The Toxicology Section was commissioned in purpose-built accommodation in 2003 and performs drugs of abuse screening and confirmation primarily for National Guard personnel.
Drugs of abuse testing is carried as a pre-employment check and on a random basis on military personnel. The drugs panel comprises of alcohol (ethanol), amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine and opiates. Preliminary screening is carried out by immunoassay using Viva Twin analysers (Dade Behring) and confirmation of presumptive positives is carried out by headspace analysis using a Perkin Elmer GC for ethanol while other drugs are confirmed on Agilent or ThermoFinnigan GC-MS. The turn-around time is ten working days.
Urine samples are collected under strict confidence and chain-of-custody documentation is maintained at all times. The laboratory uses a uniquely designed computerized laboratory information system (ADM) for specimen tracking, data storage and result reporting in strict confidence.
Since 2005 the Toxicology section has offered an expanding service for trace elements analysis using a Shimadzu atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Currently the following assays are available: plasma lithium, copper and zinc, urine copper, liver copper and iron. The turn-around time is five working days. In due course other assays such as plasma aluminium and blood lead will also be offered. All services are available through the Business Centre.