Masking Agent

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Definition - What does Masking Agent mean?

A masking agent refers to an adulterant designed to alter/neutralize or hide the biochemical properties of specific drug metabolites found in oral fluid or urine specimens as a means to compromise or otherwise negate the integrity of drug testing procedures. Commercial masking agents are available featuring enzymatic compounds that can potentially interfere with the accuracy of point-of-care testing (POCT) or, in some cases, laboratory testing analyses following drug screening.

SureHire explains Masking Agent

Adulteration test strips coupled with point-of-care testing and gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) are a viable approach to offset the likelihood of tampering with a specimen. Many masking agents carry varying degrees of isolating residual drug metabolites in urine specimens, depending on the biosynthetic makeup of different products that can influence creatinine levels, pH balance grade, specific gravity indexes, and temperature variances. Although masking agents carry implications of engaging regular drug abuse, lax regulation presents challenges to employers on the cusp of loopholes that support recreational drug use (i.e. cannabis) while concurrently advocating a drug-free workplace environment. Innovative drug testing methodologies in Canada help to level discrepancies between variable windows of detection linked with classes and subclasses of drug metabolites, which may purportedly suggest an impairment at the time of drug testing. Although masking agents may conceal a sustained drug habit, technological advancements cover a twelve-hour window of detection based on corresponding drug classes/subclasses to help modulate control of accidents or near-miss incidents where impairment is a leading culprit.

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