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PTD - 223

Test Directory - Drugs of Abuse

Clinical Indications

Drugs of abuse analysis is only offered as a clinical service for the treatment of drug dependence or rarely in the management of patients with suspected overdose.

Analysis is not suitable for medico-legal purposes such as child custody or employment screening. In such cases, independent private laboratories offer a service that provides 'chain of custody' and results that are legally defensible e.g. Alere Toxicology  0207 7128 000 (we do not recommend any specific laboratory).

Spiked drink analysis: if alleged incident has occurred within the past 48 hours, a urine sample in a plain (white top) universal may be sent to the laboratory for storage and the patient should be advised to contact the police. If the alleged incident is more than 48 hours ago, any drugs that might be used in spiking drinks will have already been metabolised and excreted so screening is not worthwhile. However, the patient should still be advised to contact the police.

Test Includes

Amphetamines, benzodiazepines,  cannabis, cocaine, opiates, methadone metabolites.

Request Form

Combined Pathology Blood form (Yellow/Black)


Referral test: If specific criteria is met then adult samples are analysed by Clinical Biochemistry, Southend Hospital and Paediatric samples are analysed by the Toxicology Laboratory, Cardiff.

Specific Criteria

Routine management of patients with drug dependence or as agreed with Consultant Biochemist.

Patient Preparation   None required.

Turnaround Time

Adults: one week. Children: two weeks




5 ml


White capped plain universal container

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled samples, samples collected into Boric acid.

Lab. Handling Processing: Store primary tube at 4C in separating fridge (CB39).
SOSDG (adults) and send in the transport box to Southend Hospital or DRUG (paediatrics) and send to Cardiff.
(NOTOX and save in the separating freezer (CB40) at -20C.

Version 1.0 / June 2014                                                                                                          Approved by: Consultant Biochemist