Miami-Dade County, Florida, established the first drug court in in 1989 in response to the explosion of crack cocaine use. Since that time, the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) estimates that more than 3,000 drug and problem-solving courts have been created. Increasingly, treatment courts specialize on specific populations of addicted offenders. It is not uncommon to have multiple courts such as veteran’s, family, DUI, and drug all within the same courthouse. Specialization allows the courts to modify their respective treatment and drug testing programs to better monitor and treat the participants’ underlying addictions.

Buffalo, New York, formed the nation’s first opioids crisis intervention court on May 1, 2017, in response to the current opioid epidemic. According to ABC News, “Buffalo-area health officials blamed 300 deaths on opioid overdoses in 2016, up from 127 two years earlier. That includes a young couple who did not make it to their second drug court appearance last spring.” A 3-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department funds the program. The opioid court’s goal is to treat 200 people a year while providing a model for other jurisdictions.

Because opioid addictions can quickly turn deadly, drug courts need to move more quickly and treat participants with greater oversight than traditional drug courts. The Buffalo court gets users into treatment within hours of their arrest instead of days. Additionally, court participants are required to:

  • Detox from opioids
  • Enroll in either inpatient or outpatient treatment
  • Check in with a judge every day for a month instead of once a week
  • Observe an 8 p.m. curfew

Organizers are optimistic about the court’s potential. As of July 1, 2017, none of the 80 program participants have overdosed.

Download our brochure.

For additional information on drug testing for drug and problem-solving courts, visit our website or contact us online.

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What to Expect at a Drug Test Collection

by Pablo Bolanos on July 21, 2017

Your shirt is pressed, your haircut is fresh, and you’ve rehearsed all possible scenarios for this interview as your hopeful journey for a new employment opportunity begins. Thankfully, the state of today’s economy may work in your favor, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 90% of states are currently experiencing stable to improving unemployment rates.

Once the interview process wraps up, a job candidate may receive a request from their employer to complete a drug test. Companies throughout the world implement drug testing programs because statistics show substance abuse can compromise the integrity and productivity of the workplace. “A drug-free workplace program is a safety program for employees as well as a company’s pledge to protect its customers and assets,” said Lisa Ruehle, Compliance Specialist at Quest Diagnostics.

The majority of drug tests take place at facilities known as collection sites. To ensure that donors receive a consistent, high-quality experience, collectors are trained to follow standardized processes at every location as a way to help control the integrity of the specimens and the drug test results. These rigorous protocols can sometimes take donors by surprise.

For that reason, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published 10 helpful steps for collection site security and integrity. Once an employer sends their donor to a collection site to have a drug test collection performed, both parties involved—the collection site and the donor—should have reasonable expectations of what will take place in order to complete a successful drug test collection.

Although the following steps walk a collector through he specimen collection process, employees (also referred to as donors) should take notice of each detailed instruction:

  1. Pay careful attention to employees throughout the collection process.
  2. Ensure that there is no unauthorized access into the collection areas and that undetected access (e.g., through a door not in view) is not possible.
  3. Make sure that employees show proper picture ID.
  4. Make sure employees empty pockets; remove outer garments (e.g., coveralls, jacket, coat, and hat); leave briefcases, purses, and bags behind; and wash their hands.
  5. Maintain personal control of the specimen and Custody and Control form (CCF) at all times during the collection.
  6. Secure any water sources or otherwise make them unavailable to employees (e.g., turn off water inlet, tape handles to prevent opening faucets, secure tank lids).
  7. Ensure that the water in the toilet and tank (if applicable) has bluing (coloring) agent in it. Tape or otherwise secure shut any movable toilet tank top, or put bluing in the tank.
  8. Ensure that no soap, disinfectants, cleaning agents, or other possible adulterants are present.
  9. Inspect the site to ensure that no foreign or unauthorized substances are present.
  10. Secure areas and items (e.g., ledges, trash receptacles, paper towel holders, under-sink areas, ceiling tiles) that appear suitable for concealing contaminants.

These 10 steps are applicable to all urine drug test collections handled by a collection site and are readily available at for reference by both employees(donors) and collectors. However, it is important to note that oral fluid specimens can be collected at an employee’s place of employment. In that scenario, the collection procedures may vary slightly from the DOT’s steps. For detailed instructions to collect an Oral-Eze® oral fluid sample, visit our website.

You drive home, empty your pockets, and reflect on this career opportunity. Will you get an offer for the position? Will your future change or will your job search continue? Did you earn a chance for a new start? What is certain is that employers see the benefits of drug testing and the importance of a drug-free workforce.

Download the DOT’s Top 10 Steps to Collection Site Security and Integrity as a reference for expectations during the drug test collection process.

For more information about drug test collections, visit our website or contact us online.

I’m There: Cecilia Melgar

July 20, 2017We're There

Being part of our technical team means delivering on our promise of accurate drug testing coupled with exceptional service. As a Certifying Scientist in our West Hills, California laboratory, Cecilia is eager to learn from cross-training and new experiences. In this month’s feature of our “I’m There” series, Cecilia describes what we’re there when you need […]

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Ask the Experts: Drug Testing Cutoffs

July 18, 2017Drug Testing

Question: Can you explain cutoff levels for laboratory-based drug testing? In workplace drug testing, the industry standard process involves two-tiered testing – an initial screen on one portion of the specimen, followed by a confirmatory test on a second portion of the original specimen. The initial test is designed to separate negative specimens from further […]

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SHRM in the Big Easy

July 13, 2017Drug Testing

New Orleans has a rich history that spans back to the 1700s. The city’s pulse beats through marvelous jazz musicians, street performers, and some of the world’s most diverse and delicious food. No other city in the United States quite compares. This eclectic stage lent itself to a lively conference held by the Society for […]

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Zika Spotlight: Past, Present, and Future

July 11, 2017Drug Testing

“At first I thought Emanuelle was just a tiny baby but I noticed she wasn’t developing like my nephew of the same age. At four months she couldn’t sit down properly and was very floppy and didn’t move around at lot.” Emanuelle’s mother, Vanessa, found out the heart-breaking news that her baby had a mild […]

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America’s Favorite Illicit Drug: Marijuana

July 7, 2017Illicit drugs

Marijuana is the product of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, containing the psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Despite its illegal status, the drug reigns as America’s favorite and most commonly detected illicit drug. Since the 1920s, marijuana has been the subject of myths and propaganda while also being glamorized by pop culture, movies, and television. Attitudes relaxed in […]

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Quest Joins the Drug Court Solution

July 5, 2017Drug Courts

Drug courts and other problem-solving courts impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year. These courts offer an alternative to prison for drug abusers arrested for crimes typically associated with supporting their habits. Courts are strict with highly-regimented programs, which can last from 18 to 24 months. According to the National Drug […]

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Fighting Opioid Prescription Addiction

June 29, 2017News

Opioid addiction can begin with the best of intentions, like managing pain. The middle-aged male visits the ER for a back sprain. A typical teenager has her wisdom teeth removed by the oral surgeon. To minimize discomfort, the healthcare professional may prescribe 20 or more hydrocodone pills. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and […]

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An Exploration of Addiction: Young Adults

June 27, 2017Drug Testing

In the previous installment of our Exploration of Addiction series, we examined the adolescent years and how access, curiosity, and a number of other factors can influence adolescent drug and alcohol use. We now turn our attention to a demographic that is sometimes synonymous with excess, experimentation, and substance-abuse: young adulthood. According to the National […]

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