Drugs of Abuse Testing In Kenya: Mitigating a growing public health threat

The laboratory plays an important role in dealing with the increasing health crisis caused by substance abuse.

Urine Drug Test (UDT): The most common type, which detects the presence of illegal substances in a person’s system. It is often used for pre-employment screening and can detect a variety of drugs such as amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, and opiates.

Saliva (Mouth Swab) Drug Test: Used to detect recent drug use. It is less invasive and can detect substances like amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, and opiates.

Hair Follicle Drug Test: Screens for illicit drug use by analyzing a small sample of hair. It can detect a pattern of repeated drug use over the last 90 days.

Blood Drug Test: Typically used when the individual is suspected of being under the influence of drugs. It can detect a wider variety of substances but has a shorter detection period due to rapid metabolism and elimination.

Sweat Patch Drug Test: Requires an individual to wear a patch on their skin for several days. It continuously monitors for drug use and can detect substances like marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and PCP.

These tests are used in various settings, including pre-employment screening, random drug testing, and treatment programs for substance use disorders.


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