BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuToxicology screenBarbiturates - screen; Benzodiazepines - screen; Amphetamines - screen; Analgesics - screen; Antidepressants - screen; Narcotics - screen; Phenothiazines - screen; Drug abuse screen; Blood alcohol testA toxicology screen refers to various tests that determine the type and approximate amount of legal and illegal drugs a person has taken. How the Test is Performed Toxicology screening is most often done using a blood or urine sample. However, it may be done soon after the person swallowed the medicine, using stomach contents taken through gastric lavage (stomach pumping) or after vomiting.Gastric lavageGastric suction is a procedure to empty the contents of your stomach.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article How to Prepare for the Test No special preparation is needed. If you are able, tell your health care provider what drugs (including over-the-counter medicines) you have taken, including when you took them and how much you consumed.This test is sometimes part of an investigation for drug use or abuse. Special consents, handling and labeling of specimens, or other procedures may be required. How the Test will Feel Blood test:When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.Urine test: A urine test involves normal urination. There is no discomfort. Why the Test is Performed This test is often done in emergency medical situations. It can be used to evaluate possible accidental or intentional overdose or poisoning. It may help determine the cause of acute drug toxicity, monitor drug dependency, and determine the presence of substances in the body for medical or legal purposes.AcuteAcute means sudden or severe. Acute symptoms appear, change, or worsen rapidly. It is the opposite of chronic.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Additional reasons the test may be performed include:Alcoholism AlcoholismAlcohol use disorder is when your drinking causes serious problems in your life, yet you keep drinking. You may also need more and more alcohol to f...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Alcohol withdrawal state Alcohol withdrawal stateAlcohol withdrawal refers to symptoms that may occur when a person who has been drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis suddenly stops drinking ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Altered mental state Analgesic nephropathy (kidney poisoning) Analgesic nephropathyAnalgesic nephropathy involves damage to one or both kidneys caused by overexposure to mixtures of medicines, especially over-the-counter pain medici...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Complicated alcohol abstinence (delirium tremens) Complicated alcohol abstinence (deliriu...Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal. It involves sudden and severe mental or nervous system changes.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Delirium DeliriumDelirium is sudden severe confusion due to rapid changes in brain function that occur with physical or mental illness.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Dementia DementiaDementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Drug abuse monitoring Fetal alcohol syndrome Intentional overdose Seizures Stroke caused by cocaine use Suspected sexual assault Unconsciousness If the test is used as a drug screen, it must be done within a certain amount of time after the drug was taken, or while forms of the drug can still be detected in the body. Examples are below:Alcohol: 3 to 10 hours Amphetamines: 24 to 48 hours Barbiturates: up to 6 weeks Benzodiazepines: up to 6 weeks with high level use Cocaine: 2 to 4 days; up to 10 to 22 days with heavy use Codeine: 1 to 2 days Heroin: 1 to 2 days Hydromorphone: 1 to 2 days Methadone: 2 to 3 days Morphine: 1 to 2 days Phencyclidine (PCP): 1 to 8 days Propoxyphene: 6 to 48 hours Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): 6 to 11 weeks with heavy use Normal Results Normal value ranges for over-the-counter or prescription medicines may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.A negative value most often means that alcohol, prescription medicines that have not been prescribed, and illegal drugs have not been detected.A blood toxicology screen can determine the presence and level (amount) of a drug in your body.Urine sample results are often reported as positive (substance is found) or negative (no substance is found). What Abnormal Results Mean Elevated levels of alcohol or prescription drugs can be a sign of intentional or accidental intoxication or overdose.The presence of illegal drugs or drugs not prescribed for the person indicates illicit drug use.Illicit drug useSubstance use is the continued use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or the misuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs with negative consequences. Th...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Some legal prescription and over-the-counter medicines may interact with the testing chemicals and false results in urine tests. Your provider will be aware of this possibility. Risks Risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:Excessive bleeding Fainting or feeling lightheaded Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin) Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken) Considerations Substances that may be detected on a toxicology screen include:Alcohol (ethanol) -- "drinking" alcohol Amphetamines Antidepressants Barbiturates and hypnotics HypnoticsSome people may need medicines to help with sleep for a short period of time. But in the long run, making changes in your lifestyle and sleep habits...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Benzodiazepines Cocaine Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) Marijuana Narcotics Non-narcotic pain medicines, including acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory drugs Phencyclidine (PCP) Phenothiazines (antipsychotic or tranquilizing medicines) Prescription medicines, any type Open ReferencesReferencesLangman LJ, Bechtel LK, Meier BM, Holstege C. Clinical toxicology. In: Rifai N, ed. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2018:chap 41.Minns AB, Clark RF. Substance abuse. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 140.Mofenson HC, Caraccio TR, McGuigan M, Greensher J. Medical toxicology. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2021. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:1337-1391.Pincus MR, Bluth MH, Abraham NZ. Toxicology and therapeutic drug monitoring. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 23.AllVideoImagesTogBlood test - illustration Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. Preparation may vary depending on the specific test.Blood testillustrationBlood test - illustration Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. Preparation may vary depending on the specific test.Blood testillustration Tests for Toxicology screen Toxicology screenRelated Information Acute(Special Topic)Drug use first aid(Injury)Substance use(Special Topic)Alcohol withdrawal(Condition)Alcohol use disorder(Condition)Analgesic nephropathy(Condition)Delirium tremens(Condition)Delirium(Condition)Dementia(Condition)Alcohol use disorders(In-Depth)Alzheimer disease(In-Depth) Review Date: 2/12/2021 Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 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