Drug Testing Glossary

From the analysis of the sample to verification of results and the substituted sample to the federal drug testing custody and control form-bazillions of terms are used to describe the action of each step. Preliminary knowledge of drug tests, their products, and pre-employment test criteria are essential to choose the best detox kits and products to pass a drug test.
In this guide, you will get knowledge of basic drug testing or screening definition-so, keep on reading.

What Are The Basic Drug Testing Methods

Various drug testing methods are employed for the screening of metabolites in the subject system. The selection of the method depends on the type of sample needed, the level of accuracy required, and for which purpose the results are to be used.
Alcohol and drug testing can be broadly categorized into the following divisions.

  • Urine Drug Testing
  • Blood Drug testing
  • Hair Follicle Drug Testing
  • Breath Alcohol Testing
  • Saliva Drug Test Kits
  • Perspiration or Sweat Drug Testing

Drug Test Detection Time

Whenever a single substance enters the body, it is metabolized by the body’s natural biological process, transformed, and flushed out of the body. In the same way, when the drugs are ingested, they are metabolized and stays in the system for a specific time. This time of stay of metabolites in the body in which they are detectable by the blood, hairs, saliva, or urine test, is termed as detection time for drug test.

Substance Urine Saliva Hair
Amphetamine 2-4 days 1-3 days 7-90 days
Methamphetamine 3-5 days 1-3 days 7-90 days
Cocaine 2-4 days 1-3 days 7-90 days
THC 15-30 days 6-12 hours 7-90 days
Opiates 2-4 days 1-3 days 7-90 days
Morphine Up to 3 days Up to 3 days 7-90 days
Barbiturates Up to 6 weeks Up to 3 days 7-90 days
Ecstasy Up to 4 days Up to 2 days 7-90 days

Drug Testing Terminology

Accession Number

It is defined as the number assigned to the specimen or sample for the purpose of analysis and identification. The Accession number keeps the track record of the sample from the journey of arrival in the laboratory to the result.

Adulterated Sample

It refers to the contamination of body fluid or sample with a substance that was not supposed to be part of the sample. The adulteration by unnatural substances targets the to beat or change the drug tests result.


The collector of drug tests signs the affidavit form to take practicable actions concerning the original chain of custody form for the correction of any problem. The problem includes the signature of the collector or the date correction.

Alcohol Confirmation Test

The alcohol confirmation test is performed with the Evidential Breath Testing device after obtaining the results of the alcohol screening test. It is a follow-up test to subject the confirmation of results if the concentration in the result of the screening test was 0.02 or higher.

Alcohol Screening Device

It is saliva or a breath testing device with high precision and accuracy- therefore accepted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and also included in CPL. It is different from the Evidential Breath Testing device.

Alcohol Screening Test

A test that determines and analyses the prohibited or excessive concentration of alcohol in the breath, saliva, or urine specimen of the employee.

Alcohol Testing Site

A place or location selected by the employer for the submission of urine, breath, or saliva specimen of the employees for the test.

Blind Performance Test Specimen

The blind specimen is submitted to the laboratory for ensuring quality control of testing whose concentration is unknown for the analyst. It is a false specimen that carries unknown identifier-renders it indistinguishable from the other employees’ specimen.

Breath Alcohol Technician

A drug testing technician who is certified to perform the alcohol test using the Evidential Breath Testing device also assists the employees in the smooth process of testing.

Breath Alcohol Concentration

It refers to the amount of alcohol present in the breath expressed as green bands in the device measured as grams of alcohol per liters of breath.

Canceled Test

It is referred to the test that has some identified problem but has not been improved, so the test is canceled and cannot be processed further. The result of the canceled test is not reported either it is negative or positive.

Chain of Custody

It is documentation or paper that keeps the record of the sample from the transfer to analysis and testing to degradation. Chain of custody is a complete set of instructions and procedures for accurate drug screening, specifically the urine drug test. It involves the information of how the sample was handled and collected-from the time it leaves the collector and tested-and at last the sample was destroyed after the result of the test.


CLIA refers to the Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments. Congress passed the CLIA to establish an authority to ensure the precision and accuracy of the drug testing irrespective of the place where the test is performed. The CLIA program sets the protocols of drug testing in humans for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

CLIA Waived

Certain products including the health and other drug testing products are approved and used after passing the criteria of easy to use and high accuracy. People use these products because they have little possibility of the errors-the test using the CLIA criteria and approved products is CLIA waived.

Collection Container

It is a container used by the employees for the collection of blood, urine, or saliva samples for the drug test.

Collection Site

A place chosen by the tester or employer to collect the sample of employees for the drug test.


A collector is a person with the responsibility to direct, collect, and inspect the sample and also help the people who provide their specimens. The collector fills the chain of custody form for the further process of testing.

Confirmation Test

The confirmation test is performed after the basic screening test to confirm whether the drug metabolites are present in the sample or not. It is usually done by utilizing the techniques of gas chromatography or mass spectrometry.

Confirmation Validity Test

A confirmation validity test is performed on the urine specimen for the second time to support the validity test results.

Confirmed Drug Test

The confirmed drug tests stamp the presence of specific drugs in the sample by testing in the laboratory.

Consortium/Third Party Administrator

The consortium provides and coordinates the administrative services for alcohol and drug testing.

Continuing Education

Training provided to the MROs or the SAPs for the changes and development in DOT or alcohol drug testing to keep their knowledge and performance up-to-date.

Control Line

The line appears in the controls section of the instant drug testing regardless of the negative or positive results of the testing. The test is considered null and void if the control line does not appear.


Creatinine is the product that is produced in the body by the continuous breakdown of the muscles. The tester can detect the concentration of creatinine in the sample to check the adulteration or dilution.

Cutoff Level

Cutoff level is used in the drug testing to avoid the false results of metabolites presence that may be due to incidental exposure to the drugs. The cutoff level in the drug testing context is the minimum amount of metabolite to be present in the sample for the negative or positive results.
For example, breathing in the smoke of marijuana induce the metabolites in the system, but it will be below the level of concentration needed to test the negative or positive.

Designated Employer Representative

An employee referred by the employer and tasked with the responsibility of getting the staff from the safety-sensitive job. They assist in making the decisions related to drug testing, receive communication and results of tests for employers.

Diluted Specimen

The specimen is adulterated or diluted with the sole purpose of reducing the metabolite concentration to be detected. The sample is diluted by intaking a lot of water or drinks or direct addition of substance or water to the sample. Creatinine or specific gravity value helps to measure the dilution of the sample.


DOT encompasses several transport organizations under one term, including the USCG, FAA, FRA, FMCSA, FTA, NHTSA, PHMSA, and OST. The DOT sets its own standard and valid regulations for the conducting of drug tests.

DOT Drug Test

A DOT drug test meaning to a urine drug test that is regulated and performed by the staff of the department of transportation by following the specific rules and regulations.

Drug Metabolites

Drug metabolites are produced by the body’s metabolism of the drugs breakdown after ingestion. Metabolites are detected and tested by the drug test-specific drug produce specific metabolites in the body after the breakdown.


Ecstacy is a refined version of the amphetamine-street name of MDMA-most popular recreational drug. The structure and some properties of amphetamine resemble methamphetamine.

Error Correction Training

The training is provided to the various technicians, including the Breath Alcohol Technician, collector, and screening test technician after the cancellation of alcohol or drug test due to the prevalence of errors.


EtG refers to the Ethyl Guconoride-the non-volatile by-product of ethanol metabolism-detected for the alcohol drug test. The drug test can locate the EtG in the specimen for 8 to 12 hours after the ingestion of alcohol. But the highly sensitive biomarkers can trace its presence in the specimen for four to five days.

Evidential Breath Testing Device

It is a device accepted and used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) for testing the breath samples at the concentration of alcohol. The devices are in accordance with the NHSTA conforming products list and identified as conforming to the model specifications on the CPL.


GC/MS refers to gas chromatography and mass spectrometry-a method of testing done to detect the traces of metabolites. The combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometry detect various metabolites contained in the sample.


Immunoassay is the initial test that detects the presence of macromolecules by the action of immunoglobin and antibodies. The test is used to check the initial traces of metabolites in the subject system-stringent follow-ups are performed after the detection of drug metabolites. Instant drug tests are also categorized as the sub-division of Immunoassay tests.

Initial Drug Screen

It is a sub-division of the Immunoassay test that is being performed as the initial test in the drugs detection process. This test detects the initial presence of drug metabolites which is then confirmed with the confirmation test.

Initial Validity Test

The preliminary test is to determine the adulteration, dilution, or substitution of the sample.

Instant Test Kit

The rapid action test kits are available in the market to purchase for instant drug testing at home. These tests can be performed anywhere at the home or other place with a sample and instant results. But the result of the preliminary positive drug test is not legally accepted.

Invalid Drug Test

A drug test is not completely processed for a valid result because of the presence of unknown interfering substances in the sample that interferes with the detection.


US laboratory certified by the Department of Health and Human Services for the minimum required criteria for workplace drug testing procedure. Any foreign laboratory can also gain a certificate from the HHS for its drug test working.


MRO refers to medical review officers. An MRO is a licensed technician who receives and assesses the lab results from the drug testing organization. MRO is also responsible for evaluating the results of various drug tests.

Negative Result

Negative results indicate that the specimen doesn’t consist of the exceeded amount of drug metabolite and is fit for performing any duty.


NIDA is refers to National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is basically an institute that aims for the use of science for the welfare of humans including drug abuse.

Non-Negative Specimen

The non-negative specimen indicates the sample is substituted, adulterated, or invalid for drugs.

Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance

A place responsible for coordinating drug and alcohol testing program-related issues within the department and the implementation of concerned matters in the Department of Transportation.

Point of Contact Test

An immunoassay testing device that is capable of providing instant results with a few minutes or seconds after the sample is collected. If the sample tests result negative, then the results can be sent to the laboratory for confirmation.

Positive Results

In drug testing terminology, positive test results indicate that the person specimen consists of metabolites exceeding a certain concentration or cutoff level. The positive test results are then sent to MRO for review.
The positive result of the instant devices is not authentic-they need laboratory confirmation. The results in the laboratory verified by the GC/MS are true and authentic results.

Primary Specimen

The sample holder that is tested and detected by the first lab to locate the metabolites, urine bottle, for example. The primary specimen is also used for the validating testing procedure.

Qualification Training

The training program is required by the seeking professionals in the field of DOT alcohol and drug testing, including the screening test technician, medical review officer, SAP, Breath Alcohol Technician, or collector. Qualification training can be provided by any appropriate available methods, either by classroom, internet, or others.

Refresher Training

It is a type of training designed to periodically train already qualified professionals. The refresher training is provided to collector, Breath Alcohol Technician, and screening test technician to keep them updated and knowledgeable with the latest technologies and techniques for the testing program. The motives of training include the instruction regarding changes in technology, amendment, interpretation, guidance, and testing issues in the department of transportation agency for various drug testing program.

Safety Sensitive Position

A job with the responsibilities of the employee at some time, to a given extent, involve serious concern for the health, welfare, and safety of the staff members, colleagues, coworkers, and those who connect with the company, property, or product and the health and safety of general public could be at danger by the excessive use of drugs by the safety-sensitive positioned employees.


SAMSHA refers to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This sub division of HHS is responsible for setting the criteria of drug testing and governing the laboratories that have the approval for conducting drug test results.

Screening Test Technician

The screening test technician serves as an ASD and offers help, assist and instruct the person for the process of alcohol test and operation of various alcohol testing devices.

Security Sensitive Position

A role in which the responsibilities of that employee include access to security, cash, bond, or other negotiable instruments or precious commodities. The illicit or illegal use of drugs by the security-sensitive position employee ruins and undermines the interest of the company or with he is affiliated.

Service Agent

Any person beyond the employer connection that provides services and assistance to the employer and employee in the department of transportation alcohol and drug testing program. Services agents include many technicians including the collector, Breath Alcohol Technician, SAP, medical review officer, or screening test technician, or Third-Party Administrator.

Shipping Container

A container that is used for the transportation and protection of specimens and documents from the collection site to the laboratory.

Specimen Bottle

The bottle is used to hold the drug testing samples after being sealed, labeled, and sent to the laboratory.

Split Specimen

The specimen is split into two parts-one is tested at the laboratory while the other is stored for the analysis. If the first specimen tests positive then the other specimen can be tested to check the accuracy of the positive result.

Stand Down

It refers to the temporary removal of a person from the safety-sensitive position regarding the use of material and instruments that would create an unsafe or vulnerable environment for the employees if any employee makes impair judgment before the MRO report and review of results.

Substance Abuse Professional

A person who assesses employees that have violated the DOT drugs and alcohol testing regulations. The SAP can then refer to the concerned education, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Substituted Specimen

This is a form of the specimen that comes from the other person that was intended for testing. The substituted urine may be animal urine, fake urine, or another person’s urine.

Temperature Strip

Temperature strip is used to ensure the specimen is not tempered. It determines the temperature of the urine sample to be in the range of 90 to 100° Fahrenheit.

Verified Test

A drug test result from the HHS verified laboratory has been reviewed and finally determined by the MRO.


A good hand knowledge of various kinds of terminologies used in drug tests can help you to select the best detox method. Specifically, it is important when you are going to pass a pre-employment drug test, either it is a blood, urine, or swab drug test.