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Article Summary

Barbiturates Drug Testing - How Are They Identified?

Barbiturates drug testing is not one of the main things that employers will initially check for when looking at potential new employees, but this applies only to the most commonly used five panel test that only looks for the most commonly abused drugs at this moment in time. Instead, testing for barbiturates is often limited to the 12 panel test and information on what is done and the limits that will result in a positive test are now noted below.

Barbiturates are drugs that work on the central nervous system and they are sedatives, anticonvulsants and hypnotics and their use for medicinal reasons is pretty widespread. The effect that they then have on a person is to make them appear as if they are intoxicated, but there is the possibility of them being abused and becoming dependant on them and indeed somebody using them for only two months may find it difficult to stop taking the drug without help.

Urine Test

The main way in which the drug is tested is via urine and this is then screened for barbiturates and the key is how much of the drug is in the urine in order to generate a positive result. The industry standard is 300 nanograms per milliliter and indeed this is the level that most employers or other official authorities including law enforcement would then use to indicate that somebody has the drug in their body.

Clearly the strongest reading is always going to be the one taken closest to the time that the drugs were consumed and the reason for this is that each drug does have a half-life whereby the strength of it in our body decreases by half over a certain period of time. The problem with drugs such as barbiturates is that there are both short-term versions as well as long-term versions, but their half-life will generally be anywhere between 24 and 36 hours, but long-term versions can have a half-life of up to 140 hours depending on the version that you have taken.

When it comes to identifying it in urine, then the best readings will always be within the first 72 hours after which the level of the drug that is still in the body will be that small that the result will generally be referred to as being a false negative. What this means is that there is an indication that the drug has been taken, but there is not enough to prove that this is the case, but it does then lead to the possibility of random testing being done in order to see if the person is taking it on a regular basis.

Blood Test

It should also be noted that urine is not the only way in which laboratories can test for barbiturates as it is also possible to look for it using a blood sample as well. Testing in this way is the most common method when the drug is being taken as a course of treatment, but there is the option of it being used in order to determine if the drug is being abused at any point.

Hair Test

Finally, if there is a need to test for this particular drug over a longer period, then hair samples may be taken and checked for barbiturates as this allows laboratories to determine if the person has taken it at any point over the last 90 days. Hair samples are usually taken ten to 14 days after the drug was last used in order to allow time for the liver to process it and for the drug to then show in the molecules that form our hair. This test is very accurate and it does only require a small amount of the drug to have been used in order for it to be picked up using this method.

Barbiturates drug testing is something that is on the rise as testing becomes far more sophisticated and there is a greater understanding of the range of drugs that are potentially being abused by people on a regular basis. It may not appear in the main tests, but the drug can easily be identified through your urine even when several days have passed since you last took the drug due to only a small amount being required to indicate that the person has indeed used this particular drug even when the figure has dropped below that 300 nanograms limit.

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