What Is A Urine Drug Test?

What Is A Urine Drug Test?


Urine drug tests are a cornerstone of workplace safety and compliance. At Edify Background Screening, we understand the importance of reliable and accurate drug testing. Whether you’re an employer aiming to maintain a drug-free workplace or an individual preparing for a test, understanding the process is key. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about urine drug tests, from the substances detected to preparation tips.

What is a Urine Drug Test?

A urine drug test is a diagnostic tool used to detect the presence of drugs or their metabolites in a person’s urine. It’s favored for its non-invasive nature, ease of administration, and ability to detect a wide range of substances. Edify Background Screening offers comprehensive urine drug testing services to meet various needs, including employment screening and compliance checks.

Why Are Urine Drug Tests Conducted?

Urine drug tests serve multiple purposes:

  • Employment Screening: Employers use drug tests to ensure a safe and productive workplace. Edify Background Screening provides reliable testing to help you make informed hiring decisions.
  • Legal Compliance: Courts may require drug testing for individuals on probation or involved in custody disputes.
  • Medical Monitoring: Healthcare providers use drug tests to monitor patient adherence to prescribed medications or diagnose substance use disorders.
  • Sports and Athletics: Ensuring athletes are not using performance-enhancing drugs is critical for fair competition.

What Substances Do Urine Drug Tests Detect?

Urine drug tests can screen for a variety of substances, including:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates (heroin, codeine, morphine)
  • Amphetamines (methamphetamine, MDMA)
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Alcohol

Edify Background Screening offers different panels to suit your needs, such as the 5-panel, 10-panel, and extended panel tests, each detecting a specific combination of drugs.

Common Drug Test Panels

Here’s a breakdown of what each panel typically includes:

Panel Type Typical Makeup of Substances Detected
5-Panel Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, Opiates (heroin, codeine, morphine), Amphetamines (methamphetamine, MDMA), Phencyclidine (PCP)
5-Panel DOT Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, Opiates (heroin, codeine, morphine), Amphetamines (methamphetamine, MDMA), Phencyclidine (PCP), plus expanded opiates (hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone)
9-Panel Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, Opiates (heroin, codeine, morphine), Amphetamines (methamphetamine, MDMA), Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, Phencyclidine (PCP), Methadone, Propoxyphene
10-Panel Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, Opiates (heroin, codeine, morphine), Amphetamines (methamphetamine, MDMA), Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, Phencyclidine (PCP), Methadone, Propoxyphene, Quaaludes

How is the Test Administered?

Here’s how a urine drug test is administered:

  1. Sample Collection: The individual provides a urine sample in a sterile container. This process may be supervised to prevent tampering.
  2. Sample Handling: The sample is labeled and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
  3. Initial Screening: An initial immunoassay screen is conducted to detect the presence of drugs.
  4. Confirmatory Testing: If the initial screen is positive, a confirmatory test (usually gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) is performed to ensure accuracy.
  5. Results: Results are reported back to the requesting party, typically within a few days.

Preparing for a Urine Drug Test

Preparing for a urine drug test with Edify Background Screening? Here are some tips:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the test, but avoid excessive water intake on the day of the test to prevent dilution.
  • Avoid Drugs and Certain Foods: Steer clear of illegal substances and be aware that some foods and medications can cause false positives (e.g., poppy seeds, certain cold medicines).
  • Follow Instructions: Carefully follow any specific instructions provided by the testing facility.
  • Inform About Prescriptions: If you’re taking prescription medications, inform the testing administrator, as these can affect your results.

Understanding Your Results

Test results can be categorized as:

  • Negative: No drugs were detected in the sample.
  • Positive: One or more drugs were detected. A positive result usually leads to a confirmatory test.
  • Inconclusive: The sample couldn’t be accurately tested, often due to dilution or tampering, necessitating a retest.

The Role of a Medical Review Officer (MRO)

A Medical Review Officer (MRO) plays a crucial role in the drug testing process, especially when dealing with positive results. Here’s how an MRO contributes:

  1. Review of Results: After a positive result from the laboratory, the MRO reviews the findings to ensure accuracy and compliance with testing protocols.
  2. Verification Process: The MRO conducts a thorough investigation to determine if there is a legitimate medical explanation for the positive result. This involves reviewing the individual’s medical history and any prescriptions they may be taking.
  3. Confidential Interviews: The MRO contacts the individual to discuss the test results. This conversation is confidential and allows the individual to provide any additional information that might explain the positive result.
  4. Final Determination: Based on the review and interview, the MRO makes a final determination. If the positive result is justified by a valid medical reason, the MRO reports the result as negative. If not, the positive result is confirmed and reported back to the requesting party.
  5. Reporting and Documentation: The MRO ensures that all findings and determinations are accurately documented and reported in compliance with relevant regulations.


Urine drug tests are an essential tool for maintaining safety and compliance in various settings. Edify Background Screening is committed to providing accurate and reliable testing services to meet your needs. Understanding how these tests work and what to expect can help ease any concerns and ensure you’re well-prepared. Whether you’re an employer ensuring a drug-free workplace or an individual facing a test, this guide from Edify Background Screening provides the information you need to navigate the process confidently.

The involvement of a Medical Review Officer adds an extra layer of scrutiny and fairness to the testing process, ensuring that all results are accurate and that individuals have a chance to explain any legitimate medical reasons for a positive test. This holistic approach helps maintain the integrity of the testing process and ensures that decisions are made based on complete and accurate information.

For questions about drug screening or to get started with drug screening for your company, contact Edify Background Screening. We’re here to help you maintain a safe and compliant workplace.

Share This Story: