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How to Read a Toxicology Report: Your Quick Guide

how to read a toxicology report

Are you planning on applying for a job? You’re likely to have to pass a drug screen. About 57% of all employers require drug testing before hiring.

In some cases, a drug screen is ordered by the courts to ensure sobriety. No matter what your reason is for getting a drug screen, it’s important to interpret and understand the results.

This guide explains what a toxicology report is, as well as how to read and understand toxicology reports so you’re not left in the dark.

What is a Toxicology Report?

A toxicology screen, is used to gauge the amount of drugs and alcohol that are present in your system. They’re used to indicate whether you have substance abuse issues, or just to detect the use of illegal drugs.

The types of drugs detected will depend on the type of drug test. Some tests will detect opiates, alcohol, PCP, marijuana, cocaine, meth, and more.

The toxicology report is created and is the result of the toxicology screen.

There are several ways that a toxicology screen is administered. The most common ways are by taking a urine or hair sample.   

How to Read a Toxicology Report

Reading and understanding what the results of a toxicology report mean will depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • The number of panels in a drug test (5-panel, 12-panel, etc.)
  • Whether you opted for a hair or urine test.

Reading Urine Toxicology Screens & Reports

With urine tests, you can get results instantly. The results are either positive or negative. In other words, a drug that you’re testing for is present or it’s not.

On the testing apparatus, there is a control line and a test line. The control line is your baseline that shows you what a negative result should look like.

The test line is based on the urine sample that is used. A colored line that appears on the control and test lines is a negative result.

If a line does not appear on the test line, that indicates a positive result. Positive results are more common than you think. About 4% of results test positive, and that number has grown over the last few years. 

There is an option to get a more in-depth test done at a lab. These tests will take longer but will give you more detail. You’ll be able to know the amount of drugs that are in a person’s system as well.

Reading Hair Drug Toxicology Screens & Reports

A hair drug screen will tell you whether or not drugs or alcohol were taken in the past 90 days. This can show an extended pattern of behavior and drug use.

Similar to urine tests, the initial tests will be positive or negative. If there is a negative result, you’ll get the report quickly.

However, a positive result will require confirmation. The sample will be retested for specific drugs followed by a confirmation of the cutoff levels.

Understanding Toxicology Reports

Drug screens are used for a variety of purposes. To achieve that purpose, you need to know how to read and understand a toxicology report.  

It helps to understand the process of drug screens. They typically go through three stages. The first is the initial screen to detect the presence of drugs. The second is confirmation testing, which will look for specific drugs on a screen.

Finally, the sample will be tested for cutoff levels.

Contact us today to find out more about our various drug tests.

Order a Test

Whether you are an individual looking to get a drug test done today or an employer looking to get a pre-employment drug test done today, ordering a test online is easier than ever! Just submit your order online, receive your test authorization by email, go to your local clinic to be tested, and receive your test results in 24 to 48 hours.

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