Drug Testing Matters

Drug Testing Matters

Drug Testing Matters is a continuing education newsletter by the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) on topics of interest to laboratories, laboratory staff, and inspectors. Laboratories may use these short sessions as part of their internal staff training programs.

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Method Validation Part 1: Validating Immunoassays for Urine and Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023 (originally 2014)

Author: Leland McClure

The first part of the Method Validation series covers validation of immunoassay methods according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Method Validation Part 2: Validating Specimen Validity Testing for Urine and Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023 (originally 2015)

Author: Leland McClure

The second part of the Method Validation series covers validation of specimen validity testing methods according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Method Validation Part 3: Validating Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry for Urine and Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023 (originally 2019)

Author: Leland McClure

The third part of the Method Validation series covers validation of GC-MS methods according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Method Validation Part 4: Validating Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry for Urine and Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023 (originally 2014)

Author: Leland McClure

The fourth part of the Method Validation series covers validation of LC-MS methods according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Method Validation Part 5: Validating Specimen Collection Devices for Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023

Author: Leland McClure

The fifth part of the Method Validation series covers validation of oral fluid collection devices according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

The Importance of Fentanyl Testing in Forensic Toxicology

March 2022

Authors: Robert M White, Svante Vikingsson, & Ruth E Winecker

Structures, pharmacology, prevalence, current technology for the testing of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in urine, oral fluid and hair.

An Essential Medicine and Drug of Abuse: Prevalence and Pharmacology of Methadone

November 2021

Authors: Katherine Bollinger & Svante Vikingsson

Provides a summary of methadone information, including pharmacology, prevalence, and expected concentrations in different matrices.

Methamphetamine Enantiomers Part 1: Analysis and Result Interpretation

January 2013

Author: Francis Esposito

Methamphetamine stereochemistry and enantiomer analysis, including interpretation and purity in OTC nasal inhalers.

Methamphetamine Enantiomers Part 2: Proficiency Testing Results and Analysis Enhancements

June 2013

Author: Francis Esposito

Laboratory testing capabilities for methamphetamine enantiomer testing, including PT results and recommendations to enhance testing in federally regulated workplace programs.

Performance Testing: Issues with Amphetamines Caused by Periodate Oxidation

October 2018

Author: Francis Esposito

Four PT errors caused by the production of amphetamine from methamphetamine and MDA from MDMA. In each case, improper conditions during the periodate oxidation step prior to extraction led to the demethylation.

Cannabinoid Metabolites Pose Analytical Challenges in Urine Drug Testing Laboratories

November 2019

Author: Dale Hart

Use of acidic derivatization reagents can cause CBDA to convert into THCA during sample preparation. A special PT set was administered to HHS-certified laboratories to investigate this.

Cannabis Use and Associated Risks

March 2020

Author: Edward J Cone

Summary of the risks associated with use of cannabinoids, with a special focus on CBD and products for oral consumption and vaping.

Effects of Δ8-THCA on Initial and Confirmatory Testing for Cannabinoids in Urine

November 2020

Author: Dale Hart

A special PT set was sent to HSS-certified laboratories to investigate potential interference from Δ8‑THCA on the detection of Δ9‑THCA in urine drug testing.

Opioids Part 1: Opioids History and Chemical Structures

August 2018 (originally 2011)

Authors: James Bourland, updated by Robert M White

Presents the history and chemical structures of six common opioids.

Opioids Part 2: Opioids Pharmacology

August 2018 (originally 2012)

Authors: James Bourland, updated by Robert M White

Presents the Opioid pharmacology of pain management and addiction, including the opioid and dopamine receptors.

Opioids Part 3: Opioids Metabolism

August 2018 (originally 2012 & 2018)

Authors: James Bourland & Robert M White

Describes the phase I and phase II metabolism of common opioids such as heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone.

Opioids Part 4: Opioids Result Interpretation Issues

August 2018 (originally 2012)

Authors: James Bourland, updated by Robert M White

Discusses the challenges of interpreting opioid results from regulated workplace drug testing.

Opioids Part 5: Prescription

November 2012

Author: Richard Hilderbrand

Discuss the growing problem of nonmedical use of prescription drugs, and in particular opioids.

Opioids Part 6: The Fentanyl Family of Opioids

October 2013

Author: Richard Hilderbrand

Precents the fentanyl family of drugs including prescription drugs and illicit analogs.

Analysis of 6-Acetylmorphine in the Presence of Interfering Compounds

July 2019

Author: Cynthia Lewallen

Five PT errors caused by the interference of opioids or their metabolites when analyzing 6-acetylmorphine are discussed.

An Essential Medicine and Drug of Abuse: Prevalence and Pharmacology of Methadone

November 2021

Authors: Katherine Bollinger & Svante Vikingsson

Provides a summary of methadone information, including pharmacology, prevalence, and expected concentrations in different matrices.

The importance of Fentanyl Testing in Forensic Toxicology

March 2022

Authors: Robert M White, Svante Vikingsson, & Ruth E Winecker

Structures, pharmacology, prevalence, current technology for the testing of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in urine, oral fluid and hair.

Common Error Flags in Automated Analyzers

January 2020

Author: Randal Clouette

Discuss the meaning of error flags as used by automated analyzers and how the instrument determines there is a problem.

Method Validation Part 1: Validating Immunoassays for Urine and Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023 (originally 2014)

Author: Leland McClure

The first part of the Method Validation series covers validation of immunoassay methods according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Method Validation Part 2: Validating Specimen Validity Testing for Urine and Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023 (originally 2015)

Author: Leland McClure

The second part of the Method Validation series covers validation of specimen validity testing methods according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Method Validation Part 3: Validating Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry for Urine and Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023 (originally 2019)

Author: Leland McClure

The third part of the Method Validation series covers validation of GC-MS methods according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Method Validation Part 4: Validating Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry for Urine and Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023 (originally 2014)

Author: Leland McClure

The fourth part of the Method Validation series covers validation of LC-MS methods according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Method Validation Part 5: Validating Specimen Collection Devices for Oral Fluid Drug Testing

October 2023

Author: Leland McClure

The fifth part of the Method Validation series covers validation of oral fluid collection devices according to the NLCP Laboratory manual.

Cannabimimetics (Synthetic Cannabinoids)

June 2011

Authors: NLCP staff

An introduction to the five synthetic cannabinoids scheduled by DEA in 2011.

Drug Testing in Urine, Oral Fluid, and Hair Part 1: Metabolism and Matrix Formation

November 2018

Author: Robert M White

Describes how the three most common matrices in workplace drug testing (urine, oral fluid, and hair) are formed and how drugs are incorporated.

Drug Testing in Urine, Oral Fluid, and Hair Part 2: Analysis

May 2019

Author: Robert M White

Discuss the collection and testing of urine, oral fluid, and hair in workplace drug testing.

A “Personal” History of Drug Testing Part 1

September 2020

Author: John Irving

Describes the evolution of drug testing from the early days of the military program through the beginning of the Federal Workplace Drug Testing Program.

NFLIS-Tox Common Recruitment Questions and Answers

February 2021

Author: NLCP & NFLIS Staff

Information for toxicology laboratories considering participating in the National Laboratory Information System (NFLIS).

Markers of Specimen Validity Testing in Urine, Oral Fluid, and Hair

July 2021

Author: Robert M White

Overview of adulterations strategies for urine, oral fluid and hair specimens as well as markers to detect the adulteration.