As good as we are at responding to our clients’ requests, there are some things you cannot rush.
The majority of negative test results are delivered within 24-48 hours of collection.
Here is how positive drug test results work.
If a drug tests positive on the initial screening test, then the lab performs a more thorough test (usually GC/MS), usually the following day. If it fails that test the result goes to the MRO for review.
MRO calls donor to ask for explanation.
If the donor is contacted immediately and the MRO has all s/he needs, the result is released. Total time can be as little as 3 or 4 business days.
For DOT tests, our MRO tries to reach the donor 3 times within 24 hours. If no contact, they let us know and we’ll ask you to have him/her contact the MRO. At that point, if they don’t hear from him, they release results in 72 hours. Technically they are supposed to give him 10 days though, so some circumstances may extend the process.
For non-DOT tests, the MRO tries to reach the donor once and give him/her 24 hours to respond. If no response, they release the result as a “non-contact positive.”
If there is a conversation between MRO and donor, and donor has no satisfactory explanation, result is released as positive.
If there is an explanation (e.g. a prescription), then the MRO releases it accordingly.
For DOT tests, the lab and MRO are not allowed to tell us anything until it’s complete.
These things can take anywhere from 2 days to more than a week, depending on whether the MRO can reach the donor right away. If a prescription is involved, the donor is given time to provide it.
New for 2018: If the donor provides a valid prescription, the MRO is required to release a negative result. If there is a possible safety concern, the MRO will ask that the donor be switched to a safer medication. If that is not done, or not possible, the MRO may revise the negative result to be “negative with a safety concern.”
We all wish the process were faster, but the system is designed to protect the donor’s privacy in the case of a prescription, and to protect the rest of us from liability in those cases as well.
Lastly, don’t assume a slow result will come back positive. Sometimes they come back negative. Wait till you know for sure.