Most of the time, the drug testing process goes smoothly. A rapid test yields a negative result immediately. A lab test comes back as negative in two to three business days, or sometimes as few as 24 hours. When the stars align perfectly, results become available within just a few days of the order, but there are times that the drug test is not clearly negative, and that’s when confirmation testing comes in. We’ll discuss what exactly is confirmation testing when it comes into play, and how it affects our customers.
What is confirmation testing?
Confirmation testing consists of one or more additional rounds of testing after the initial drug test. If the first test detects signs of a particular substance, the test is repeated until the lab has a definitive result. For most substances, the lab will lower the threshold of detection on confirmation testing as well. For instance, marijuana is detected at 50 ng/mL in a urine specimen in the initial round. If the first round of testing finds THC in the system, the confirmation cut off is lowered to 15 ng/mL. Other substance types, such as opiates, have the same thresholds for both initial and confirmation testing.
While it can be a sign that a drug test is going to be failed, it can’t be treated as such, because there’s an equally good chance that the candidate is on prescription medication. A specimen that contains codeine metabolites goes through the same rigorous testing as a specimen with illegal substances in it. InCheck’s labs are all SAMHSA certified as well, which means they adhere to strict national standards so that we can be confident in the results.
Confirmation testing is a necessary part of the process, but unfortunately, it can add days, a week, or longer to the overall turnaround time. In a perfect situation, confirmation testing takes no more than 72 hours.
However, there have been instances in which it takes longer, due to the nature of the results. At this stage, InCheck follows up on the result on a regular basis, so that we have current information on any given test, and can keep our clients as informed as possible.
While confirmation can be inconvenient by adding turnaround time, in the end, it is beneficial, as it helps prevent false positive or false negative results for a given test. The rigorous testing lets us be confident in the results that are released to medical review officers, and finally, to our clients.