The FDA revolutionized drug testing when they approved over-the-counter at home drug test kits on January 21, 1997. When the regulation was passed, the at-home tests were still sent to an outside laboratory. Today technology has advanced to the point where drug testing can be administered at home by virtually anybody in total confidentiality without using laboratories.
When at home kits were approved, most still utilized outside laboratories. The purpose of the home kit was to simply allow parents to administer a drug test without needing a medical professional to prescribe the test. The kit would consist of materials needed to collect a sample. The sample would then be sent to an outside lab where the actual testing of the sample would be conducted. The results would then be relayed directly to the party who purchased and submitted the sample. Confidentiality was not as much of a focus for the consumer as was accessibility at that time. The timeliness of testing would not be a focus at all until years later as technology improved testing methods and result times.
Today, home drug testing kits tout not only total confidentiality but also immediate results that do not need laboratory analysis. The over-the-counter drug test kits of today contain everything you need to collect the sample and conduct the testing with immediate and totally confidential results. Kits contain test strips constructed to determine specific chemicals simply by dipping them in urine. It is possible to purchase kits for a specific drug or for a variety of drugs. The cost of the kits is determined by the number of substances being tested. Several drug testing kit manufactures will offer discount kits for multiple substance tests. Because of the popularity of the product, it is important to be sure it is an FDA approved product as there are those that are not approved.
Drug testing can now be conducted by virtually anyone in total confidentiality, thanks to the FDA. It is a fantastic resource for to detect and deter drug use. It can be used in the workplace by employers and in the home by parents confidentially.