Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Community & Environmental Health

Committee Director

A. James English

Committee Member

Colin Box

Committee Member

W. Smith Chandler

Committee Member

Rodney Handy


The purpose of this study was to analyze the accuracy of FDA approved immunoassays for the detection of drug positive urine samples.

Federal civilian employees are tested under the strict protocol of the Department of Health and Human Services mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs. The guidelines provide for a two instrument testing protocol for the analysis of urine samples. The first is an FDA approved immunoassay. Samples which test positive on this screening immunoassay are then submitted for confirmatory testing with the "gold standard" gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.

Agency monthly drug testing summaries, required under the DHHS guidelines were sought from the six largest federal agencies which performed drug testing on its civilian employees in 1993 and 1994. These agencies were: Department of Air Force, Army, Justice, Navy, Transportation and Veterans Affairs. This study covered more than half of the federal civilians tested during 1993 and 1994.

The study concluded that GC/MS confirmation is scientifically necessary to ensure accurate results. Failure to submit samples for GC/MS testing would result in 200-370 false positives annually among federal civilian employees.


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