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Benzodiazepines Drug Test: Importance and the Methods of Drug Testing

23 February, 2024

A drug test result form underneath tablets and capsules

Benzodiazepines are a common prescription drug that people use for anxiety and insomnia. However, it also has a high risk of causing dependence. As such, conducting a benzodiazepine drug test is crucial to prevent illicit drug use. Testing is crucial to lower the risks of accidents and protect the health and well-being of the individual and the general public. Hence, healthcare professionals and workplaces use urine, oral fluid, hair follicles, and blood tests to detect misuse.

Benzodiazepines are depressants that can cause sleepiness and relaxation. However, it can also significantly impair the physical and mental abilities of a person, which is why individuals should not stray from the prescriptions of the doctor. Unfortunately, many people do develop a dependency, leading to unfortunate events. Hence, immunoassay screening using kits and laboratory confirmatory tests is crucial for protecting the community. This article will present information on benzodiazepines, the importance of testing, and the types of methods.

Understanding the Properties of the Substance Before Conducting a Benzodiazepine Drug Test

Before conducting a benzodiazepine drug test, individuals must understand the properties of the substance. Benzodiazepine falls under a class of drugs that work to slow down the nervous system. In Australia, these are only available under prescription for sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, and muscle relaxants. They can also help with epilepsy and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Benzodiazepines work by inducing the brain to release the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter. This sends calming messages throughout the body for a sedative effect. The drug is generally classified by the strength and duration of their effects. There are three types which are short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting benzodiazepines. Healthcare providers determine which one to use, depending on the health history.

Many people use benzodiazepines illegally as a recreational drug. Some even use it for sexual assault by spiking drinks with this prescription medication. Hence, conducting a drug abuse screening for this can bring many benefits to individuals and organisations. They may use drug test kits or contact a laboratory for testing.

Potential Risks Associated with Benzodiazepines

  • Dependence: Benzodiazepines are at high risk for causing addiction after long-term use. Some may observe signs of dependency and withdrawal symptoms once they stop taking them.
  • Overdose: It is easy to overdose on this substance if the person consumes more than the prescribed amount. Mixing them with alcohol or other drugs can also cause an overdose.
  • Impairs body function: Misusing this substance can cause confusion and memory loss. It can also slow reflexes, impair coordination, and affect the vision.
  • Mental health problems: Long-term use of this drug can increase risks for anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

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Importance of Benzodiazepine Drug Testing

Benzodiazepine drug testing is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, there is a high likelihood of people becoming dependent on the substance. Hence, conducting drug screenings allows family members or organisations to verify if the individual is misusing the prescribed drug. It can serve to monitor the use and provide interventions if needed.

Secondly, testing for benzodiazepines can help companies ensure workplace health and safety. Misusing the drug can lead to various impairments that can lower the productivity of the individual. They can also cause accidents while operating heavy machinery, which can lead to injuries or fatalities. As such, companies conduct tests in various situations to effectively deter employees from misuse and promptly identify illicit drug use.

Lastly, health professionals test for benzodiazepines to ensure that patients are following their prescribed treatment plan or determine if they have overdosed on the prescription drug. Clinical drug testing is key for maintaining the health of an individual undergoing drug rehabilitation. Overall, drug testing for benzodiazepines plays a crucial role in the safety and well-being of the community.

The Need for Monitoring of Benzodiazepine Use

Monitoring benzodiazepine use is essential because of the high potential for misuse. Moreover, it is even considered one of the common prescription drugs that people abuse. In particular, law enforcement agencies have attributed many drug-related vehicle accidents to benzodiazepines.

This is why workplaces conduct screening during pre-employment, after accidents, at random, or when there is reasonable suspicion. Moreover, healthcare providers look out for benzodiazepine misuse to prevent potential harm and promote safe and appropriate use of the medication. Ultimately, by monitoring benzodiazepine use, organisations can safeguard public health and safety, mitigating negative impacts from affecting the community.

A person handing a urine sample to a medical professional

Methods of Benzodiazepine Drug Testing

There are several methods that people can use for benzodiazepine drug testing. Firstly, urine testing is the standard method for workplace testing. This method uses urine samples for a benzodiazepine detection period of up to seven days. Individuals can utilise testing kits or send the samples to a laboratory for testing.

Another method many people use is saliva testing. It is popular due to its convenient collection procedure. Furthermore, saliva tests have a window of detection of 12 hours for benzodiazepines, making it ideal for tracing recent use. Similar to urine tests, there are also saliva drug test kits that people can use for convenient testing.

Blood testing is a method that fewer people use due to its invasive collection procedure. However, it is considered the most accurate testing method and has a detection period of 36 hours. Hence, many use blood samples for confirmatory testing. Lastly, hair testing is ideal for acquiring a history of illicit substance use. It has a window of detection of 90 days. However, it cannot trace recent substance misuse due to the nature of hair growth.

What Happens If the Test Result Shows Abuse of Benzodiazepine?

If the test result is non-negative or positive, then it is an indicator of benzodiazepine misuse or abuse. Hence, it is important to set an intervention so a healthcare professional can form a treatment plan for drug rehabilitation.

However, a non-negative result can also bring severe consequences if it is during a workplace test. Thus, the employee should request a confirmatory test to disprove the false positive result. Otherwise, they may face suspensions, demotions, or termination. Moreover, they must inform their employer if they were prescribed benzodiazepines before testing to avoid potential misunderstandings and undue consequences.

Conclusion

Benzodiazepine drug tests are crucial for protecting the safety and well-being of individuals and the community. It allows healthcare professionals and employers to identify benzodiazepine misuse so they can prevent the individual from bringing harm to others. This is also important for the health of the individual since substance misuse can lead to depression, panic disorders, or overdose. Testing also helps deter people from misusing the common prescription drug.

Benzodiazepines are depressant prescription drugs that many people use for various conditions. Unfortunately, they are also prone to misuse and can bring negative impacts. Thus, organisations select from urine, blood, hair, and saliva tests to trace the presence of drugs in the respective specimen. Each one has its advantages and can provide accurate results. Those interested in purchasing drug testing kits that can detect benzodiazepines may check the ToxWipe 7 saliva drug test kit at Breathalysers Australia.

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