Cut-off Level

Home » Resources » Dictionary » Terms

Definition - What does Cut-off Level mean?

A cut-off level is an index used to show if the cumulative amount of traces of a drug metabolite(s) fall at or below/above the threshold range to yield a negative/positive test result. Urine, oral fluid, and hair drug specimens are examples used with cutoff levels that vary between the initial screen and confirmation tests to quantify the difference in the test results.

SureHire explains Cut-off Level

Customized drug test panels feature cut-off levels based on the drug specimen types and their concentration limits tabled in a fair and objective chart that serves as a mainstay in drug clearance tasks. An initial drug screen cut-off level provides a more general assessment to clear parties following a negative test result. However, non-negative cases lack the clarity needed to show the donor specimen is free of suspicion after a recent drug screening. A confirmation test helps quantify cut-off levels adjusted at a lower threshold range to suspend doubt against a positive test result.


The US Department of Transportation (DOT) uses a diagram to show cut-off levels aligned with concentration grades under classes/subclasses of drugs as a resource guide. The Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace, upheld by the DOT, streamlines businesses to adopt drug testing that uses cut-off levels that fit their line of work.

Subscribe to SureNews!

Get your Reasonable Suspicion Checklist! Join our community and get access to more resources like this! Emails are sent monthly, so no need to worry, we will not fill up your inbox.  


Building foundations for safe, healthy, and
productive workforces and communities.

© 2022 SureHire Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy