Chain of Custody
Delivery of a drug screen sample to Warde Medical Laboratory should involve an external chain of custody form that provides a consecutive list of names of individuals who have had access to the sample. Receipt of the sample at the laboratory continues the chain of custody. We recommend using the form and collection kit and procedure provided by Warde Medical Laboratory. In the WML chain of custody procedure, container and bag seals are adequate to secure the specimen, and the courier is not required to sign the chain of custody documentation since the courier did not have true possession of the sample.
Within the laboratory an internal chain of custody continues the external chain, ensuring the continuity of evidence. If needed, the data provided by Warde Medical Laboratory can be presented in court.
Urine is the appropriate sample for the majority of tests for drugs of abuse. Protection of sample integrity assumes a much greater prominence than in routine medical testing. This requires more rigorous identification of the individual tested and prevents possible adulteration of the specimen during transport and handling.
Litigation is potentially associated with every procedure in the laboratory. The potential for litigation is of particular significance when the results of a laboratory test may be used in criminal proceedings or to deny employment to an individual. The chain of custody procedure is intended to ensure that the specimen (potential evidence) is kept secure at all times and will stand up to the documentation requirements that may be associated with legal challenge.
The chain of custody document identifies the location, transfer, and security of the sample from collection to disposal and provides documentation that identifies each person having true possession of the sample. Therefore, this chain of custody exists before and after a sample arrives at the laboratory.
Please refer to the Appendices in your copy of the Warde Medical Laboratory Test Catalog for more detailed information on drug screen specimen acceptability, assay information, and complete chain of custody procedures.