Drug testing centers: behind the scenes



   Med techs (drug test collectors) are trained to collect urine and handle your specimen safely and accurately according to federal guidelines. There are specific requirements that have to be met before, during, and after donor urine collection.

   Most screening drug centers offer standard collection where the water source is secured and a color agent is added to toilet water to prevent the donor from diluting the specimen. Monitored or direct observation collection is requested when the collector is suspecting the donor of specimen alteration or tampering. If direct observation is requested, then the collector goes into the restroom with the donor/employee.


Before collection:

  1. The donor (you) has to provide proper identification. If you do not have a proper ID, you will still have to leave a specimen.
  2. You will have to leave all personal belongings with the collector, except your wallet.
  3. You will be asked to wash hands.
  4. You choose a cup and enter a private restroom to provide the specimen.


After collection:

  1. Med techs record the time donor spent in the restroom and the strip temperature. Seven other adulterants are tested for specimen validity and accuracy. If the temperature is out of range, you will be asked to collect urine under direct observation.
  2. Urine advance testing is mandatory for federally regulated DOT collections. The collector pours the specimen in two other vials and applies tamper-evident seals with the donor’s initial on them. The passing cut-off THC concentration level under advance testing is 15 ng/mL, lower than preliminary screening cup 50 ng/mL.
  3. Med techs document any situation that disrupts the collection process. If you refuse to wash your hands, empty pockets or provide a second specimen, it’s considered a refusal to test and reported to your employer and/or federal authorities.


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  • If your home test is negative (2 solid lines), you will pass the employer’s drug test. That means your drug concentration is below 50ng/mL cutoff level. If your test is sent to advanced laboratory testing you have to be below 15ng/mL cutoff level to pass the employer’s drug test.
  • I just went to take a drug test today (3) prior tests showed 2 solid red lines- does this mean that I will pass the test even if it is testing 15 ng/mL. Is it still possible to pass the test with very low traces of cannabis in the system or are they looking for 0 percent?


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