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Home > Drug Testing > Resources > Drug Testing Terminology

Standard Drug Testing Terminology

EBI’s Drug Testing Professionals have compiled a list of commonly used terms and definitions that appear in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) rule, 49 CFR Part 40, which describes required procedures for conducting workplace drug and alcohol testing for the federally regulated transportation industry.  This glossary should not be considered to be all-inclusive nor is it intended to constitute legal advice.  It is especially important to consult legal counsel when making employment decisions.  

 

A number assigned to each specimen by the laboratory.  This number stays with the specimen it's entire lifetime.  It is used to identify and track a specimen every step from the time it arrives to the laboratory until the result is reported.   

A specimen that contains a substance that is not expected to be present in human urine, or contains a substance expected to be present but is at a concentration so high that it is not consistent with human urine.   

A form that must be signed by the collector to correct a problem on the original Chain of Custody form.  For example, if the date was missing, incorrect, or the collector's signature was missing.   

Persons are affiliates of one another if, directly or indirectly, one controls or has the power to control the other, or a third party controls or has the power to control both.  Indicators of control include, but are not limited to: interlocking management or ownership; shared interest among family members; shared facilities or equipment; or common use of employees.  Following the issuance of a public interest exclusion, an organization having the same or similar management, ownership, or principal employees as the service agent concerning whom a public interest exclusion is in effect is regarded as an affiliate.  This definition is used in connection with the public interest exclusion procedures of Subpart R of this part.  

In evidential breath testing devices (EBTs) using gas chromatography technology, a reading of the device's internal standard.  In all other EBTs, a reading of ambient air containing no alcohol.   

The intoxicating agent in beverage alcohol, ethyl alcohol or other low molecular weight alcohols, including methyl or isopropyl alcohol.  

The alcohol in a volume of breath expressed in terms of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a breath test under this part.  

A subsequent test using an EBT, following a screening test with a result of 0.02 or greater, that provides quantitative data about the alcohol concentration.  

A breath or saliva device, other than an EBT, that is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and placed on a conforming products list (CPL) for such devices.  

An analytic procedure to determine whether an employee may have a prohibited concentration of alcohol in a breath or saliva specimen.   

A place selected by the employer where employees present themselves for the purpose of providing breath or saliva for an alcohol test.  

The drinking or swallowing of any beverage, liquid mixture or preparation (including any medication), containing alcohol.  

Blind specimen or blind performance test specimen.  A specimen submitted to a laboratory for quality control testing purposes, with a fictitious identifier, so that the laboratory cannot distinguish it from an employee specimen.   

A person who instructs and assists employees in the alcohol testing process and operates an evidential breath testing device.  

A drug or alcohol test that has a problem identified that cannot be or has not been corrected, or which this part otherwise requires to be cancelled.  A cancelled test is neither a positive nor a negative test.  

The procedure used to document the handling of the urine specimen from the time the employee gives the specimen to the collector until the specimen is destroyed.  This procedure uses the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF).  

A medical facility that can be used as a collection site.  

A container into which the employee urinates to provide the specimen for a drug test.   

A place selected by the employer where employees present themselves for the purpose of providing a urine specimen for a drug test.  

A person who instructs and assists employees at a collection site, who receives and makes an initial inspection of the specimen provided by those employees, and who initiates and completes the CCF.  

A second analytical procedure performed on a urine specimen to identify and quantify the presence of a specific drug or drug metabolite.   

A second test performed on a urine specimen to further support a validity test result.   

A confirmation test result received by an MRO from a laboratory.  

A service agent that provides or coordinates the provision of a variety of drug and alcohol testing services to employers.  C/TPAs typically perform administrative tasks concerning the operation of the employers' drug and alcohol testing programs.  This term includes, but is not limited to, groups of employers who join together to administer, as a single entity, the DOT drug and alcohol testing programs of its members.  C/TPAs are not “employers” for purposes of this part.   

Training for medical review officers (MROs) and substance abuse professionals (SAPs) who have completed qualification training and are performing MRO or SAP functions, designed to keep MROs and SAPs current on changes and developments in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program.  

An employee authorized by the employer to take immediate action(s) to remove employees from safety-sensitive duties, or cause employees to be removed from these covered duties, and to make required decisions in the testing and evaluation processes.  The DER also receives test results and other communications for the employer, consistent with the requirements of this part.  Service agents cannot act as DERs.  

A specimen with creatinine and specific gravity values lower than expected for human urine.  

These terms encompass all DOT agencies, including, but not limited to, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and the Office of the Secretary (OST).  These terms include any designee of a DOT agency.  

A chemical that is released from the ingesting process.  This is what is checked for in a drug screen.  Particular substances produce particular metabolites.  

The drugs for which tests are required under this part and DOT agency regulations are marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates.  

Any person who is designated in a DOT agency regulation as subject to drug testing and/or alcohol testing.  The term includes individuals currently performing safety-sensitive functions designated in DOT agency regulations and applicants for employment subject to pre-employment testing.  For purposes of drug testing under this part, the term employee has the same meaning as the term “donor” as found on CCF and related guidance materials produced by the Department of Health and Human Services.

A person or entity employing one or more employees (including an individual who is self-employed) subject to DOT agency regulations requiring compliance with this part.  The term includes an employer's officers, representatives, and management personnel.  Service agents are not employers for the purposes of this part.  

Training provided to BATs, collectors, and screening test technicians (STTs) following an error that resulted in the cancellation of a drug or alcohol test.  Error correction training must be provided in person or by a means that provides real-time observation and interaction between the instructor and trainee.  

A device approved by NHTSA for the evidential testing of breath at the .02 and .04 alcohol concentrations, placed on NHTSA's Conforming Products List (CPL) for “Evidential Breath Measurement Devices” and identified on the CPL as conforming with the model specifications available from NHTSA's Traffic Safety Program.  

The Department of Health and Human Services or any designee of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.  

The test used to differentiate a negative specimen from one that requires further testing for drugs or drug metabolites.  

The first test used to determine if a specimen is adulterated, diluted, or substituted.  

The result of a drug test for a urine specimen that contains an unidentified adulterant or an unidentified interfering substance, has abnormal physical characteristics, or has an endogenous substance at an abnormal concentration that prevents the laboratory from completing or obtaining a valid drug test result.

Any U.S. laboratory certified by HHS under the National Laboratory Certification Program as meeting the minimum standards of Subpart C of the HHS Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs; or, in the case of foreign laboratories, a laboratory approved for participation by DOT under this part.  (The HHS Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs are available on the internet at http://www.health.org/workpl.htm or from the Division of Workplace Programs, 1 Choke Cherry Road, Room 2-1035, Rockville, MD 20857.)

A person who is a licensed physician and who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer's drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test results.  

A result that indicates that the spcimen did not exceed certain levels of drug metabolites.  The average turn around time for a negative result is 24 hours from the time the laboratory receives the specimen, though this could vary.  

The office in the Office of the Secretary, DOT, that is responsible for coordinating drug and alcohol testing program matters within the Department and providing information concerning the implementation of this part.   

A result that indicates that the specimen exceeded certain drug or drug metabolite cutoff levels.  It is usually sent to the MRO for review.  

In drug testing, the urine specimen bottle that is opened and tested by a first laboratory to determine whether the employee has a drug or drug metabolite in his or her system; and for the purpose of validity testing.  The primary specimen is distinguished from the split specimen, defined in this section.  

The training required in order for a collector, BAT, MRO, SAP, or STT to be qualified to perform their functions in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program.  Qualification training may be provided by any appropriate means (e.g., classroom instruction, internet application, CD–ROM, video).  

The training required periodically for qualified collectors, BATs, and STTs to review basic requirements and provide instruction concerning changes in technology (e.g., new testing methods that may be authorized) and amendments, interpretations, guidance, and issues concerning this part and DOT agency drug and alcohol testing regulations.  Refresher training can be provided by any appropriate means (e.g., classroom instruction, internet application, CD–ROM, video).  

A position in which the normal or periodic job responsibilities of the employee entail, at some point and to some degree, a higher level of concern for the safety, health, and/or welfare of the employee in that position, his or her co-workers, those who use our products or services, those who come onto or in contact with Company property, and the public at large [and for whom the illicit use of drugs and/or misuse of alcohol by the employee in that position could create a greater danger to the safety, health, and/or well-being of those individuals].  1 Drug Free Workplace

A person who instructs and assists employees in the alcohol testing process and operates an ASD.  

The Secretary of Transportation or the Secretary's designee.  

A position in which the normal or periodic job responsibilities of the employee entail, at some point and to some degree, access to cash, securities, bonds, or other negotiable instruments, and/or precious and/or valuable commodities; involve the use of, or access to, firearms and/or other weapons and/or armaments; involve protection of property, valuables, and/or individuals; relate to matters of national security, military, or law enforcement; and/or entail access to assets and/or information vital to, sensitive for, and/or with high proprietary interest to the Company [and for whom the illicit use of drugs and/or misuse of alcohol by the employee in that position could compromise the interests of the Company and/or any individual or entity affiliated to, or in contact with, the Company].  1 Drug Free Workplace

Any person or entity, other than an employee of the employer, who provides services specified under this part to employers and/or employees in connection with DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.  This includes, but is not limited to, collectors, BATs and STTs, laboratories, MROs, substance abuse professionals, and C/TPAs.  To act as service agents, persons and organizations must meet the qualifications set forth in applicable sections of this part.  Service agents are not employers for purposes of this part.  

A container that is used for transporting and protecting urine specimen bottles and associated documents from the collection site to the laboratory.  

The bottle that, after being sealed and labeled according to the procedures in this part, is used to hold the urine specimen during transportation to the laboratory.  

In drug testing, a part of the urine specimen that is sent to a first laboratory and retained unopened, and which is transported to a second laboratory in the event that the employee requests that it be tested following a verified positive test of the primary specimen or a verified adulterated or substituted test result.  

The practice of temporarily removing an employee from the performance of safety-sensitive functions based only on a report from a laboratory to the MRO of a confirmed positive test for a drug or drug metabolite, an adulterated test, or a substituted test, before the MRO has completed verification of the test result.  

A person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.  

A specimen with creatinine and specific gravity values that are so diminished that they are not consistent with human urine.   

A strip that is used to determine whether or not the urine is in the 90-100 degree range.  This helps to ensure that tampering has not occurred.  

A drug test result or validity testing result from an HHS-certified laboratory that has undergone review and final determination by the MRO.  

 

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