Drug Screening

Drug Screening Specialist
Many employers as well as court systems require drug screening to ensure your system is free of illegal or dangerous substances. Dr. Alfredo Quinonez is an internist with office conveniently located at Gaslamp Medical Center in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp District. He is a certified medical review officer (MRO) who is qualified to offer US Department of Transportation (DOT) drug screening and breath alcohol testing as well as non-DOT screening. Call the office today for information regarding their drug screening program. Non-urgent appointments can also be scheduled online.

Drug Screening Q & A

by Alfredo Quinonez, MD

When is drug screening required?

A multitude of organizations require pre-employment and ongoing drug screening to ensure a drug-free work environment. Courts sometimes issue mandatory random drug testing for people on probation for certain crimes, such as driving under the influence.

Chauffeurs, taxi drivers, bus drivers and others who operate with a commercial driver’s license are subject to mandatory random drug screening. Pilots, train operators, and other public transportation employees are also required to undergo screening. Under California law, any organization with a state contract must require its employees to obtain random drug screening.

Why is workplace drug screening beneficial?

There are many well-researched and well-documented benefits associated with an employee drug testing and pre-employment drug screening program, which may include:

  • Reducing costs associated with employee errors and risks to company assets
  • Decreased worker's compensation costs
  • Lower accident rates and cost for auto and liability insurance
  • Decreased employee turnover, absenteeism, and tardiness
  • Improved workplace environment and employee productivity

What is the difference between a DOT and non-DOT drug screen?

Alcohol testing is done separately for DOT screening which otherwise tests for five drugs:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines/methamphetamines
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

For the test, urine is collected and secured. The process follows chain-of-custody protocols designed to ensure the specimen comes from the individual being tested and that it’s not tampered with before undergoing analysis. Every step in the testing process is documented on a chain-of-custody form.

For DOT testing, the initial urine specimen is split into two samples and both are tested to confirm accuracy. Once testing is complete, the lab provides the designated medical review officer (MRO) with a detailed report of the findings. As a certified MRO, Dr. Quinonez then studies the results and files his own report with the appropriate agency or employer.

While the collection process is much the same for non-DOT screening, your employer may request screening for additional drugs, including:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Methadone
  • Propoxyphene
  • Quaaludes (methaqualone)

How does DOT breath alcohol testing (BAT) work?

Dr. Quinonez first performs a screening breath test. If the result shows an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02%, the test is considered negative and your employer is provided with a copy of the results.

If the initial test is 0.02% or greater, a second test is done 15 minutes later. If this test confirms the high reading, your employer is notified of the results and actions are taken as outlined by DOT regulations.

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