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Benzo Drug Test: What It Is And The Types Of Tests

15 March, 2024

A fallen pill bottle and blue tablets on a notebook

Benzodiazepines are common drug prescriptions for individuals with panic disorders, insomnia, and epilepsy. However, many also abuse this drug, leading to the need to monitor their use. A Benzo drug test is a method for tracing the presence of drugs in the system of an individual. The types include urine, oral fluid, hair, and blood testing. It is an essential procedure that helps determine illicit drug use for the health and safety of the individual.

Learning about benzodiazepine tests can be helpful for individuals facing a drug test for healthcare, employment, or legal reasons. It is also essential to inform the relevant personnel of medications or health conditions that pose interferences in drug testing. A positive test result can have severe implications. Therefore, avoiding false positives by ensuring accuracy is vital. This article will present information about benzodiazepine tests, including the types and how they work.

What is a Benzo Drug Test?

Benzodiazepines are depressant drugs. They are prescription medications that healthcare providers use to help those who experience insomnia, epilepsy, panic attacks, alcohol withdrawal, and anxiety disorders. They are generally classified into three types: short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting benzodiazepines. Unfortunately, some misuse this class of drugs to facilitate sexual assault due to its effect of causing confusion and memory loss.

A Benzo drug test is a type of drug screening that specifically identifies the presence of benzodiazepine in the system of individuals. It uses biological specimens, such as urine and blood samples, to confirm illicit drug use. Various organisations conduct this type of test, along with others, to ensure the safety of individuals and the community.

The process for a test starts by collecting the samples. The procedure may vary depending on the type of test, with some being more invasive than others. Afterwards, the specimens undergo analysis to trace concentrations of the prescribed drug. If the tester uses testing kits, the results may appear within minutes. Meanwhile, laboratory tests may take days to produce a report.

Reasons for Testing for Benzodiazepines

  • Testing for benzodiazepines helps healthcare providers monitor if their patients are following their instructions for taking the prescribed drug. This helps resolve any suspicion of medication nonadherence.
  • It is a crucial measure for identifying substance misuse, which can signal the need for intervention and drug rehabilitation to stop chronic abuse.
  • Drug abuse screening can prevent benzodiazepine misuse and overdose. Some symptoms of overdose include shallow breathing, nausea, and mood swings.
  • It deters benzodiazepine misuse and encourages safe ingestion of the depressant.
  • Testing for substances after accidents can help determine the cause and contributing factors to the incident.

An individual sealing a urine sample container

Types of Benzo Drug Tests

There are several types of Benzo drug tests that people can utilise. Firstly, urine testing is the standard method of testing for the workplace. One reason is that drug detection in urine samples uses a non-invasive collection procedure. Moreover, it can detect various illicit substances, making it useful for screening multiple substances simultaneously.

Secondly, oral fluid testing is another popular method due to the convenience it offers. It does not require specialised equipment or facilities to conduct this test. Additionally, people can use drug test kits for an initial immunoassay drug screening. It is more commonly seen in onsite testing, such as roadside tests.

Thirdly, blood tests are ideal for Benzodiazepine drug testing in healthcare settings. It is less common in other circumstances due to its invasive collection procedure. However, it is helpful for confirmatory tests due to its high level of accuracy. Lastly, hair testing is commonly utilised when organisations need a history of substance use. It can help prove abstinence due to its long window of detection.

Detection Time of Benzodiazepines in the Body

The detection time of benzodiazepines can vary depending on the type of test. The shortest detection period is 12 hours with oral fluid testing. Next, urine drug screening offers a significantly longer window of detection with a one to seven-day range.

Blood tests can extend the period to 12 days. Lastly, hair tests offer the longest period of 90 days. However, it is not suited for tracing recent use due to the nature of hair growth. Moreover, individual factors can also affect the metabolic rate, which can increase or decrease the window of detection. This includes health history, other medication taken, age, and gender.

A lab technician analysing samples

How Do Benzo Drug Tests Work?

When an individual ingests a Benzodiazepine drug, the liver processes it, and its metabolites spread throughout the body. Benzo drug tests work by identifying these metabolites in the biological samples. It is an accurate method of testing for substances, including illegal and prescription drugs.

After gathering urine or oral fluid samples, people can use kits with specific panels to screen for benzodiazepines. Some examples of products in the market include the ToxWipe 7 Saliva Drug test kit and SureStep 6-in-1 EZ Split urine drug test kit. These can produce results within minutes by using benzodiazepine immunoassays to detect the presence of drugs in the system.

Individuals may also opt to go to a laboratory for testing. In general, they can provide more accurate results due to the advanced equipment and techniques they can access. One of these is Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), which is the gold standard for confirmatory testing. It is a method that can accurately quantify the amount of substance in the sample, reducing the likelihood of false-positive results.

Implications of a Positive Result

The results of a drug test are typically negative, non-negative, or positive. A negative result means no amount or amounts below the cut-off levels were found. Meanwhile, a non-negative and positive result indicates an amount exceeding the threshold for detection.

A positive drug test result can have significant implications for an individual. Depending on the context, a positive report can have varying consequences. During a workplace drug abuse screening, failing the test will make the employee subject to disciplinary measures, such as suspensions or termination. Meanwhile, for legal matters like drug driving, individuals may face fines and licence suspensions.

Conclusion

A Benzo drug test is an essential tool for detecting the presence of benzodiazepines in the biological specimen of individuals. It helps healthcare professionals monitor the use of the prescribed drug. Moreover, it aids in preventing substance misuse and its adverse effects. There are different types that people can use, depending on their circumstances. These are the blood, hair, oral fluid, and urine drug screening. They vary in detection periods and collection procedures, so considering those is crucial.

Drug testing for benzodiazepines starts with collecting the samples. Afterwards, the tester may utilise testing kits for a quick initial screening. Otherwise, they may send it to a laboratory for an initial immunoassay screening. If the result is non-negative or positive, it indicates potential drug abuse. This can have heavy implications and lead to loss of employment in workplace settings, or heavy fines in legal settings.

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