Urine Drug Test in NZ. What Can It Detect?
04 July, 2023
Drug testing in New Zealand is becoming more common in workplaces, schools, and other public areas. Urine drug tests in NZ can detect a range of illicit substances, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and opiates. It is a popular method of screening because they are less intrusive and can trace drugs for several days from last use. Knowing what to test is crucial to avoid any negative consequences. It is also essential for people undergoing medical treatment.
Drug and alcohol use can affect a person’s physical and mental health, safety, and performance in the workplace. It is a leading factor in occupational accidents and injuries. Drug detection and monitoring can help employers maintain a safe and hazard-free working environment. It can also deter individuals who are at risk of developing an addiction. In this article, we will explore how urine drug testing works, what it can detect, and its various applications.
Urine Drug Test in NZ: How It Works?
Many organisations implement urine drug tests in NZ to help manage safety hazards in the workplace. When a person takes drugs, the body processes them and produces by-products or metabolites that are excreted in the urine. A urinalysis can detect these metabolites after they have been broken down and remain in the system for an extended period.
The effects of drugs vary with the type, amount, and how the body processes them. It can impair a person’s physical and mental abilities. The effects may last for several hours or days. For example, a person may not be able to think clearly or rationally. It also affects coordination, which is important when driving or operating equipment.
In the long term, it can lead to abuse or disorder. It can permanently damage health and develop several organ dysfunctions. It can also affect personal and workplace productivity and relationships. Therefore, employers take proactive measures, such as routine drug screening. This helps employers keep the workplace safe and makes sure that workers are not under the influence of drugs while on the job.
- Urine drug testing is less invasive than a blood test.
- It can detect recent drug use, typically within the past few days.
- It can detect a wide range of substances.
- Urine testing is well-established and accurate.
- It is cost-effective compared to other types of testing methods. A sample can screen for multiple substances at once.
- It is suitable for a variety of settings, including schools, legal cases, and treatment programs.
- Easy to administer and can be done outside a clinic or laboratory. Many workplaces facilitate urine screening on-site.
- Self-testing kits are available for rapid screening.
Urine Drug Test in NZ: Substances Detected
Urine drug tests in NZ can detect a wide range of illicit substances, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP). These tests can also determine if a person abuses a prescription medication, such as opioids, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines. In addition, these drugs are classified based on their effects, like stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens.
Drugs can remain in urine for varying periods, depending on the type, amount, and frequency of use. On average, a standard urine test can trace illegal drugs for up to 72 hours. In particular, cannabis can stay in urine for up to 30 days. Additionally, the detection window may be longer for habitual users. After this period, the metabolites become undetectable.
A urine test can also detect alcohol. It is a depressant that affects the central nervous system. It slows brain activity, causing difficulty in coordination and judgement. Moreover, long-term use can lead to liver damage and an increased risk of cancer. Alcohol is detectable in urine for up to 24 hours after the last use.
Types of Urine Tests
There are two types of urine drug testing – immunoassay and GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry). Immunoassay tests use antibodies to detect drugs in a urine sample. The process is simple and fast, making them ideal for quick screening. It is also inexpensive and suitable for frequent or random drug testing.
Meanwhile, GC/MS test is more accurate and reliable than an immunoassay. It helps confirm a positive result from the former test. It can detect drugs at very low levels and identify drugs with precision. The process is also much slower, making it more expensive and suitable for confirmatory or targeted drug testing.
Urine Drug Test in NZ: When Is It Required?
A urine drug test in NZ is common in workplaces and clinical settings. Employers may facilitate it for various reasons, as stated in a policy. The common reasons for testing are pre-employment, random, post-incident, and reasonable suspicion. A pre-employment test is for determining if a person abuses drugs or has unsafe behaviours.
A random test may be done at any time to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. It aims to detect employees who are working while impaired. Therefore, it can manage the hazards before an untoward incident may happen. Random tests also help deter drug and alcohol use or abuse. In accidents, it is vital to see if they have a role in the incident and if further action is necessary.
In addition, a reasonable suspicion test is when management has a reason to believe that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This covers workers who display symptoms such as slurred speech, agitated movements, and confused thinking. In clinical settings, it helps monitor a person’s progress in treatment. It also ensures that patients take their medications as prescribed and not abusing them.
Handling Test Results
Handling and interpreting drug test results is crucial in any testing process. If a preliminary screening using immunoassay detects drugs, the samples are forwarded to a laboratory for confirmatory testing. It undergoes a more accurate GC/MS process to identify a specific drug and the amount.
A Medical Review Officer (MRO) evaluates if the result is due to actual drug use, unintentional exposure, medication, or other factors. If the result is positive, they will contact the employer to discuss the result. Subsequently, management talks in private to the concerned employee to address the situation. The action plan may involve counselling, rehabilitation, or disciplinary actions.
Urine drug tests in NZ are an effective way to monitor personal or workplace safety. It can trace a wide range of illegal drugs and alcohol and determine misuse of prescription medication. It is an effective method of detecting recent drug use or impairment and provides accurate results with minimal cost and effort. Self-testing kits are also available for rapid screening. They are suitable for on-site testing and return the results after a few minutes.
A urine test is beneficial for various settings. It is widely used in workplaces to manage drug-related hazards and prevent accidents. It can also help identify if an employee is struggling with addiction. Hence, an employer can offer assistance or intervention. Likewise, it helps patients undergoing treatment to monitor their progress and prevent relapse. In conclusion, it is essential to know how these tests work to get accurate and reliable results and make appropriate decisions.