Drug Testing Glossary of Terms

NDASA (National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association) has recently published a glossary of terms for drug testing which will help with many unknown definitions.

Glossary of Terms

  • 49 CFR Part 40: U S Laws for U. S. Department of Transportation Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Program.
  • Actual Knowledge means actual knowledge by an employer that a driver has used alcohol or controlled substances based on the employer’s direct observation of the employee, information provided by the driver’s previous employer(s), a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, or an employee’s admission of alcohol or controlled substance use. Because non-DOT testing is conducted under the same strict collection and laboratory standards as DOT tests, a positive drug test result is considered actual knowledge that an employee is using a controlled substance without authorization.
  • Accident means an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road, and/or private roads, which is defined under each DOT agency. FMCSA example:
    o Involves the loss of human life; or
    o The driver receives a citation under State or local law for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident; and
    ▪ Any involved vehicle sustains disabling damage and is towed from accident; and/or
    ▪ Anyone receives bodily injury that requires immediate medical treatment away from the accident scene
  • Adulterant is a substance added to a urine specimen for the purpose of interfering with the normal testing process or altering the test results.
  • Adulterated Specimen means 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.
  • Affiliate is a person who may be connected to someone who has a public exclusion procedure of Subpart R of 49 CFR Part 40 against them. They may work with the person, be a stockholder, have shared family interest, etc.
  • Alcohol Concentration (or content) is the alcohol in a volume of breath expressed in terms of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath as indicated by an evidential breath test (BrAC).
  • Alcohol is the intoxicating agent in beverage alcohol, ethyl alcohol, or other low molecular weight alcohols including methyl and isopropyl alcohol.
  • Alcohol Screening Test is an analytic procedure to determine whether an employee may have a prohibited concentration of alcohol in a breath specimen.
  • Alcohol Confirmation Test is the subsequent test using an Evidential Breath Tester (EBT), following a screening test with a result of 0.02 or greater, that provides quantitative data about the alcohol concentration when completing a DOT alcohol test.
  • Alcohol use means the drinking or swallowing of any beverage, liquid mixture or preparation (including any medication), containing alcohol.
  • Analyte is a substance or chemical constituent that is undergoing analysis.
  • ASD (Alcohol Screening Device) Devices used for alcohol screening tests only and are on the Conforming Product List (CPL) for DOT analysis.
  • ATF (Alcohol Testing Form) Legal/forensic form for documentation of an alcohol test. DOT form is for Department of Transportation testing and non-DOT form is for all other testing.
  • Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) An individual certified and trained to operate an Evidential Breath Testing Device (EBT) and proficient in breath-testing procedures following 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart J. This individual may also instruct and assist employees in the alcohol testing process and operation of an evidential breath testing device.
  • C/TPA (Consortium/Third Party Administrator) A service agent performing parts or all the consortium administration for a company’s drug and alcohol program. The C/TPA is NOT the “employer” for purposes of 49 CFR Part 40.
  • Canceled Test is a drug or alcohol test with an identified problem that either cannot be or has not been corrected, or which is otherwise required (by 49 CFR Part 40) to be canceled. A canceled test is neither positive nor negative.
  • CCF (Custody and Control Form) Form used for the documentation of the complete DOT or non-DOT specimen collections process. This is forensic document.
  • CDL (Commercial Driver License) In order to obtain a CDL, the applicant must pass advanced skills and knowledge testing. Additionally, CDL holders are held to a higher standard when operating ANY type of motor vehicle on public roads. Applicants are required to provide proof of identity, full legal name, date of birth, social security number, lawful presence in the United States (two proofs of current residency in the District of Columbia) and a completed DOT Medical Examiner’s Certification. The extensive process also requires medical records, residency history, and good driving reports. Eligibility requires a 10-year driver history report in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) The laws of the United States of America.
  • Collection Container The container provided into which the employee/donor void the urine specimen for the purpose of providing a sample to be analyzed by the laboratory.
  • Chain of Custody The entire procedure including the sample collection, shipment to the lab, laboratory test, MRO review and resulting to the Designated Employer Representative. This complete process is recorded on the Custody and Control form.
  • Collection Site A place designated by an employer where employees/donors present themselves for the purpose of providing a specimen to be collected and analyzed for the presence of controlled substances, or for purposes of providing a breath or saliva sample to be analyzed for alcohol concentration.
  • Collector A trained individual who is qualified to instruct and assist donors at a collection site, receive and make an initial inspection of the donor’s specimen, and initiates and completes the CCF. The requirements of 49 CFR Part 40.33 must be met for DOT and HHS collections.
  • Confirmed Test Once a test result has been verified by a certified scientist, the laboratory reports to the Medical Review Officer (MRO). If a test result is positive, the donor is contacted by the MRO. The final result is reported to the Designated Employer Representative (DER). The test result is then considered confirmed.
  • Confirmatory Test
    o For drug testing – A second analytical procedure using GC/MS or LC/MS methodology to identify and quantify the presence of a specific drug or drug metabolite in a specimen sample. Also used to further support the results of a valid test.
    o For alcohol testing, a confirmatory test is a second collection following a screening test with a 0.02 or greater result. The confirmation must follow a 15 – 30-minute wait period and provide quantitative data of alcohol concentration. This test is performed on an Evidential Breath Testing device (EBT) and is conducted by a Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT).
  • Covered Employee is an individual working in a defined safety-sensitive position under each DOT modal agency and qualifies for the DOT mandatory testing protocols. Each agency clearly defines the criteria of who falls under this determination.
  • Control is a sample used to evaluate whether an analytical procedure or test is operating within a predefined tolerance limit.
  • CPL (Conforming Product List) The list of acceptable EBT and calibration devices for use in DOT evidentiary breath testing procedures, published by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and posted by DOT at www.dot.gov\odapc
  • Creatinine is normally excreted in human urine as a metabolic waste. Included in the laboratory testing process to determine whether or not the specimen has been adulterated.
  • Cut-off Level is the scientific measurement determined by HHS to verify whether each drug
    metabolite is present in a specimen sample, resulting in the negative or positive test result.
  • DER (Designated Employer Representative) An employee authorized by an employer to take immediate actions(s) to remove employees from safety-sensitive 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 CFR 49 Part 40. Service agents may not act as DERs.
  • Dilute Specimen- A specimen with creatinine and specific gravity values lower than expected for human urine.
    40.197 What happens when an employer receives a report of a dilute specimen?
    (a) As the employer, if the MRO informs you that a positive drug test was dilute, you simply treat the test as a verified positive test. You must not direct the employee to take another test based on the fact that the specimen was dilute.
    (b) If the MRO informs the employer that a negative test was dilute, take the following action:
    (1) If the MRO directs you to conduct a recollection under direct observation (i.e., because the creatinine concentration was equal to or greater than 2mg/dL, but less than or equal to 5 mg/dL (see §40.155(c)), you must do so immediately.
    (2) Otherwise (i.e., if the creatinine concentration of the dilute specimen is greater than 5 mg/dL), you may (but are not required to) direct the employee to take another test immediately.
    (i) Such recollections must not be collected under direct observation, unless there is another basis for use of direct observation (see §40.67 (b) and (c)).
    (ii) You must treat all employees the same for this purpose. For example, you must not retest some employees and not others. You may, however, establish different policies for different types of tests (e.g., conduct retests in pre-employment situations, but not in random test situations). You must inform your employees in advance of your decisions on these matters.
  • Direct Observation is performed under specific, separate guidelines per DOT and HHS rules. The observer is required to watch the urine leave the donor’s body and is collected in collection container in their presence. For DOT the donor must raise shirt, lower clothes from waist down and turn in front of the observer to look for any forms of possible adulteration of specimen. HHS does not require the “lift up, drop down, turn around” procedure.
  • DO (Doctor of Osteopath) May be a Certified Medical Review Officer after completing the mandatory training and examination every five years.
  • Donor is an employee of a company who is designated in a DOT agency regulation as subject to drug and/or alcohol testing. The term includes individuals currently preforming safety-sensitive functions and applicants for employment subject to pre-employment testing.
  • DOT Agencies: All agencies operating under the the Department of Transportation including but not limited to: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and the Office of the Secretary (OST). These terms include any designee of a DOT agency.
  • Drugs to be Tested The drugs for which tests are required under CFR 49 Part 40 and DOT agency regulations: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine, and opioids.
  • EAP (Employee Assistance Program) A work-based employee benefit program designed to assist employees in resolving personal and/or work-related problems that may be adversely affecting their job performance, health, mental and emotional well-being. Employers providing EAP programs may allow employees to complete drug & alcohol treatment after a violation.
  • EBT (Evidential Breath Tester) A device that has been approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) for evidential testing of breath at the 0.02 and 0.04 alcohol concentration levels. EBT must be listed on the Conforming Product List (CPL) for use in DOT collections.
  • Employee/Donor is any person who is designated in a DOT agency regulation as subject to drug and/or alcohol testing. The term includes individuals currently preforming safety-sensitive functions and applicants for employment subject to pre-employment testing.
  • Error Correction Training If a BAT, STT or Urine Drug Collector make a mistake in the collection process that causes a test to be cancelled (i.e., a fatal or uncorrected flaw), the collector must undergo error correction training. Training must consist of 1 uneventful drug test scenario and 2 that are directly related to the error. The individual overseeing the correction training must monitor and evaluate the performance in-person or by a means that provides real-time observation and interaction between the instructor and trainee. The trainer/monitor must also attest in writing that the mock collections are “error-free.” This person must be a qualified collector who has demonstrated necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities by:
    o Regularly conducting DOT drug test collections for a period of at least 1 year;
    o Conducting collector training under this part for a year; or
    o Successfully completing a “train the trainer” course.
  • FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is a DOT modal operating administration.
  • Failure to Reconfirm means the result reported when a laboratory is unable to corroborate the original result (i.e. positive, adulterated, substituted) reported to the Medical Review Officer.
  • Fatal Flaw An error that cannot be corrected which causes the test to be cancelled.
  • FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is a DOT operating administration.
  • FRA (The Federal Railroad Administration) is a DOT operating administration.
  • FTA (The Federal Transit Administration0 is a DOT operating administration.
  • GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) is a scientific method used by forensic toxicology laboratories to confirm testing for drugs of abuse.
  • HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) is the governmental agency that provides DOT qualifying laboratory certification, determines drug metabolite cut-off levels and is responsible for oversight and rulemaking for U.S. Coast Guard Testing.
  • Incident refers to an event or occurrence resulting from an accident.
  • Inspection is the act of looking at something closely in order to learn more about it, to find problems, etc. The act of inspecting may include the collector procedures, collection sites, laboratories, SAP records of testing etc. Inspections may be performed by on-site supervisors and/or DOT agents, the C/TPA and the DER.
  • Insufficient Quantity A specimen amount less than what is required for sufficient testing. In the collection of urine, the donor must provide the minimum of 45 milliliters for a DOT split collection.
  • Initial/Screening Test is a rapid test device used to differentiate a negative specimen from one that requires further testing for drugs/drug metabolites or alcohol at a certain cut-off level.
  • Laboratory means the location where all scientific analyzing is performed on a drug test specimen. For DOT this facility must perform the screening test using Gas Chromatography and if a drug metabolite is present, a confirmation test it must be performed at the same facility using Mass Spectrometry. Laboratories have specific guidelines and noted in Subpart F:
    § 40.81 What laboratories may be used for DOT drug testing
    (a) As a drug testing laboratory located in the U.S., you are permitted to participate in DOT drug testing only if you are certified by HHS under the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) for all testing required under this part.
    (b) As a drug testing laboratory located in Canada or Mexico which is not certified by HHS under the NLCP, you are permitted to participate in DOT drug testing only if:
    (1) The DOT, based on a written recommendation from HHS, has approved your laboratory as meeting HHS laboratory certification standards or deemed your laboratory fully equivalent to a laboratory meeting HHS laboratory certification standard for all testing required under this part; or
    (2) The DOT, based on a written recommendation from HHS, has recognized a Canadian or Mexican certifying organization as having equivalent laboratory certification standards and procedures to those of HHS, and the Canadian or Mexican certifying organization has certified your laboratory under those equivalent standards and procedures.
    (c) As a laboratory participating in the DOT drug testing program, you must comply with the requirements of this part. You must also comply with all applicable requirements of HHS in testing DOT specimens, whether or not the HHS requirements are explicitly stated in this part.
    (d) If DOT determines that you are in noncompliance with this part, you could be subject to PIE proceedings under Subpart R of this part. If the Department issues a PIE with respect to you, you are ineligible to participate in the DOT drug testing program even if you continue to meet the requirements of paragraph (a) or (b) of this section. (Updated: October 24, 2012)
  • MD (Medical Doctor) May be a Certified Medical Review Officer after completing the mandatory training and examination every five years.
  • MDMA/MDA/MDEA/Methamphetamines Methamphetamine is the target analyte for amphetamine/methamphetamine testing and is to be reported positive for methamphetamine. A specimen must also contain amphetamine at a concentration equal to or greater than 100 ng/mL.
    o Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
    o Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA)
    o Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDEA)
  • Metabolite Drug metabolism is the process by which the body breaks down and converts drugs into active chemical substances for which the presence of that drug may be found in urine.
  • MRO (Medical Review Officer) Must be a licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy and licensed to practice in any U.S., Canadian, or Mexican jurisdiction, meeting the other requirements under 49 CFR Part 40.
  • NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) is a DOT operating administration.
  • NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) is a trusted information source pertaining to drugs of abuse and associated risks/harms.
  • Nanogram is the unit of measurement in which analyte concentrations in urine are usually presented. A nanogram is one billionth of a gram. A milliliter is one thousandth of a liter.
  • ODAPC (Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy Compliance) is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Transportation on rules related to the drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees in aviation, trucking, railroads, mass transit, pipelines, and other
    transportation industries. ODAPC publishes regulations and provides official interpretations on drug and alcohol testing, including how to conduct tests and the evaluation and treatment procedures necessary for returning employees to duty after testing violations. ODAPC also coordinates DOT’s involvement with the President’s National Drug Control Strategy annually.
  • PHMSA (Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration) is a DOT operating administration.
  • PIE (Public Interest Exclusion) is the mechanism designed to protect the public from the effects of serious noncompliance by service agents. The PIE provision became effective January 18, 2001. A service agent engaging in serious misconduct may be excluded from participating in DOT-required drug and alcohol testing for a period of time. All individuals or organizations listed are excluded from participating in drug and alcohol testing programs until further notice.
  • POCT (Point of Care Test) A rapid test device that may be used to perform a preliminary screen using urine or sputum. If the device receives a non-negative result (anything other than negative) the specimen should be sent to a laboratory for confirmation. Only FDA-approved devices should be used.
  • Positive Alcohol is a breath alcohol measurement equal to or > 0.020 and must have confirmation after a 15-minute wait period. If the result is 0.020-0.039 the donor is removed from duty for 8 hours (24 hours for FMCSA) and must be re-tested after that period. The donor must have a result under 0.020 to return to work. If the result is 0.040 or higher the donor must have a Substance Abuse Evaluation.
  • Post-Accident Testing A specimen collection required after the donor is involved in a DOT modal agency specifically defined job-related accident.
  • Pre-Duty/Pre-Employment Testing means prior to starting the job (right before starting work duties after clocking-in).
  • QNS (Quantity Not Sufficient) An acceptable abbreviation collector may use to note in the “Remarks” section of the CCF when there is less than 45 mL of sample required for testing.
  • Random Pool is the best tool employers have for deterring drug and alcohol use in the workplace. Regardless of job titles like supervisor, volunteer, contractor, owner operators, etc., people are chosen for testing based on their job function (known as a safety-sensitive function) not their occupational title. Only DOT safety-sensitive employees may be part of the DOT random pool(s). A DOT testing program and random pool must always be separate and distinct from a non-DOT testing program.
  • Reportable Example: reportable damages greater than the reporting threshold
  • Revenue Service The term “revenue service vehicle” is not defined in the rules. The “Glossary of Transit Terms,” however, defines a “revenue vehicle” as the “floating and rolling stock used in providing transit revenue service for passengers”; “revenue service” means “when the vehicle is available to the general public and there is a reasonable expectation of carrying passengers that directly pay fares, are subsidized by public policy, or provide payment through some contractual arrangement. Vehicles operated in ‘free fare’ service are considered to be in revenue service. Revenue service excludes deadhead, school bus and charter service.” Urban Mass Transportation Administration (1991). For the purposes of the drug and alcohol rules, vans used in “van pools” (i.e. by commuters going to-and- from work) are not in “revenue service.” Vehicles are “revenue service vehicles” within the meaning of FTA’s drug and alcohol rules, if they were purchased with FTA funding and carry fare-paying and/or publicly subsidized passengers. Soliciting donations would not affect the status of the vehicles if they were purchased with FTA funding.
  • SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) is to be permitted to act in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program, if the meet each of the requirements of this section:
  • Service Agent- A person and /or organizations who provide their service to transportation employers and who must meet the requirements of 49 CFR part 40 of the DOT agency drug and alcohol testing regulations. This includes but not limited to- collectors, BATs, STTs, Laboratory, Medical Review Officers, SAPs, C/TPAs.
    o Credentials. You must have one of the following credentials:
    ▪ You are a licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy)
    ▪ You are a licensed or certified social worker
    ▪ You are a licensed or certified psychologist
    ▪ You are a licensed or certified employee assistance professional
    ▪ You are a state-licensed or certified marriage and family therapist; or
    ▪ You are a drug and alcohol counselor certified by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Certification Commission (NAADAC); or by the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (ICRC); or by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and Affiliates/Master Addictions Counselor (NBCC).
    Must also have basic knowledge of 49 CFR Part 40, have qualification training, and continuing education. During each three-year period from the date on which you satisfactorily complete the examination under paragraph (c)(2) and must complete continuing education consisting of at least 12 professional development hours (e.g., CEUs) relevant to performing SAP functions.
  • Specimen is the fluid or material derived from the body which must be concurrently collected and may be subdivided if a split sample is required.
  • Split Sample The aliquot tube sealed with security seal marked “B”. When the MRO has notified a donor of a verified positive drug test result and/or refusal to test because of adulteration or substitution, the donor has 72 hours from the time of notification to request a test of the second specimen. The request may be verbal or written. The donor making this request to the MRO within 72 hours, triggers the requirements of this section for a test of the split specimen. There is no split specimen testing for an invalid result.
  • Stand Down is 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. Per DOT Rule 49 CFR Part 40 Section 40.21, the employer is prohibited from standing-down employees except where consistent with a waiver granted by DOT under this section.
  • STT (Screening Test Technician) may conduct only alcohol screening tests. Only a trained, certified BAT can conduct alcohol screening and confirmation tests.
  • Substituted A specimen with creatinine and specific gravity values that are so diminished that they are not consistent with human urine.
  • Urine Drug Collector (See “Collector”)
  • USCG (United States Coast Guard) follows HHS mandatory guidelines that are similar to but have some differences from the DOT drug and alcohol rules.
  • Verified Test 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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