Drug Tests Spark Concerns

Critical errors in drug tests and a lack of education in drug test centers are getting many people in Texoma fired.

Some are even losing custody of their kids. A drug testing expert is concerned unemployed Texomans could soon miss out on unemployment benefits as well, when their required to be tested to qualify starting February 1st.

Steve Cooper is the owner of a drug testing center in Wichita Falls and he said Texas doesn't have an agency that regulates drug testing centers. Without regulations, many centers in Texoma are choosing to use certain kinds of drug tests.

"We refer to them in the industry as point of collection tests. Some people call them rapid tests. They're tests that you can actually take the urine analysis and test it right there," said Cooper.

Cooper said they're not as accurate as tests that are done with an instrumented device. The Food and Drug Administration requires rapid tests to have labels with specific instructions.

"The first check is the first step in the process to detect drug abuse in urine. We recommend all positive screenings be sent to the lab for confirmation," said Cooper.

Since there's a lack of state regulations centers can get away with not sending positive results to a lab, completely ignoring the fact that medication and even food items can alter the results of a drug test.

Cooper said, "It's not that they're doing it maliciously. Because of lack of training, they might not be aware that they're doing something wrong."

He said you should look for one red flag that could help you avoid being called a drug user when you're not.

"If you have a test result coming up positive, if it's coming back the same day you provided that sample there's probably a reason for that," said Cooper.

Drug tests in federal cases are regulated in Texas.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6