Drugs of Abuse (DOA) Screening Tests

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course The Toxicology Laboratory's Role in Pain Management: Testing for Opiates. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Drugs of Abuse (DOA) Screening Tests

A DOA screen provides simple positive or negative results; it is qualitative, not quantitative testing. DOA testing usually starts with a screen and moves toward confirmation of specific drugs, if the screen is positive.
Drug screening:
  • Is fast and usually performed using immunoassays
  • Is qualitative, not quantitative
  • Is generally performed on urine
  • Can be done at the point-of-care (POC)
  • Often requires confirmatory testing for positive samples
A variety of devices are currently available from several manufacturers for rapid urine DOA screening. Several examples are shown in the image.
Most laboratories will screen for the following DOA:
  • Cocaine
  • THC (Marijuana)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Amphetamine and methamphetamine
  • Opiates
  • Oxycodone/oxymorphone
  • Methadone
Some laboratories may also screen for tricyclic antidepressants, PCP, and propoxyphene.