Drug and Alcohol Testing

Drug Testing is on the increase in the UK. There are many reasons for this, and it could reflect the current law and attitudes towards recreational drug use in the country.

We provide drug and alcohol testing services for a wide variety of purposes. These range from individuals aiming to prove abstinence for court purposes. Or an organisation looking to introduce drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. Furthermore, there are several sample types to choose from, all with different advantages. In conjunction with the sample collection options available, the amount of choice means we can tailor a drug test that match your exact needs.

How does Drug Testing work?

As mentioned, there are several sample types that can be used. Here we provide brief information about how each sample type works and some of the advantages they have over one another.


Urine Drug Testing

After taking a drug, it enters a person’s bloodstream. Next, the drug transfers from the liver to the bladder and what remains of the drug gets excreted out of the body through urine.

After collecting the urine sample, we perform an initial drug screen. There are 2 options for this, the instant ‘point of care’ screen, or as part of a laboratory screen and confirmation test. Next, the screen will indicate the presence of metabolites of the drugs we screen for. If the results are all negative, we will issue either a results form or laboratory report indicating a PASS.

What happens if the screen results are non-negative? For the point of care screen, you have the option of sending the same sample to the laboratory for a further screen and confirmation test. Also, it is worth noting that we will not automatically do this unless authorised to do so. In relation to non-negative laboratory samples, these will automatically go forward to confirmation testing.

Finally, the laboratory confirmation test will identify and quantify the drug group found in the urine. We will issue a full laboratory report confirming the result. You can use the report for legal purposes and disciplinary action in the workplace. Also, it is important to note that the results from a point of care drug screen cannot be used in this way. In other words, under no circumstances should an instant screen result be used for legal or disciplinary purposes.


What can you use urine drug testing for?

The effective drug detection window for urine is up to 5 days. However, this can vary from individual to individual and drug to drug, see here for guidance.

Urine drug testing is popular in the workplace for random, follow-up, periodic and for-cause testing. Also, many new recruits need a urine drug test before they commence employment. See here for more information about workplace drug testing.

Point of care testing is cost effective and provides an instant indication of drugs in an individual’s system. However, this is just a screen and can be prone to false positives and negatives due to the nature of the science. Therefore, it cannot be used for legal or disciplinary reasons. On the other hand, the urine laboratory screen and confirmation test can be used for such purposes as testing is undertaken by a UKAS ISO/IEC 17015 accredited laboratory. In addition, the urine lab drug test is used by private individuals who are looking to prove short term abstinence from drugs to a court.


Oral Fluid Drug Testing

Also known as saliva drug testing. In a similar way to drug detection in urine, once metabolised through the liver, metabolites from a given drug are excreted from the body. One of the secretion methods is through saliva, which is why we can perform oral fluid drug testing.

The oral fluid drug test follows the same process as urine drug testing. However, this test has several advantages over its urine counterpart. Some of these are:

  • Difficult to adulterate or substitute the sample.
  • Less invasive than urine testing and does not require secure toilet facilities.
  • It takes less time to collect oral fluid samples as there are no ‘shy bladder’ issues.
  • Also, with a shorter detection window, oral fluid testing is perceived as a ‘fairer’ drug test in the workplace.


What can you use oral fluid drug testing for?

The effective drug detection window for oral fluid is up to 2 days. However, this can vary from individual to individual and drug to drug, see here for guidance.

Oral fluid drug testing is becoming more popular in the workplace for the reasons listed above. Again, the laboratory version of this test is legally defensible as testing is undertaken by a UKAS ISO/IEC 17015 accredited laboratory. Whereas, due to the nature of the science, the point of care version must not be used for any legal or disciplinary purposes.


Hair Drug Testing

When a drug enters a person bloodstream, some of the drug transfers to the hair follicle, and into the hair strand. As a result, the drug becomes trapped in the hair strand.

As the hair strand grows, the drug will move further away from the scalp. Over time, it gets washed away, cut off or falls out.

The Hair Drug Test can detect drugs for a period of up to 12 months. But this does depend on the length of hair that the sample donor has available. 1 cm of head hair will show approximately one month of use.

If no head hair is available, we can test body hair from some areas. The period shown by 1 cm of body hair is approximately 2 to 3 times longer than 1 cm of head hair.

Also, we take into consideration the time it takes for a drug to move from the blood to the hair follicle. On average, it takes a drug 7 to 10 days to break down in the body and move into the hair strand.

Once the drug has moved from the blood into the hair strand, we detect it using the Hair Drug Test. Also, we can segment hair samples to provide a month by month view of potential drug use. Therefore, this can show if someone has recently stopped taking drugs.


What can you use hair drug testing for?

Due to its long detection window, hair drug testing is the choice for courts in the UK. Also, we use this test in the workplace for senior, executive and sensitive roles.

But, by far the most popular use of this test is for family court proceedings. We work with solicitors, social services and individuals when undertaking these tests. Again, testing is undertaken by a UKAS ISO/IEC 17015 accredited laboratory, and is another reason why it is court admissible.


Alcohol Testing

Usually, when alcohol testing is required, we perform this at the same appointment as the drug test. For example, we can perform saliva or breath alcohol testing in conjunction with urine and oral fluid drug testing. We perform breath alcohol testing using only Home Office approved breathalysers. This follows Network Rail breath alcohol testing standards. Also, if required, we can test for the presence of alcohol in urine samples.

Testing for alcohol in hair is more complex. As a result, please see the detailed guidance on hair alcohol testing.

Similarly, testing for alcohol in blood is complex. Again, please see the detailed guidance on blood alcohol testing.


Blood PEth Alcohol Testing now available at selected clinics and locations.

Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a very specific alcohol biomarker and provides the highest sensitivity for the detection of current regular alcohol consumption. PEth enables the discrimination of heavy versus moderate or occasional drinkers, and can monitor abstinence within the past month. Also, age, gender, health or previous alcohol issues do not impact on the results.

Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) only forms in the presence of Ethanol, meaning it is a direct marker for alcohol intake. It is eliminated from the body in about 30 days. As a result, the window of detection is often given as one month. Also, it is a finger prick test that does not require a venous blood sample.

Can 0800 988 7107 now to enquire about availability. In addition, please see the detailed guidance on PEth alcohol testing.


Why choose Crystal Health Group for your Drug Test?

Since 2005, we have been providing clinical services in the UK. During this time, the service has evolved to meet the precise needs of the test participants. As a result, we provide one of the most trusted testing services in the country. So much so that we are the only company to sell DNA tests with Boots and provide drug testing services to the Home Office.


A dedicated Case Manager throughout the process

We will help you choose the right test that will provide the answers you need. Your Case Manager is on hand to provide support and advice during and after. Also, our Case Managers all have a medical science background. As a result, we can assure you of the best possible advice and answer any technical questions you may have.


Choice of point of care or laboratory drug tests

Our accredited laboratory testing service is available for a range of purposes. This includes court purposes or disciplinary reasons in the workplace. Or, the point of care option provides instant screen results and can be more cost effective.


Local Clinics and on-site collection options throughout the UK

For your convenience, we have a vast network of local clinics throughout the UK. As a result, we can provide appointments for you within easy travelling distance. Or, we can arrange for a mobile sample collector to visit your location such as a workplace. Search here for your nearest collection service. Also, for your peace of mind, you can order a self-collection drug test kit from our online store.


Transparent Drug Test prices

All prices include the following as standard:

  • Appointment co-ordination
  • Case Management and administration
  • Sample collection
  • ISO 17025 Laboratory analysis
  • Secure results package by email
  • Optional alcohol testing with urine and oral fluid testing

Please visit our dedicated Drug testing website for an example of the costs.


The most accurate Drug tests available

For workplace drug testing, all cut-off levels are taken from EWDTS guidelines. Also, we follow guidance from the Society of Hair Testing when performing hair drug testing.


ISO 17025 Accredited Laboratories

All laboratory testing is undertaken by a UKAS ISO/IEC 17015 accredited laboratory. This ensures that all testing follows strict chain of custody and laboratory standards. In addition, we are accredited to perform drug and alcohol testing for Network Rail.


Fast Drug test results

The following timescales provide guidance on current lead times for standard drug testing*:

  • Urine and oral fluid point of care drug screen – instant.
  • Oral fluid point of care drug screen – instant.
  • Urine and oral fluid laboratory screen and confirmation drug testing. one to two working days screen, up to 3 working days confirmation.
  • Hair drug testing – up to three to five working days.
  • Hair/blood alcohol testing – up to three to five working days.

*From receipt of samples at laboratory. Also, excludes non-standard such as spiking incidents.


Easy to understand results package

Our comprehensive test results package is easy to understand. We explain your results in simple terms. Also, we include information about the science behind the tests.


Ongoing support

We commit to provide ethical testing services. As a result, post-testing services are available. These include a Medical Review service and expert witness reports. Ask about these services when booking your drugs test.