Preparation, Reasons & Procedure For Conducting Toxicology Tests

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Toxicology Tests

A toxicology test essentially refers to the kind of test that checks for drugs. This could be done in a number of ways but in most cases toxicology testing involves checking urine or blood. However, there are cases in which other genetic material such as saliva or contents from one’s stomach may undergo a toxicology test. Toxicological testing resurfaces in the news every now and then when such tests are ordered in case of certain celebrity deaths. For instance, in the unfortunate and untimely death of legendary icon Michael Jackson, toxicology testing was employed in order to determine the likely cause of death. It is important to understand that toxicology tests do not tell us whether the drugs detected in the screening were deliberately taken or whether they were merely accidentally taken. Also, the drugs found could be taken in a variety of ways such as absorption or inhalation. Furthermore, it is not just illegal drugs that can be found out, but such tests also look for prescription medication, alcohol and the like.

Why is it done

Toxicology testing is done under a number of circumstances such as when testing for drug use. This could be part of a workplace guideline or it could be used in specific occupations such as drivers of public transport. It could also be done in critical situations such as when an unconscious person is presented to emergency care with possible drug use.

How To Prepare For It?

It is important to list all medication, whether prescription or nonprescription that you have been taking.

How Is It Done?

The toxicology test would depend on the nature of the test involved. In general, it is a urine sample rather than a blood sample which the test is performed on. This is because it is not only easier for a toxicology testing to be done on urine but also because a number of drugs tend to be uncovered in the urine. Another factor in favor of urine toxicology tests over blood tests is that traces of different kinds of drug are likely to be found in urine for a longer time span than in one’s blood.  A toxicology test is useful because it can be employed to look for the presence of more than just one particular kind of drug. In fact, in a single attempt this toxicology test may detect the presence of up to 30 various kinds of drugs.