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Toxicology Tests

How It Is Done

Blood test

The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:

  • Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
  • Clean the needle site with alcohol.
  • Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
  • Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
  • Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
  • Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
  • Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.

Clean-catch midstream urine collection

When testing for drug abuse, another person will watch you to make sure that the sample you are providing is your urine and that you have not added anything to the sample. The temperature of the urine may also be tested to make sure that it is a fresh sample.

This collection method prevents contamination of the sample. Wash your hands to make sure they are clean before collecting the urine.

  • If the collection container has a lid, remove it carefully and set it down with the inner surface up. Do not touch the inside of the container with your fingers.
  • Clean the area around your genitals.
    • A man should retract the foreskin, if present, and clean the head of his penis thoroughly with medicated towelettes or swabs.
    • A woman should spread open the folds of skin around her vagina with one hand, then use her other hand to clean the area around her vagina and urethra camera.gif thoroughly with medicated towelettes or swabs. She should wipe the area from front to back to avoid contaminating the urethra with bacteria from the anus.
  • Begin urinating into the toilet or urinal. A woman should continue holding apart the folds of skin around the vagina while urinating.
  • After the urine has flowed for several seconds, place the collection container into the stream and collect about 3 fl oz (90 mL) of this "midstream" urine without stopping the flow.
  • Do not touch the rim of the container to your genital area, and avoid getting toilet paper, pubic hair, stool (feces), menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the urine sample.
  • Finish urinating into the toilet or urinal.
  • Carefully replace the lid on the container and return it to the lab. If you are collecting the urine at home and cannot get it to the lab within an hour, refrigerate the sample.

Saliva test

The person who collects a sample of your saliva will do it in one of the following ways:

  • Swabbing the inside of your cheek
  • Asking you to spit into a tube

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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