Standard Operation Procedures

To illustrate essential functions, the collection agencies should create and maintain a standard operation procedure (SOP) which is authenticated by the person in charge. Borrowing the concept of SOP from past military organizations which used standing operating procedure manuals due to recurring turnover of personnel, SOP is recently used to inform new personnel how to carry collection procedures. Furthermore, to document regulatory specifications and provide reference for collectors when they want to check their own practices, SOP can be useful.

To illustrate essential functions certified drug-testing laboratories should create and maintain SOP which is authenticated by the laboratory director- a responsible person. An extension of the requirements established by the College of American Pathologists, the requirements for an SOP in forensic drug-testing laboratories for quality improvement of clinical laboratories was published many years ago. Association of Official Analytical Chemists published the corollary guidelines for analytical laboratories while American Association published it for Clinical Chemistry. National Laboratory Certification Program (NLCP) currently oversees the monitoring and expansion of guidelines for federal workplace drug testing. NLCP guidelines form the basis of SOP requirements and QA practices in this chapter.

Crucial to all aspects of drug testing, standardization is especially important for laboratories that test multiple specimen every day. In cases where SOP followed by all personnel is not possessed by the laboratory, the analysts can be used to act as witnesses to elaborate their experience; every test performed by the analyst is used as evidence. In accordance with the legal principle of presumed regularity, the results may be established as business records with the SOP and standard practices.

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