National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP)

Since 1986, RTI has supported the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by managing the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP). RTI conducts all aspects of the program, including the review and assessment of laboratory applications; inspections of applicant and certified laboratories; design, preparation, and distribution, scoring performance testing samples; identifies problem areas, and monitors corrective actions. These activities are designed to identify issues before they impact drug test results. We operate all aspects of the NLCP, including the inspection program for forensic drug testing laboratories and the manufacture, distribution, scoring, and reporting of proficiency testing (PT) samples.

Our team verifies laboratory procedures, data, and documentation, drawing on our extensive experience in forensic toxicology, which includes management and bench-level experience in Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)–certified drug testing laboratories. We also assembled and manage more than 100 expert consultants from academia, the military, and forensic toxicology laboratories to serve as NLCP inspectors. 

The HHS-certified laboratories accredited under the NLCP are known as the “gold standard” in the drug testing industry. In fact, many states require drug testing to be performed by HHS-certified laboratories and many private-sector employers also choose these laboratories to test job applicants and employees.

We have been the government’s sole contractor for the NLCP project since its inception because of our ability to meet SAMHSA’s goals of ensuring accurate testing and maintaining the reliability of the entire drug testing process, thus helping reduce the impact of substance abuse on America’s communities.

NLCP Training

View the Introduction to the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) course at no charge.

This presentation provides an overview of federally regulated drug testing and the inspection and performance testing phases of the NLCP.

Additional NLCP Analytical Methods in Workplace Drug Testing training courses are available for NLCP inspectors and HHS-certified laboratory personnel. Send email to to request access.

Drug Testing Matters Newsletter

View the Drug Testing Matters Newsletter archive

The NLCP publishes this newsletter on topics written by subject matter experts that are of interest to the drug testing community. Click the link for all previously published newsletters.

CLICK HERE for a free email subscription to future publications of Drug Testing Matters.

For more information about the NLCP, please email or call 919.541.7242.