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Mobile drug testing now available

By Staff | Jan 16, 2015


After doing drug testing for the lab at the Heart of America Medical Center, Tracy Skaar, of Rugby, struck out on her own.

Now she has her own testing platform: Tracy’s Mobile Testing, or TMT, which officially began operating last week.

“It’s a very useful tool to have, somebody being a mobile tester,” Skaar said.

Skaar travels to clients in the Rugby area and surrounding areas up to 70 miles, giving urine, hair, 5-panel and e-screen drug tests, both randomly or pre-employment. Using a breath analyzer, which Skaar said is just like the breathalyzers police departments use but more hi-tech, Skaar also gives confirmation alcohol screenings for law enforcement. Skaar is a certified breath analyzer technician, and is also certified in DOT (Department of Transportation) and NON-DOT (laborers, factory workers, other job sectors) drug screenings.

For NON-DOT screenings, Skaar said e-screen is preferred, as the test gives results within 15 minutes. When an employee taking part in the screening tests “non-negative” – parlance for positive – the results are automatically sent to his or her employer via email. Skaar does not know what the employee tested non-negative for.

Skaar said that a lot of employers who seek drug tests for workers aim for hair testing, especially railroads and pipeline companies because hair can be tested at an up-to-90 day window. For a test, a clump of hair is cut to the scalp.

Skaar explained the procedure for a urine test, starting with the bathrooms being secured. The sinks are taped off and the water in the toilets is colored with a bluing agent to prevent diluting the sample. Employees are then asked to go to the bathroom, sample cup in hand. Before going in they must empty their pockets, remove coats or outer garments, wash their hands and leave their bags, briefcases or purses. Once testing starts, employees cannot leave work. The samples are also temperature regulated, i.e., they are supposed to be at body temperature, so as to prevent sneaking urine.

“Normally testing takes 10 to 20 minutes,” Skaar said. “We do come across some who are uncooperative, they won’t sign the forms or they will be nasty.”

Other testing methods include 5-panel – which tests for cocaine, marijuana, PCP, methamphetamine and opiates – and 10-panel testing – which in addition to the drugs in 5-panel also tests for quaaludes, methadone, barbituates, benzodiazepines and propoxyphene.

TMT can be reached at 681-9200.

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