and/or alcohol. It is used for long-term substance abuse profiling with a detection window of 90+ days. This sample type has the longest detection window and is often used in conjunction with other methods to enhance identification of individuals with substance abuse issues. It is commonly used by recruiters and employers conducting pre-employment screening and is the most common sample type used for substance abuse assessment in child protection and family law cases.

Hair testing involves taking a hair strand sample from an individual to detect if and approximately when someone has consumed drugs or alcohol. Hair grows at a rate of approximately 1cm per month and, as a result, a 3cm sample is generally used to obtain a longer analysis of substance abuse. Hair strand analysis differs slightly for the detection of drugs and alcohol.

Hair Drug Test

When a drug is taken it is absorbed into the blood stream and circulated around the body. As a result it is incorporated into the hair follicle meaning that as the hair grows, drugs are transferred into the hair strand. It can take up to 2 weeks for drug components to enter the hair and therefore analysis of a 3cm sample is recommended.

Analysis of the hair strand allows traces of drugs to be detected to provide an overall picture of drug abuse or a month by month analysis. Segmentation of the hair sample to provide a detailed month-on-month view is advantageous as it can highlight trends of drug use and identify periods of abstinence or high level use. Hair from the body can be utilised in special circumstances however segmentation into a month by month analysis is not possible.

Alcohol Hair Test

Hair strand analysis involves testing for the presence of two specific alcohol markers, ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE). Both of these markers are metabolites produced after the breakdown of alcohol in the body. EtG is incorporated into the hair strand mainly through sweat while FAEEs are incorporated into the hair through sebum (an oily secretion) deposited by the sebum glands on the skin.

An alcohol hair test can be carried out with analysis of either EtG or FAEE however analysing the hair strand for the presence of both is recommended to ensure accurate results and to reduce the chances of false-reporting. At Randox Testing Services we offer a combined test of both alcohol markers to assess chronic or excessive alcohol consumption. It is also recommended that an alcohol hair test be used in conjunction with analysis of blood samples; in particular CDT (Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin) and LF (Liver Function) tests should also be considered in clinical assessments.

Benefits of Using a Hair Strand Test to Detect Drugs and Alcohol:

    • Sample collection is quick, simple and non-invasive
    • Observed sample collection which limits tampering of samples by donors
    • Easy to store specimen
    • Historic timeframe of substance abuse testing (90+ days)
    • Helps identify long term abuse
    • Detailed month by month analysis of drug abuse possible
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