At Spectrum MDX we specialize in a wide variety of testing options to ensure integrity and accuracy. However, with the risk of donors attempting to tamper their tests to avoid detection, adulteration screening is often advised. This will help detect and avoid the use of common adulterants which can lead to false-negative results by either destroying the drugs present or by interfering with the sample. Therefore, Adulteration screening plays an important role in any drug screening program.
Donors have many options when it comes to adulterating their specimens, including the introduction of certain substances or dilution. These methods can interfere with accuracy, so measures should be taken to detect adulteration including testing for:
- Temperature: Valid specimens will range in temperature from 32 °C to 38 °C
- Creatinine: A low creatinine lab value can indicate that the sample was diluted by drinking excessive water before testing, or by adding water to the urine sample
- pH (Acidity): The use of certain enzymes can also be used to affect the stability of a sample; this also changes the pH balance. Samples that are not within the normal range of 4.0 to 9.0 could indicate adulteration
- Oxidants: Oxidants such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide and Pyridinium Chlorochromate might be detected in adulterated samples
- Specific Gravity (Dilution): Creatinine levels in hand with specific gravity can be used to check for dilution. Normal levels for specific gravity will range from 1.003 to 1.030
- Nitrates: There are commercial adulterants such as “Klear” or “Whizzies” available which oxidize the major cannabinoid metabolite THC-COOH. Use of these products will add nitrates to the sample, which can be detected by adulteration screening
- Glutaraldehyde: This is another commercially available adulterant found in products such as UrinAid and Clear Choice. These products contain glutaraldehyde, which can lead to false-negative screening results; it disrupts the enzyme used in many available immunoassay tests. Glutaraldehyde does not appear in urine
Tampering is most common in urine tests, as privacy is often involved in the process. This provides the opportunity for dilution and other adulteration methods. Many organizations use “directly-observed” drug tests such as hair strand and saliva drug tests to avoid the risk of contamination. However, adulteration test strips offer an affordable added precaution to ensure you can detect adulterated specimens quickly.
For more information on adulteration screening, please click here.