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SAMHSA Certified Laboratories

SAMHSA Certified Laboratories

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA is relied on heavily for all workplace drug testing programs in the United States. This public agency was established in 1992. The mission of SAMHSA is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Laboratories performing workplace drug testing in the United States look to SAMHSA for guidance in best practices for accurate and efficient drug testing. For drug testing required by the Federal Government or the United States Department of Transportation (DOT); the use of a SAMHSA certified laboratory is a regulatory requirement.

At US Drug Test Centers our priority whether it is regulated drug testing or non-regulated drug testing is to always when possible utilize laboratories certified by SAMHSA. The current list of SAMHSA certified labs can be found on the SAMHSA website. These laboratories perform at the highest standards and have rigorous quarterly inspections to insure their quality and accuracy. The SAMHSA certification helps to guarantee the legal defensibility of actions taken based on a drug test result.

National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP)

SAMHSA administers the laboratory certification program through a program called the National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP), which includes comprehensive performance testing (PT) and laboratory inspection programs. To become certified, an applicant laboratory must successfully test 3 rounds of PT samples and successfully complete a laboratory inspection that occurs at the time the third set of PT samples are being tested by the laboratory. In addition, a newly certified laboratory must undergo an inspection 3 months after achieving certification. To maintain certification, a laboratory must participate in and satisfy the requirements for the maintenance PT program (samples sent quarterly) and achieve successful performance on every semiannual inspection.

Drug Testing Advisor Board (DTAB)

Drug Testing Advisor Board (DTAB)

SAMHSA works with a drug testing advisor board (DTAB) for industry input and guidance regarding the direction, scope, balance, and emphasis of the Agency’s drug testing activities and the drug testing laboratory certification program. Working with this advisory board, SAMHSA seeks to:

  • Improve the quality of services for forensic workplace drug testing
  • Assess the science and technology used in drug analyses
  • Improve the quality of related laboratory services and systems for drug testing
  • Generate standards for laboratory certification for federal workplace drug testing programs; and
  • Guide national policy in these areas

Why Utilize a SAMHSA Certified Laboratory

Why Utilize a SAMHSA Certified Laboratory
  • These labs required to meet quarterly performance proficiency testing and semi-annual inspections in order to remain HHS certified
  • These labs have met requirements for rigorous quality control and chain-of-custody procedures
  • These labs test each specimen using the same procedures in a consistent method.
  • Must undergo compliance audits that are performed by nationally recognized toxicology experts every 6 months 
  • These labs perform all work by its own personnel and equipment (no subcontracting to other labs may occur)

Alcohol testing is required for all above except for pre-employment testing, this is optional.

Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing

SAMHSA certified must meet the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing. These are published guidelines for drug testing programs in Federal agencies. These guidelines are generally considered the best practices for all workplace drug testing.

The SAMHSA laboratory certification program applies only to urine drug testing, and specifically to testing for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine only. Starting in January 2018, the opiates testing became Opioids testing to include codeine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone & hydromorphone. SAMHSA is responsible for specifying the required cut off levels for laboratory testing for the drugs listed above.

One area the is critically important about SAMHSA certified lab is the requirement to conduct validity testing to determine if the specimen has been adulterated or substituted. With urine drug testing today, many donors are attempting to cheat on the test.

State College of American Pathologists - CAP Accreditation

Many labs also receive accreditation by other agencies including the State College of American Pathologists - CAP accreditation. This accreditation can be obtained by laboratories and testing centers that perform confirmation drug testing on urine, oral fluid, and hair for non-medical purposes like workplace drug testing, for example. CAP accreditation is internationally recognized. The CAP accreditation is not a substitute for SAMHSA certification. For Federal Workplace testing and DOT drug testing, the SAMHSA certified lab must be utilized.

SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. SAMHSA certified labs are dedicated to providing efficient turn-around time on results, use the most technologically advanced systems and provide the highest level of customer service. This results in a higher quality, legal defensibility and more efficient testing program for you.