What Are Drugs?
Drugs are plant constituents or chemicals that influence the body and mind. The definition of drugs incorporates legal substances like tobacco and illegal substances, prescription medicines, and over-the-counter medication.
When appropriately utilized, over-the-counter medications and prescription medicines can treat medical conditions and help recuperate one's health. Nevertheless, continual usage of drugs can result in health risks addiction. Substance usage can be split into two broad classifications depending on the manner the drug is acquired:
· Drug use: Drug usage alludes to making use of any prohibited substances. Individuals who fall under this category use these drugs by inhaling, ingesting, smoking, or injecting them inside their bodies. Illicit drugs are frequently used for their mind-altering properties but may be consumed for other reasons like boosting athletic performance or losing weight.
· Drug misuse: Drug misuse alludes to making use of legally acquired substances in a manner that's unhealthy or varies from the recommended guidelines of a physician. Drug misuse refers to excessive alcohol consumption, over-the-counter medication, and tobacco, along with prescription drug misuse.
Drug use and misuse can result in you developing an addiction. Addiction, also referred to as a substance use disorder is a lasting disease in which recurrent drug usage alters in the brain. Addiction is very complicated and involves genetics, the brain, and life experiences, and the environment. An individual is classified as an addict when using drugs impulsively, despite past negative and experiences.
Patients dealing with drug addiction, misuse, and substance usage should consult their medical healthcare service provider or physician. There are various effective treatment alternatives for addiction and substance usage disorders.
The Role of Drug Tests
The purpose of drug tests is to identify if a particular individual has misused or used drugs. An office setting makes use of drug tests often. Before an applicant is enlisted, an employer may mandate a drug screening. Periodic or random drug tests after employment may also be a caveat an employer demands.
An employer may demand drug screening when drug usage is assumed and is centered on symptoms noticed at work. A worker may also be subject to a drug test after getting involved in an accident or mishap in the workplace. An individual may be subjected to return-to-duty drug testing upon return after a prolonged period away from work.
Drug screening may also be applied in various other settings, including:
· Legal or forensic testing: Drug screening may be required as part of a court case or investigation to act as proof of an offense or in cases involving child endangerment or abuse. What's more, screening may be used to establish whether an individual is publicly intoxicated or driving under the influence.
· Medical testing: A person may be screened for drug misuse or usage as part of a medical evaluation. For instance, patients on the waitlist for an organ transplant may be subject to a drug test and disqualified if the result comes back positive. A healthcare provider may also require a drug test to be done in the case of a critically ill patient with symptoms of a potential overdose.
· Treatment adherence: Drug testing may be mandated to check whether the said individual has adhered to court-mandated treatment programs, as probation terms, while undergoing a substance abuse treatment or as part of a continuing parental rights case or custody.
· Checking for prescription drug misuse: A physician may mandate drug screening to examine patients who are likely to misuse certain prescription drugs, including opioids used for relieving pain. Random or periodic drug screening assists in making sure that patients are ingesting the prescribed medication properly.
· Athletic testing: Professionals in the athletic field are usually subjected to random drug tests to check for drugs that may be deemed performance-enhancing.
· Military testing: Random or periodic drug screens may be a requirement for military members.
Who should get testing?
There are various settings in which a drug test may be obligatory, including:
- · Medication management
- · Organized sports
- · Employment
- · Court cases
- · Police investigations
Medical practitioners may also order a drug screen if a patient is getting treatment related to substance use.
When it comes to subjecting a person to drug tests, ethical and legal factors need to be considered. Given how sensitive drug screening can be and the likely implications that may arise; as a result, patients being subjected to drug tests should be given a chance to agree to drug screening whenever possible. Complicated ethical and legal questions may crop up in certain scenarios like:
· Drug testing minors: While it's permissible in some areas for a parent to authorize their child to get screened for drug usage without their approval, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates that medical personnel shouldn't screen children for drugs without the said child being aware or giving the go-ahead unless it's a medical emergency.
· Drug testing during pregnancy: When it comes to drug screening during pregnancy, pregnant mothers and their physicians should discuss state and federal patient confidentiality regulations and potential implications if drug use is discovered. The American Society of Addiction Medicine advises physicians to get approval from pregnant mothers before testing unless it's an emergency.
Getting test results
Drug tests usually come back as either negative or positive. Positive results show definitive proof of the presence of a drug, or a drug's presence is above the threshold range for the test. A negative result shows proof that there was no presence of a drug or the readings acquired were below the reference range to attain a positive result. There are various factors to consider when translating drug test results:
· Confirmatory testing may be required: A preliminary drug test's positive results often need to be corroborated with further testing. This test utilizes a different kind of drug screening and increases the accuracy of the overall drug test by minimizing the risk of false-positive results, where the test results of an individual come back positive despite not using any drugs.
· Drug tests may not account for intoxication: Positive results don't necessarily suggest that an individual is presently intoxicated. Drug screens may detect drugs at a lower concentration than what would be needed to induce physical effects. In addition, some tests can reveal drug usage days to weeks after usage, at which juncture the drug's intoxicating effects have waned.
· Risk of false-positive results: There are incidences of certain foods and medications giving off false-positive results. Examples include OTC cold medication that can test positive for PCP and consuming poppy seeds, which may test positive for opioids
· Risk of false-negative results: False-negative arises when an individual's test results come back negative despite drug misuse or usage. These results can happen for an array of reasons like improper testing or sample collection, a patient falsifies or subverts a drug test, or using a drug not spotted in a particular test. For instance, amphetamine testing doesn't scan all types of amphetamines. Frequently used amphetamines like methamphetamine and MDMA may not be detectable on all amphetamine tests.
Types of Drug Tests
There is a range of drug tests. Drug screens vary from one another in the kind of drug they spot, the sort of sample required for testing, and if they check for the existence of drug metabolites or the drug itself. A drug metabolite refers to a substance that stays in the system after the drug has already been metabolized.
Even though urine is the frequently used test sample for drug testing, other test samples may include saliva, breath, sweat, feces, hair, and blood. Urine testing is frequently used because the test is affordable, non-intrusive, and spots a broad range of drugs. Hair follicle testing may be done to test for long-term or chronic drug usage.
Evidence of drug usage is detectable within a certain timespan, referred to as a detection window. Detection windows depend on various factors, including the amount of use and length and the frequency at which the drug is broken down and eliminated from the system. Here are some of the drugs that may be included in drug tests:
- · Amphetamines testing identifies the drug itself using a urine or blood sample.
- · Alcohol (ethanol) testing identifies the drug or its metabolites using a blood sample.
- · Benzodiazepines testing identifies the drug or its metabolites using a urine or blood sample.
- · Barbiturates testing identifies the drug or its metabolites using a urine or blood sample.
- · Marijuana (THC) testing identifies the drug metabolites using blood.
- · Cocaine testing identifies the drug metabolites using urine, blood,
- · Opioid testing identifies the drug or its metabolites using a blood, urine, or saliva sample.
- · Nicotine and cotinine testing identify the drug or its metabolites using a blood sample.
- · Phencyclidine (PCP) testing identifies the drug itself using a blood sample.
Although drug screening may be aimed at detecting one drug, it usually tests for a range of drugs simultaneously by using test panels. The most frequently used panel for testing patients suspected of illegal drug usage detects five substances: PCP, opioids, marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines.
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