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At Home Drug Test

Individuals can screen for drug use with an at home drug test.

Urine samples are commonly used for at home drug test kits. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Urine samples are commonly used for at home drug test kits.

At Home Drug Test

People may want to use caution when using and relying on an at home drug test. Drug and alcohol abuse in teens and others has been a problem for many generations. Up until late in the last century, drug testing was more commonly done in a medical setting or because of legal action or job requirements. Today, drug tests can be done in the privacy of the home with an at home drug test kit. Depending on the at home drug test kit, the test-taker will either get the results at home or have to send the at home drug test kit sample back to the manufacturer/laboratory and await the results.

How an At Home Drug Test Works

An at home drug test works by testing human hair, urine, or other body fluids for the presence of prescription or illegal drugs. Some common illegal drugs at home drug test kits detect include marijuana and cocaine. First Check offers a variety of different at home drug test kits, including a product that tests for 12 different drugs. This test screens for seven illegal drugs (amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, methamphetamine, opiates and Phencyclidine (PCP)) and five commonly abused prescription drugs (barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, oxycodone and tricyclic antidepressants). This at home drug test is a two-stage test. In the first step, participants collect a urine sample and read the included test strips to get the result. If the test strips indicate the presence of drugs, the participant should follow step two. In step two, the participant should prepare the sample according to package directions and send it to a laboratory for further testing.

FDA Approved At Home Drug Test

At the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Office of In Vitro Diagnostic Device Evaluation and Safety (IVD) people can find out if the at home drug test kits they purchased are FDA approved. The (IVD) Over the Counter (OTC) Database offers a place where individuals can enter information about the at home drug test they purchased to determine if it is FDA approved.

The FDA recognizes two types of at home drug test kits. The first type of at home drug test is a two-step drug test. In the first step, participants take the at home drug test and, if they get a positive result, move on to the second step. The second step requires individuals to follow the package directions and send the sample to a laboratory for further testing. The second type of at home drug test is a collection kit. For this test, participants collect a sample of hair, urine, saliva or other body fluid according to the package directions and send the sample to a laboratory. If the laboratory finds drugs present, they will do further testing.

Reliability of an At Home Drug Test

An at home drug test tends to be reliable and is as good as a drug test administered by a laboratory. However, a few things can adversely affect the outcome of an at home drug test, including: performing the test incorrectly by not following the package directions, exposing the at home drug test kit or urine sample to extreme temperature variations, the type of food or beverage the at home drug test participant ingested before taking the test, the types of prescription or over-the-counter medications the participant may have taken before completing the test and if the urine or urine sample was tampered with in any way.

At home drug test kit manufacturer First Check discusses four ways in which urine can be tampered with. The first way is to dilute the urine by drinking large quantities of water or adding water to the urine sample. A second way is to add bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, or other liquids that will change the content of the urine and ultimately skew the results. The consumption of detoxifying drinks by the at home drug test participant is a third way urine can be tampered with. This can be achieved by drinking large quantities of beverages which are formulated specifically to skew the at home drug test results. The final way of tampering with urine is when the participant gets a clean sample from a friend or buys it online.

A very pale urine sample is often an indicator that someone has tampered with the urine. However, retesting the participant after a set amount of time may negate any tampering that affected the initial at home drug test.

Where to Buy an At Home Drug Test

Individuals can purchase at home drug test kits at places such as Walgreens, CVS or other pharmacies. People can also purchase at home drug test kits through online retailers or directly through at home drug test kit manufacturers. The at home drug test kits range in price from approximately $15.00 to approximately $70.00, depending on how many drugs are tested in each at home drug test. According to the Psychemedics Corporation (a manufacturer of at home drug test kits) just having an at home drug test kit can deter children from using drugs.

Things to be Aware Of

According to the FDA, the quality of an at home drug test sold on the Internet may be less reliable than one found through retailers or manufacturers. If the FDA does not approve the test, it may be illegal. Individuals should also keep in mind that many at home drug test kits screen for the presence of a specific drug or drugs. These at home drug test results do not show how much of the drug or drugs was found in the participants system.

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