Terms AnD Definitions

Certified Professional Collector
A designated person trained in specimen collection procedures who insures that 1) donors are identified correctly, 2) chain of custody protocol is strictly followed, 3) donors' dignity is preserved, 4) no sample is adulterated or diluted during collection, and 5) donors and clients receive the best possible evidentiary collection and testing service possible. 

Chain of Custody
Chain of custody is the term that refers to the process of ensuring and providing documentation of proper specimen identification and handling from the time of collection to the receipt of laboratory results. If the results come under legal challenge, the specimen must have been handled according to chain of custody procedures exactly and accurately. The chain of custody protocol assures the specimen belongs to the individual whose information is printed on the specimen bottle label, no adulteration or tampering has taken place, exactly who had possession of the specimen and when, how the specimen was transported and stored before it was analyzed, no unauthorized access to the specimen was possible, and the specimen was handled in a secure manner. 

Collection Site
A facility where individuals present themselves for the purpose of providing body fluid(s) to be analyzed for specified controlled substances or alcohol. 

Collection Process
All specimen collections should be done utilizing a secured facility. The donor should remove any bulky objects and wash their hands. The donor will choose a sealed specimen collection kit. All seals are removed in the donor's presence and the donor should then provide a urine specimen. Following the collection of donor's specimen the chain of custody form is completed while the donor is present. After all specimen bottles, chain of custody form, and specimen bags are sealed the donor may be allowed to leave.

Department of Transportation (DOT)
The Department of Transportation is an operating administration of the United States administering regulations requiring alcohol and/or drug testing in accordance with 49CFR Part 40 of the federal regulations. 

DOT Drug Screen
A DOT drug screen tests a specimen for five drugs (opiates, PCP, amphetamines/methamphetamines, marijuana and cocaine). The DOT-approved chain of custody form is used during the collection process and a split sample is collected and the specimen bottles are forwarded to the laboratory for testing. Once the laboratory completes the testing process the result is forwarded to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) for review. Following the MRO's review, results are reported to the designated reporting agency. 

Drug Testing Policy 
A well-drafted policy outlines what type of testing will be conducted, the terms and definitions surrounding drug screening, and recourse for violations and positive test results. A policy is also utilized to convey a strong message of zero tolerance towards drugs and alcohol in the workplace. 

Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)
GC/MS testing is considered to be the most definitive method for confirming the presence of a detected substance in urine. GC/MS is utilized to confirm test results that indicate any level of a controlled substance. When a laboratory suspects adulterants, dilution, or other sample abnormality, GC/MS will identify the exact chemical compounds present in suspicious samples. 

Medical Review Officer (MRO)
According to DOT regulations, all DOT drug screens must be reviewed by an MRO. Many states also require an MRO review. An MRO is a license M.D. with a history of substance abuse diagnostic work. This service is also recommended for Non-DOT testing. During the MRO's review it may be necessary for them to contact and speak directly with the donor to verify any types of medication the donor has taken. The client will not be notified if this occurs and will only be notified when a test result is finalized.  

Non-DOT Drug Screen
A Non-DOT screen can test for a wide range of drugs such as; opiates, PCP, amphetamines/methamphetamines, marijuana, cocaine; which is considered a 5-panel drug screen. Many other drugs can be tested, such as:  barbiturates, benzodiazepine, methadone, tricyclic (TCA), and propoxyphene. Urine alcohol (ethyl) can be added to either panel if desired. 

Post-Accident Testing
Testing of an employee who is involved in an on-the-job accident (vehicular or otherwise), which may have involved human error and may have caused a fatality, injury, or property damage. 

Pre-Employment Testing
A candidate for employment must pass a drug and/or alcohol test as a condition of employment. Testing can be performed as part of the application process 1) before an offer of employment is made, 2) as a part of the hiring process after an offer of employment is made but before the employee commences work, or 3) shortly after the individual begins work but continued employment is contingent upon successful completion of the drug and/or alcohol test. 

Random Testing
Testing of employees who are chosen on a "neutral-selection" basis without advance notice. True random testing is conducted by selecting a number of qualified participants from within the entire roster of eligible employees of the client. Global Safety Network manages clients' random testing, but recommends that clients familiarize themselves with their state law; some states prohibit random testing while others restrict it to "safety sensitive" positions. 

Reasonable Suspicion/Cause Testing
In order to require a DOT regulated employee to be tested under Reasonable Suspicion/Cause Testing, the determination must be made only by a supervisor who has been trained according to DOT mandated regulations. 

Criteria for Reasonable Suspicion/Cause test determinations:
  •  Must be based on contemporaneous, articulable observations of employee behavior, appearance, speech or body odors associated with
     drug or alcohol use.
  •  Contemporaneous observations occur in the present. 
  •  Articulable observations are capable of being documented in verbal or written expression.
  •  Observations are what the supervisor sees, hears, or smells.
  •  Supervisor must make the observations, and must not make the determination to test based on reports from other sources.

Return to Duty Test
A return to duty test is part of the process determined by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) after an employee has committed a violation of DOT or company policy. A violation may be a positive test, refusal to be tested, or other violation.  An employee who has been removed from safety-sensitive duty because of a violation must successfully complete the SAP process before he/she can be considered for return to duty or to be hired by a different DOT-covered employer.

Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration is the department of the federal government that regulates and certifies laboratories currently processing DOT specimens. Laboratories with the SAMHSA certification are also available to test Non-DOT samples. These laboratories confirm all positive drug screen samples by GC/MS testing.