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Cocaine Drug Testing
Drug tests looking for cocaine and other drugs are routinely used by employers who hire workers in certain job categories. The test may be ordered once an offer of employment has been made and before the employee starts work. Failing to pass the test means the job offer will be rescinded.
Drug Testing Basics
Under U.S. federal guidelines, companies hiring people to work as commercial drivers are required to have a drug testing program in place. The testing plan must include screening for these five types of drugs:
- o Amphetamines
- o Cannabinoids (marijuana and hashish)
- o Cocaine
- o Opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine)
- o Phencyclidine (PCP)
Coke Testing Methods
Testing methods used to detect benzoylecgonine, which is the marker for cocaine, may be in the following forms:
- Blood test
- Hair sample test
- Saliva test
- Urine test
Blood Testing for Flake
A blood test is most likely to be used to determine whether an individual is under the influence of a drug at any given time. It is the most invasive form of testing and must be conducted in a medical laboratory. This is the most expensive type of test, but it is also the most accurate.
Hair Testing for Snow
A hair sample test involves taking a small sample of hair (approximately the diameter of a pencil and 1.5 inches long) from the head of the individual being tested. This method is more expensive than conducting a urine test. The average cost of this method is in the $100-$150 range.
A person is more likely to test positive on a hair test than one using a urine sample. A hair sample test for cocaine can detect the presence of the drug quite readily. Since the tracers can move up and down the hair shaft, it isn't considered a reliable indicator of when the drug was used and for how long. A hair test can reveal cocaine use up to 90 days after use.
Snow Detection in Saliva
Saliva tests are becoming more popular for detecting illicit drug use, since they are relatively non-invasive and are less expensive than hair or blood testing. This method is easy to administer to testing subjects and the samples are forwarded to a laboratory for analysis. Coke can be detected in saliva for 24 hours after use.
This type of testing doesn't have any nationally-adopted standards or cutoffs for determining the cutoff for a positive test. The test results vary, depending on the brand selected for the test, which may make this method less reliable than other available options.
Urine Tests for Cocaine Use
A popular choice for cocaine testing is to have the subject provide a urine sample. A urine test is relatively inexpensive and can detect relatively recent (within the past seven days) use as well as long-term exposure to the drug.
These types of tests are available for home use; however the results must be verified by a laboratory to validate the results. Along with testing the sample for the presence of the cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine, a testing facility must also run other tests on the sample to determine its pH level and creatinine concentration.
Cocaine is detectable by standard drug tests on urine up to 72 hours after use. Long-term, habitual users may have traces of cocaine in their system for longer than the standard three days.
The level of concentration that triggers a positive result for coke use is 300 ng/ml. If an individual has a higher level than this number in his or her system, they have failed the drug test. A follow-up test will be ordered to confirm the first result, and the level considered "positive" at this point is 150 ng/ml.
People who are or may be asked to submit to a cocaine may be wondering if there is a way to figure out how to beat it by looking for information on the Internet. There may be anecdotal accounts of people beating the test by using certain measures, such as switching urine samples, drinking a preparation that promises to "detox" them or drinking large amounts of water to dilute their urine, none of these methods are foolproof.
If cocaine use is responsible for negative consequences in someone's life, it may be time for them to consider the price they are paying to get high is worth it. Treatment for cocaine addiction is available from treatment centers and rehab programs across the country. The goal of these resources is to help the addict move into recovery mode and start to live a life free from the effects of cocaine abuse.
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