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Advantage Drug Screening’s Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's Find An Answer, Ask A Question.

1. As an employer, am I required to perform drug tests on my prospective and current employees?

While there are no hard and fast rules, it is highly recommended that all employers and business owners implement a random drug testing policy. ADS can develop and maintain your drug test policy, if desired. In general, prospective employees can be tested via instant drug tests. Current employees or post-employment drug testing should be performed at a SAMHSA approved lab. Click here for a copy of the current NC Substance Examination Regulation Act.

2. Are your urine drug tests SAMHSA certified?

Yes. All of our non-rapid urine tests are SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) certified. We are also trained to DOT 49 CFR Part 40 Regulations. NOTE: Rapid urine tests are not SAMHSA certified and are therefore not legally defensible. Rapid tests are generally less expensive, take only a few minutes to process and are recommended for informational purposes only.

3. At what age should I begin randomly testing my children?

These days, children are experimenting with drugs as early as 7 years old. It is never too late to talk about the dangers of drugs with your children. In fact, studies show that children want you to talk about drugs. Therefore we recommend that you begin drug testing them at age 13, or sooner if you have suspicions that drug use is occurring.

4. Can you perform Federal (HHS,NRC,DOT) testing?

Yes. All of our collectors are trained to 49 CFR Part 40 Regulations. This means that we can perform all DOT and HHS (Health and Human Services) collections. For more information regarding DOT regulations, call (202) 366-3784 or visit their website at

5. What is the difference between the rapid 5-panel 10-panel or 12-Panel test vs. a Lab test?

Rapid (also referred to as "instant" or "point-of-collection" ) 5,10 and 12 Panel tests are for those who want to save money and get the results quickly. If results at the screening level come back as "non-negative" it is recommended that you have the sample confirmed at a lab before making any disciplinary decisions. We would perform a lab test if you wanted to bypass the screening process, are concerned about legal matters and are not concerned about waiting 2-3 business days for results.

6. Why are screening and confirmation cut-offs different?

Screening and confirmation testing are performed using different testing methodologies that precipitate different cut-off levels. The immunoassay tests used to perform initial drug screening are designed to detect a wide range of chemically similar compounds that react with the antibodies which are at the core of the chemistry making up the tests. In contrast, GC/MS and LC/MS confirmatory testing detects specific metabolites that provide identification and quantification of a specific drug.

7. My employee has been smoking marijuana. Are there ways that he can cheat and "pass" a test?

Unfortunately, drug users have been known to attempt many ways to "adulterate" a sample. Our rapid 5-Panel, 10-Panel and 12-Panel urine drug screens include a 7-Panel adulteration detection test. It looks for the common ways that donors attempt to adulterate, including testing the temperature, the presence of oxidants (bleach/peroxide), specific gravity (dilution), Nitrates, Creatinine, Glutaraldehyde and pH levels. Likewise, the fact that hair strand and fingernail drug testing is directly observed, it helps rule out adulteration.

In addition to the above measures, ADS follows DOT regulations regarding adulteration detection and prevention:

Donor removes outer clothing and empties pockets, bluing agent is in toilet and tank to prevent dilution, flushing of toilet and hand washing are prohibited until test is complete.

8. What Labs do you work with?

ADS offers lab testing at our location in Cary and has contracts with LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, Clinical Reference Laboratory, Omega Laboratory, Redwood Laboratory and United States Drug Testing Laboratory ADS can send you to LabCorp locations nationwide or we can conduct the collections at our Cary location. We also offer numerous other drug test options, including rapid tests, at our Cary location. ADS serves Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Raleigh, Durham, Garner, Chapel Hill and beyond.

9. What are the drug detection times?

Drug detection times vary depending on the frequency of drug use, potency of the drug and metabolism of each individual. The following is a general estimation of detection times of the most commonly abused drugs:

Amphetamines 2-6
Barbiturates 3-8
Benzodiazepines 2-14
Cocaine 2-5
Marijuana 14-30+
Methamphetamines 2-6
Methadone 2-8
Opiates 2-5
Oxycodone 2-5
Phencyclidine (PCP) 3-8
Tricyclic Antidepressants 10
Propoxyphene (PPX) 2-3
Buprenorphine (BUP) 2-3
Ecstasy 5-7

10. Will cough medicines such as NyQuil cause me to fail an alcohol test?

Whenever you ingest anything that contains alcohol in it, including cold and cough medicines such as NyQuil, it will likely yield a failed alcohol test. The available methods for testing alcohol include a breath screen (BAC - up to 36 hours look-back), ethyl alcohol urine test (3-10 hour look-back), EtG urine test (80-hour look-back), EtG hair test (up to 3 months look-back) and a EtG fingernail test (up to 3 month look-back).

11. I take vitamins, drink caffeine and take antibiotics frequently. Will this affect my test results?

Generally not. Drug tests react to drugs and drug metabolites. Since these substances you mentioned have a different chemical structure, they should not affect any of your drug test results. However, please keep in mind that there have been cases where the combination of many different vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter painkillers can yield a "false positive" result. Therefore it is recommended that all rapid drug tests that yield a result of non-negative be confirmed at a lab to rule out such occasions. Likewise, if you decide to start with a lab test, as opposed to a rapid test, it is recommended that all positives be confirmed through a medical review process in which a physician would call you to discuss what you are taking and possible interactions.

12. Are your rapid 5,10 and 12-Panel drug screenings with 7-Panel Adulterant CLIA waived?

Yes - CLIA Waived Tests (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) are those testing systems that adhere to FDA and CLIA standards of risk, error, and accuracy.

Adulteration is the purposeful tampering of a specimen with the intention of altering the test results. Adulterants may cause "false negative" results by either interfering with the test and/or destroying the drug metabolites in the specimen. In urine tests, dilution may be used to produce false negative drug test results. To help rule out purposeful adulteration, it is best to request "directly-observed" tests. All hair strand and fingernail drug tests are directly observed.

Determining certain urinary characteristics such as temperature, specific gravity and pH, and to detect the presence of oxidants in urine are considered to be the best ways to test for adulteration.

Our 5,10 and 12-Panel Urine Drug Screen tests for the following adulterant's:

Temperature: All sample temperatures must range from 90-100 degrees to be considered valid.

Creatinine: Is a waste product of creatine which is an amino acid contained in muscle tissue and found in urine. Abnormal levels of creatinine may indicate that adulteration is evident.

Oxidants: Such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide and Pyridinium Chlorochromate ("UrineLuck").

Specific Gravity (Dilution): Normal levels for specific gravity will range from 1.003 to 1.030. Specific gravity levels above or below these figures may be an indication of adulteration or specimen dilution.

pH (Acidity): Normal pH levels should be in the range of 4.0 to 9.0. Values above or below these figures may indicate the sample has been adulterated.

Nitrates: Tests for commonly used commercial adulterants such as "Klear" or "Whizzies." Normal urine should contain no trace of nitrates.

Glutaraldehyde: Test for the presence of an aldehyde. This adulterant may cause false-negative screening results by disrupting the enzyme used in some immunoassay tests. This is not normally found in human urine.

13. Do you do on-site testing?

Yes. We travel to lawyers offices, corporate offices, construction sites, business offices, warehouses, etc. on a CASE by CASE BASIS. There is a nominal travel fee depending on where you are located and how many employees you need tested.

14. We already have an account with Quest Diagnostics. Can you do the collection for us using our account?

Yes. We offer same-day appointments so there is no waiting like you find at the larger labs. We can perform collections for any lab nationwide, including Aegis Sciences Corp., MedTox, Clinical Reference Laboratory, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics and Redwood Laboratory. 

15. What does MRO mean?

MRO stands for "Medical Review Officer." An MRO is a physician who contacts the "donor" to rule out false positives and to discuss prescription drug use with applicable employees. Review by a MRO is essential before making any disciplinary decisions regarding your family member/employee/client. The reason for this is that many people take prescription drugs that may mimic the metabolites as those found in illegal drugs. For example, when a sample has been confirmed as positive in the benzodiazepine category, it is important to confirm that the donor does in fact have a prescription for a benzodiazepine and is taking it as prescribed.

16. I heard that you can test up to a year with hair and/or nails. Is that correct?

This is partially correct. Head hair yields up to a 3 month look-back. Because the hair on our bodies lie dormant for up to a year, a body hair drug test can yield up to a 12 month look-back. Likewise, drug metabolites in fingernails can yield up to a 6 month look-back. Drug metabolites remain in toenails for up to one year, therefore, a toenail drug test can yield up to a 12 month look-back. The reason we say "up to" is because everybody's hair and nails grow at a different rate.

17. Do you do directly-observed drug tests?

Yes. We can do directly observed urine drug tests as long as a member of the same gender is available at the time of collection. For rapid tests only, there are a few situations where it is not permissible to do so. For clarification, feel free to contact ADS at (919) 378-9201 or by email at

All hair strand and fingernail testing are directly-observed because we collect the samples ourselves.

18. Can't I just go to my local LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, etc. to get a drug test?

Labs do not accept walk-ins unless have a requisition number. You can certainly get a requisition from your doctor but their fees are generally quite high ($300 +) and you may have to wait a few days to receive the requisition. We offer same-day collection services for Quest Diagnostics at our Cary location. If the Cary location is not convenient for you, we offer same-day requisition processing and can send you to any LabCorp nationwide once we receive the required information. For all non-Cary collections, I send the donor an e-mail with their unique requisition number and location of their nearest LabCorp. The results are sent to ADS and we forward them to the designated recipient.

19. I am worried that my child can "fix" a urine test. Is there any way that I can bring in a sample without their knowledge?

Yes and No. It would be very difficult to bring in a urine sample without their knowing. You can always try to scoop up a sample after they have urinated, but the sample will most likely be diluted and possibly invalid. However, many parents decide to go with a hair test. That way, when they take their child to get their hair cut they make arrangements ahead of time with the barber to cut some hair at the crown and hold it aside without the child knowing. You can then bring in the sample, we assign it a specimen ID number and send it off to the lab to be tested anonymously. The reason it has to be anonymous is because we can only put names and identifying information on hair test forms if one of our collectors performs the procedure. This is simply because there is no way of knowing who the hair belongs to, unless we do the collection. Also, keep in mind that this procedure would be for informational purposes only and would not be legally defensible.

20. What is the difference between GC/MS and LC/MS/MS technology?

Gas Chromatography separates drugs based on how easily they evaporate. Unfortunately, some substances, such as drugs of abuse, do not evaporate. Liquid chromatography separates drugs and introduces them into the mass spectrometer. The sample first passes through a mass filter, which allows only the drugs being tested for to pass through. The drug is then broken apart with an argon gas stream. The fragments of the drug present then pass into a second mass filter and are then measured. No sample pretreatment is necessary which is a problematic step in gas chromatography. Only when drugs of abuse are present are compounds noted. No compound matching is required as in gas chromatography. Therefore, LC/MS/MS is the current "gold standard" in testing.

21. Do you do background checks? If so, what kind?

Yes we do. We can perform the following checks:

Nationwide, Statewide and Countywide Criminal

  • Sex Offender
  • Violent Sex Offender
  • Social Security Address Trace
  • Motor Vehicle Report
  • Education Verification
  • Employment Verification
  • Residence Verification
  • Reference Verification

22. How far back does a hair strand and/or fingernail test go? Is hair/fingernail testing superior to urine tests?

Hair strand and fingernail testing are two ways to get an in depth assessment to determine if someone has used drugs during longer detection windows. Hair strand drug tests search up to three months in the past, or shorter/longer if desired, depending on available sample length. Fingernail testing searches up to six months in the past. The reason that we say "up to" for both hair and fingernail testing is because each individual's hair/nails grow at a different rate. Hair and fingernail testing are simple specimen collections that yield highly accurate results. In addition, there are no known methods for sample adulteration (hair/fingernail washing will not dilute the sample). Because specimen collection is directly observed, the risk of adulteration is reduced. Negative results are reported within 24-48 business hours of receipt at the laboratory, and positive results are confirmed using GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) within 48 to 72 business hours. Both hair and fingernail testing results are legally defensible.

23. What drug/drug classes does the 5-Panel,10-Panel and 12-Panel Instant Urine Drug Screens + 7-Panel Adulterant Detection test for and how long does it take to get the results?

The 5-Panel tests for Amphetamines (AMP), Cocaine (COC), Opiates (OPI), Phencyclidine (PCP), and Marijuna (THC).

The 10-Panel tests for Ecstasy (MDMA), Benzodiazepines (BZO), Methadone (MTD), Phencyclidine (PCP), Barbiturates (BAR), Amphetamines (AMP), Methamphetamines (M-AMP), Opiates (OPI), Cocaine (COC) and Marijuana (THC).

The 12-Panel tests for all of the drugs in the 10-Panel LESS Phencyclidine (PCP) PLUS Buprenorphine (BUP) Propoxyphene (PPX) and Oxycodone (OXY). These tests typically take 5 min. after the urine sample is collected to get the results.

24. Can you test for any Drug out on the Market?

Please inquiry at 919-378-9201 or and we can contact our Labs to see if a certain drug can be tested for as a stand alone test or in a panel.

Use this form to ask your question. ADS will respond to your inquiry within one business day.

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