How to read a drug test cup

Workplace drug testing has become increasingly common. It is usually conducted using a drug test cup which has test strips built into the side of the device. This means that the operator only has to push a key into the side of the kit to activate it. The device gives results in just a few minutes, with an accuracy of over 99% in comparison with a laboratory test. This article addresses how to read a drug test cup.

Industry standard has changed over the years, from a 5 drug test cup to a 7 drug test cup. Current industry standard is now a 10 drug test cup, which also detects adulteration and dilution. This is to act as a deterrent, and ensures that the donor does not attempt to interfere with the sample collection process.

How to carry out a 10 drug panel test.

A urine sample is usually collected under full chain of custody procedures. This ensures complete privacy for the donor, but also makes sure that they cannot substitute a different sample or modify the sample that they produce. The donor is given some detailed information, covering their privacy and data protection and is required to provide their written consent on a consent form.

When the urine sample has been provided by the donor and sealed inside their 10 drug testing cup, the operator would check the temperature sticker on the side of the drug test kit. It can read anywhere from 33 degrees Celsius up to 38 degrees C. As long as the temperature sticker glows green (and this doesn’t just disappear within about 3 seconds), this is considered to be a legitimate body temperature sample.

10 Drug Test Cup Instructions:

  • Place the cup on a flat and level surface.
  • Remove the “key” from the lid of the cup and insert the key into the socket on the side of the cup.
  • Peel off the sticker, which is covering the results window.
  • Time 5 minutes.
  • Negative results can be read as soon as 1 minute, but for positive results you must wait the full 5 minute read time of the test.
How to read a drug test cup

How to read drug test cup results.

When reading the results on one of our 10 drug integrated test cups you are essentially looking for any test or control lines which may be missing. A fully negative and unadulterated sample will display a total of 15 purple / magenta coloured bands. This will be made up of 4 lines on the left-most test strip – which tests for 3 different drugs, 4 lines on the next strip, 3 lines on the next strip – which tests for two drugs, along with 2 lines on every other strip.

10 Drug Test Cup Results

You will see a control line at the top of each test strip within the device (marked by a small “C”) and a test line below – which is present for each of the drugs tested for (marked with a small “T”, or 1, 2, or 3). If there is any kind of adulterant present from a patient’s attempts at contamination of the sample – such as adding bleach – the control lines will not form. If any of the ten classes of drug we are looking for are positive, the test line for that corresponding drug will be absent.

This is because the drug has bound itself to the chemistry within the test and prevented the purple / magenta line from forming where it should have. When this happens, it is obvious. No matter what angle you hold the test, or what light source you use, the line cannot be seen – it is simply missing.

In rare cases, where someone has previously used the drug you are testing for, they may show a faint line on their drug test. You must still interpret this as negative. i.e. A line is a line. The reason for this is that this person MUST have abstained from the drug for a number of days before getting to such a low level of drug in their body to test negative. It is just the last traces of drug leaving their system, so at this point they are technically negative. However, this is not the only reason that a faint line can occur.

Different drug types are also being tested for at different cut-off levels, so you cannot compare the intensity of different test lines with each other. Just remember, a line is a line, no matter the intensity – and a line in the test area of each strip indicates a negative result.

Negative results can be read as soon as you see the test lines appearing, but please allow 5 minutes before determining a positive result.

The test also includes a check for pH, specific gravity and oxidants. Simply use the colour chart if the test results do not appear, or if the sample is particularly light in colour. In the event of a positive, the laboratory also test for these parameters.

If you still need assistance with how to read a drug test cup, or would like to place an order for drug testing kits, please call us on 01283 375093 or contact us via email. We would be happy to help. Alternatively, visit our online shop to order online.


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