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Clinical vs. Toxicology in Newborn Testing


Newborn drug testing is indicated if it is known or there is a suspicion that the mother is using illegal substances. The need for newborn drug testing is to determine the type of drug class that the newborn may have been exposed to.

Clinical Laboratory Toxicology

Tests are done qualitatively which is to see if a drug is present, but not quantitatively, in what amounts. Newborn drug testing is done on newborn’s urine, caught in a special diaper, and it’s a simple test. These tests include drugs of abuse such as benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) opiates (prescription pain medications, heroin) tricyclic antidepressants, PCP, THC (marijuana) and amphetamines.

Less Expensive

These tests are routinely stocked by clinical laboratories as they are not only used for newborn drug testing, they are also used in emergency trauma workups and possible overdoses on older patients. They are basically a plastic card in a sealed package and a drop or two of urine is all that’s needed to perform the test. The result is recorded a few minutes later, not unlike a pregnancy test, and the presence of a line generally indicates the presence of the drug in the urine.

Forensic Drug Testing

More detailed testing is required and performed in crime labs. A blood specimen is taken in a quantity sufficient enough to test quantitative amounts. Forensic toxicology, as the name implies, indicates testing for substances as a result of an intentional poisoning or commission of crime. In the case of newborn drug testing, a forensic toxicology screen could be indicated if the child has suffered physically as a result of the drug ingestion or that is has caused the child’s death.

Depending on the needs of the patient and expected outcomes, forensic and clinical newborn drug testing can be remarkable or relatively routine.

ARCpoint Labs offers many drug testing solutions for you. If your business is in need of a reliable drug testing program, please contact ARCpoint Labs today.

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