Cansford Labs Blog

Report on lethal use of legal highs

Posted on by James Nutt

Data published by the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (NPSAD) has highlighted the increase in drug related deaths due to the use of ‘legal highs’ commonly referred to as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

http://www.sgul.ac.uk/media/latest-news/deaths-report-reflects-growing-impact-of-lethal-2018legal-highs2019

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26089126

The presence of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) in toxicology tests performed for post mortem examinations indicated the prevalence of NPS has increased 800% over three years (2009 – 2012).

Cansford Laboratories presented the increasing incidence of one NPS, Mephedrone (Meow Meow) use at the Society of Hair Testing in Toronto during 2012 (press here for link). Previously, we reported an increase in the number of samples testing positive for Mephedrone (press here for link).

From Cansford laboratory’s data, we are noticing an increasing number of samples testing positive for Amphetamines, with Mephedrone still being positive in around 10% of samples which are analysed for the drug.

The report on NPS also highlights the increasing prevalence of Ketamine derivatives. In samples which have been analysed for the presence of Ketamine, we have experienced a positivity rate of around 43%. The data discussed in this article all relate to our family law cases, as such the relatively high proportion of samples which are positive for Ketamine could be due to known usage of the drug, as a consequence the presence of Ketamine in a hair sample could be expected.

Poly-drug use

Whilst the analysis of samples for single specific drug groups can be seen as a cost saving measure, the danger is that poly-drug use can be missed. The report comments on the recent rise in the use of Opiates together with other substances in drug-related deaths. The analysis of the Opiates group in isolation could mask poly-drug use in an individual.

The production and supply of legal highs is not an issue which is going to disappear overnight, however, with reports such as the NPSAD report in the public domain, the dangers of NPS together with more “traditional” drugs of abuse can be highlighted.

If you require any further information on the services which Cansford Laboratories are able to offer, including the analysis of Mephedrone and Ketamine in hair or oral fluid, do not hesitate to contact us on 02920 682 031 or send us an email to info@cansfordlabs.co.uk

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Topics: Scientific Presentations, In the press..., Hair drug testing, News

Hair Drug Testing Results in 3 days

Posted on by John Wicks

Drug abuse and drug testing

Drug abuse is often a hidden and denied problem that is evidenced by problem behaviours rather than overt drug taking.

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Topics: Workplace Drug Testing, Resources, Hair drug testing

How to choose the best hair sample collector

Posted on by Chris Bell

The degree of training varies tremendously from company to company yet it is this part of the drug & alcohol testing process that is most commonly the weakest link in the ‘chain of custody’ process and therefore the most liable to challenges if not performed correctly!

Not all sample collectors are the same!

When you are having someone come into your organisation to collect a hair sample it is very important that they know what they are doing and disrupt your normal activities as little as possible.

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Topics: Hair Collection, Workplace Drug Testing, Hair drug testing, Drug and DNA testing, Oral fluid testing

Workplace drug testing policy

Posted on by Lolita Tsanaclis

In the Workplace, drug testing has many benefits; it can have a deterrent effect on existing employees and can be used to screen new employees.

Random drug tests for existing employees

The main use of drug testing in the workplace is to be confident that people are fit to perform specific tasks and ensure that no drugs are present in the person’s system that may impair performance or put others at risk. These tests are usually performed randomly. Whilst these tests do not accurately reflect or predict fitness to work, they do detect recent drug use when the test is positive.

Urine test is the most commonly used sample for illicit drugs. It detects the use of drugs within the last few days and as such is evidence of recent use; but a positive test does not necessarily means that the individual’s performance was impaired at the time of the test. And abstention from use for 3 days will often produce a negative test result.

The use of saliva (oral fluid) is ideal in such cases, when drugs are present in oral fluid samples, they actually reflect the use of drugs in the last 24 hours and so are very relevant in assessing impairment.

Pre-employment drug tests for job applicants

For some industries it is important to have the assurance that a job applicant is not a regular user of drugs.

In these cases testing a 3-centimetre head hair sample covering a period of three months is ideal because the candidate will have to abstain from drugs for 3 months for the test to be negative.

Most industries, however, still require a negative urine drug screen test as a condition for employment. This can only provide a 3 to 5 day window of detection at maximum and if the candidate is pre-warned of the test, the candidate can abstain before the test, making the test useless.

Sometimes organisations choose urine tests because it is perceived that a hair test is expensive. However, this perception is inaccurate, for a sample of hair covering a period of approximately three months is equivalent to 20 urine tests in the length of coverage it provides.

Moreover, if the result of the test is important to the employer, there are clear advantages to using a test that will give clear results of drug use over an extended period rather than a test that will not detect drug use if the candidate abstains for a few days before the test.

The use of drug testing in the Workplace requires a clear, written policy that is discussed and agreed with all employees before testing starts. One of the main questions you will face is “what will you do when people test positive?” This process not only needs to be written up in your company policies and procedures, but also discussed in terms of succession planning if a person was to leave their role as a result.

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Topics: Workplace Drug Testing, Hair drug testing, Oral fluid testing

With child custody cases, fast testing times makes all the difference

Posted on by Lolita Tsanaclis

Time is a critical element to getting child custody cases resolved effectively without excessive costs.

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Topics: Editorials, Hair drug testing, Did you know?

Which sample to use in drug testing?

Posted on by Lolita Tsanaclis

Nowadays the use of the three biological samples, urine, saliva and hair, is widely accepted for the detection and monitoring of drug use. They are complementary and each sample type has different advantages depending on the purpose of the test. There is not a best sample for drug analysis, just the ideal sample for a particular purpose.

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Topics: Workplace Drug Testing, Hair drug testing, Oral fluid testing

Head hair versus Body Hair: How accurate is body hair compared to head hair analysis?

Posted on by James Nutt

A common question from clients when instructing us to perform hair analysis for evidence of drug use or chronic excessive alcohol use is; how accurate is body hair compared to head hair analysis?

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Topics: Hair drug testing

Understanding Drug testing

Posted on by Lolita Tsanaclis

Drug testing using hair

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Topics: Hair drug testing, Did you know?

Overview of how drug testing works

Posted on by James Nutt

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Topics: Scientific Presentations, Workplace Drug Testing, Resources, Hair drug testing, Did you know?

Hair testing in family cases where drugs are a risk factor

Posted on by Lolita Tsanaclis

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Topics: Hair drug testing