What Do The Colors Mean On An Instant Urine Drug Test?

What Do The Colors Mean On An Instant Urine Drug Test?


If you are struggling to understand what the color of a drug test means, then you are not alone. Identifying the colors on a drug test kit can often be confusing, with each color signifying a different substance. However, interpreting drug test results can be reasonably simple as you become familiar with the testing components. Keep reading to uncover what the colors on a drug test mean to read the test results on your drug test kit accurately.

Table Of Contents:

What is a drug panel in a drug test?

The choice of urine on a drug test kit has primarily to do with the familiarity and ease of administration of urine as a test specimen. Drugs and their metabolites also last in the urine longer than any test specimen, significantly increasing the drug detection window. Testing may include the standard 5-panel drug test for the presence of controlled substances like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), opiates, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), and amphetamines.

Instant urine drug test kits such as drug testing cups and dip kits combine a collection of drug tests or drug panel tests. A drug panel refers to either a particular drug or a family of drugs included in a drug test. So, the panel 'opioids' can include oxycodone, methadone, propoxyphene, buprenorphine, and more. Each drug is represented by an equivalent panel. For instance, a 13-panel drug test screens for thirteen of the most frequently abused prescription drugs and illicit substances.

How to Read a Drug Test

Collecting and interpreting what the results indicate on an instant drug test kit is fairly uncomplicated. Reading the instruction manual and following the appropriate steps can ensure the accuracy of the test result. It involves locating the control and test regions and understanding what the colored lines on the test kit mean.

Each particular drug is represented by a distinct color, a control region (C), and a test region (T). The ‘C’ region indicates that the test is working properly, and the ‘T’ region indicates whether a particular drug being tested is present. After collecting a urine sample, a colored line will appear within the ‘C’ region to indicate that the test is valid. This line is either pink or red in color. If a colored line is not visible in the ‘C’ region or a colored line is only visible in the ‘T' region, the test will be considered invalid. In this situation, you should run another test to re-evaluate the specimen.

A colored line must be visible in each ‘C’ region at all times to indicate that the test is valid. If a colored line is visible in the ‘T’ region, it indicates that the concentration of the drug in the corresponding test panel is absent or below the test's detection limit. Conversely, if no color line appears in the ‘T’ region, a presumptive positive result is indicated for the corresponding drug panel listed above. In this situation, you should take a confirmation test to eliminate any possibility of a false positive.

Dip drug test. What is it?

A dip drug test or a dip card drug test is an instant urine drug test used for detecting the presence of illicit substances. The dip card consists of test strips or cards which are immersed into the urine specimen. The strips should typically be immersed in urine for 15-20 seconds. Colored lines indicating the result of the test will begin to appear almost immediately.

Dip drug tests are an affordable and viable alternative to conventional drug testing in clinical laboratories. They are 99% accurate and effective in detecting recent drug abuse.

Integrated drug test. What is it?

An integrated drug test is an instant urine drug test method using a testing cup or vial. The test strips come fully integrated with the cup, which eliminates any physical contact with the urine specimen. They are inexpensive, highly accurate, and prevent sample tampering by including a thermometer strip that allows you to check the urine temperature.

What to do when you are tested positive on a drug test

If no color line appears in the ‘T’ region, a presumptive positive result is indicated for the drug corresponding to that specific drug panel listed above. In many instances, a presumptive positive can turn out to be a case of false positive. There are many prescriptive drugs, including OTC medications, that can result in a false positive for illicit substances without you taking them.

A confirmation test is carried out to confirm a false positive drug screen. Confirmation tests typically employ either "gas chromatography-mass spectrometry" (GC/MS) or "liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry" (LC/MS) to eliminate false positives and give a more accurate reading of the drug test. To ensure an accurate test reading using an instant urine drug test kit, read the test result not more than 10 minutes after a sample is collected.

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