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Definition - What does Specimen mean?

A specimen refers to a bodily substance — excretion, secretion or root growth— used for drug testing purposes including urine, saliva, sweat, or hair samples. Drug testing variations often reflect the type of specimen under collection to identify a range of drug metabolites in the system including but not limited to amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opioids, and phencyclidine (PCP).

SureHire explains Specimen

Generally, urine specimens are the conventional sample for drug testing since obtaining them is both convenient and cost-effective for employers. Comprehensive drug testing programs can incorporate an array of drug testing panels to target drug metabolites with independent windows of detection based on the type of specimen provided. Employers may conduct assorted drug testing measures under different circumstances such as pre-employment testing, post-accident testing, random drug testing, reasonable cause/suspicion testing, and return-to-duty testing.

Many industrial sectors may employ instant drug testing or lab-based testing that depends on contingent factors related to the nature of the work, especially if an applicant or employee holds a safety-sensitive position. While instant drug testing of a specimen can indicate either a negative or a non-negative test result, the latter can create a potential discrepancy where extensive laboratory testing can override the margin of error. The Department of Transportation (DOT) relies on exhaustive laboratory testing of any given specimen where a licensed physician, known as a Medical Review Officer (MRO), can verify an otherwise legitimate positive test result from prescribed medicine.

Employers should always consult third party drug testing purveyors who can help in selecting drug testing panels that fit the corresponding specimens necessary to identify particular drug metabolites. Moreover, federal and state variances around drug testing procedures can pose nuanced interpretations for employers in upholding health and safety policies that promote a drug-free climate while, in turn, recognizing human privacy rights.

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