Benzodiazepines and Drug Testing

Benzodiazepines and Drug Testing

Benzodiazepines, originally made available to the public in 1960 by Hoffman-Laroche, are a class of psychoactive drug use to treat a range of conditions, including insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and anxiety. In 1977, benzodiazepines were the most prescribed medication globally.

Benzodiazepines, commonly known as minor tranquilisers, are a relaxant and depressant, typically used for their sedative properties. Doctors will often prescribe a combination of benzodiazepines and opioids to people who suffer from chronic pain. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines have an extremely high rate of abuse; however, we now have ways of testing for the use of benzodiazepines.

How Benzodiazepine Testing Works

When a benzodiazepine drug has been consumed and metabolised by the body, it breaks down into various chemical components known as metabolites. So, in addition to the drug consumed, certain drug tests are looking for the presence of metabolites. This is because benzodiazepines thoroughly metabolise within the body, and the drug consumed (parent drug) is not detectable in urine. However, testing can still confirm when a metabolite is present, which enables the test to determine what drug was consumed.

The exact amount of time taken for a medication or its metabolite to appear in urine varies. Some substances will appear in just a few minutes and last for days. As an example, the metabolites of Valium (diazepam) will appear in urine 30 minutes after consumption.

Testing for benzodiazepines falls into three categories – short-acting, immediate acting, and long-acting benzodiazepines – with each category working in a different way. Benzodiazepines will stay detectable in a normal person’s urine for between 2 and 10 days, depending on the classification.

Can People Cheat the Testing System for Benzodiazepines?

Yes they can – there are a number of ways people try to cheat on their urine drug screening test.

Companies are always in the pursuit of improving workplace safety and productivity, but there are employees who put companies and other employees at risk by cheating on their drug testing. Some of the ways employees try to cheat drug tests include –

  • Diluting Their Urine Sample – they do this by either drinking huge amounts of water before the test or by directly adding water to their sample. Either way, there is a chance the employee will get a negative result
  • Using Someone Else’s Urine – some cheats use synthetic urine, liquid urine, or someone else’s urine. Others have been known to use animal urine! You can even purchase powdered urine pockets online which is simply mixed with water.
  • Adding Chemicals to Their Sample – some people have been known to hide the presence of drugs in their system by adding chemicals, like salt, bleach, soap, eyedrops, and peroxide, to their urine. These specimens are called ‘adulterated’ specimens. These specimens will typically be labelled as invalid, but unfortunately not all chemicals (isopropanol, Visine eyedrops, and others) can be detected.
  • Delaying Their Drug Test – this is a very common evasive method of cheating a drug test. These people simply wait until the drugs have been flushed out of their system.
  • Trying to Detox Their System – others try to detox their body from drug use by consuming fibre rich foods, eating herbs like burdock and red clover, and drinking diuretic beverages or herbal teas to flush the toxins from their body.

Some of these methods may render results unusable (designed to get an alternate date for testing) or help a person achieve a false negative for the drug test. Unfortunately, there’s an entire online industry dedicated solely to helping people pass their drug screening test.

Benzodiazepines Drug Test
Benzodiazepines Drug Test

How to Avoid Altered Drug Testing Results

Random drug testing is possibly the best way of avoiding drug testing cheats. Alternatively, make-up urine drug tests should be scheduled sooner rather than later – certainly less than 10 days from the first test.

How To Conduct A Urine Drug Screening Test

Urine drug testing is very simple. Before you start, make sure you have plenty of urine drug test cups. Note: Zoom Testing can also supply single drug tests for benzodiazepines if you are only interested in screening for the one drug, otherwise the multi panel or cup test is the way to go.

The person being tested should leave all belongings, including contents from their pockets, in a room separate to the one where drug testing is taking place.

Hand the test recipient a cup, then go with that person to the bathroom to make sure that no adulterants are added to their sample. While the person must be given as much privacy as possible, it’s also important that you explain why you’re accompanying them to the bathroom. Once the person has urinated into the cup, the person should affix the lid then hand the cup to you. Now you can test the urine sample for the presence of benzodiazepines or other drugs.

Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash

Zoom Testing is a leading supplier of Drug Test Kits.

This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated since.

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