Pre-employment drug screening has long been a critical part of the onboarding process for many companies. Pre-employment drug screening offers employers a higher level of scrutiny and fidelity when hiring new employees. Because of this, many employers who require testing opt for a specific form of testing known as chain-of-custody drug testing over clinical drug screens. Chain-of-custody drug screening offers higher specimen sample validity – something that is paramount in many workplace environments to ensure safety. Beyond that, if push comes to shove, a chain-of-custody drug screen will hold up in a courtroom much better than a clinical test or over-the-counter test. There are difference in the kinds of drug tests employers require. Let’s look at what makes chain-of-custody drug screening unique and different kinds of drug tests.
Chain of Custody Drug Screening Process
The Chain of Custody drug screening process accounts for the collection processing and storage of samples collected for testing purposes. The steps in this process require all stakeholders in the testing process to “show their work” and document the steps. The Chain of Custody drug screening process greatly reduces any potential for tampering. More importantly, the steps also ensure that the sample has been collected from a specific donor.
Collecting the Chain Of Custody Test Sample
Only certain labs have the ability to handle Chain of Custody drug testing. Certain protocols must be followed. At labs that do offer Chain of Custody drug testing, the first step is for the candidate to provide the sample. It is critical that the certified specimen collector adhere to certain rules when collecting the specimen, such as:
- Provide a secure, private room only accessed by the donor and collector
- Perform only one collection at a time
- Ensure that only the donor and collector handle the specimen
- Immediately seal the specimen in the presence of the donor
- Cursory check for temperature, color, scent of specimen
- Keep the specimen in view during entire process
Confirming Your Identity
Donors will already have provided a proper government issued identification (driver’s license, passport, state-issued ID, etc.) when they arrive at the testing location. Additionally, they will also have to confirm their identity as part of the Chain of Custody drug screening process. This way, the testing center knows who you are and they can proceed with certainty.
Completing the Chain of Custody Form
Both the donor and the lab technician who is collecting the sample complete the Chain of Custody form declaring that the candidate is, indeed, who they say they are. They are also both confirming that the sample has been collected in accordance with the rules of the process.
Seal the Deal
Once the specimen has been collected and forms have been filled out the sample is sealed into a bag to prevent tampering. The specimen is securely shipped to the testing lab. The lab must ensure that the public has no access to the specimen. Records of how and when the specimen was transported must also be maintained.
Chain of Custody Drug Test – Processing Time
Most drug screens only take 1-2 days to process. However, it is important to ensure that you are aware of any special hours for testing. Some labs may only perform drug screens on certain days. As with most lab tests, walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are strongly encouraged.
MRO Review for Drug Screen Results
While not required in every state, a Medical Review Officer is a critical part of many Chain of Custody drug screens. The MRO is a person 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. An MRO acts as an independent and impartial “gatekeeper” and advocate for the accuracy and integrity of the drug testing process. The MRO provides quality assurance review of the drug testing process for the specimens under their purview. They determine if there is a legitimate medical explanation for laboratory confirmed positive, adulterated, substituted and invalid drug test results, ensure the timely flow of test result and other information to employers and protect the confidentiality of the drug testing information.
eCCF- electronic Custody and Control form
Accesa Labs offers eCCF testing. This modernized digital version is far easier and more efficient to work with than the traditional five-part paper tests.
An electronic Custody and Control Form (eCCF) is the digital version of the traditional, five-part paper Custody and Control Form — the document used for drug test ordering, specimen collection processing, and chain of custody documentation for workplace drug testing. The CCF documents the external specimen chain of custody — i.e., the handling of the drug test specimen from the time it is collected until it is received at the laboratory.
For drug testing custody and control form (eCCF) is also used to document final laboratory results reported to the Medical Review Officer (MRO). The Federal eCCF collects and transmits the same employer, donor, collector, MRO, and specimen information as the paper process using an online process rather than the 5-part paper form. For any employer who want to enable technology and have results delivered electronically and easily, the eCCF process is the way to go.