Frequently Asked Questions

Results and Reporting

Is my testing done? Where in the process is the testing on my samples?
If you are signed up for the online web portal [link to web portal info], you can check in on the status of your testing at any time. Otherwise, please contact us [link to contact page] and we will happily let you know the status of your testing.
How will I receive results?
Most agencies receive their results reports through our online web portal [link to web portal info], although other options are available. Please see Testing Services [link to testing services] for more information.
How do I read my results report?
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Does anyone review the results before they go out?
Yes. The results of our testing undergo extensive quality control prior to being reported. The final results are then reviewed and certified by one of our qualified toxicologists prior to being released.
What does it mean when the result says >, <, or positive?
Results that do not specify a number are qualitative results
  • ># means that the number is greater than our Upper Limit of Quantitation (ULOQ).
  • <# means that the level is greater than our Limit of Detection (LOD) but less than our Limit of Quantitation (LOQ).
  • Positive means that level is greater than our LOD
Is the concentration of drug listed on my report at a therapeutic, toxic, lethal, or impairing level?
Interpretation of results can be complex. Various case specifics can affect the interpretation. Please contact us so that a qualified toxicologist can assist you in interpreting your results.
Is this result consistent with them taking a certain amount of medication?
This type of interpretation is case specific. We cannot tell you exactly how much of a drug someone took. We may be able to help you determine if the level is consistent with the facts of your case. Please contact us for help with interpretation.

Testing Services

What if I need my results faster than normal due to special circumstances in my case?
We are often able to expedite the testing process to better meet your needs for an additional fee. Please Contact Us [link] for further information.
Why didn’t you look for drug X, Y, or Z?

We may have looked for the drug but we listed it by a different name. Please first check the generic name vs. brand name of the drug, as these most often will differ. Our results will be reported as the generic name of the drug. For example if you requested testing for ‘Ambien’, the result would be listed as ‘Zolpidem’.

If the drug was not specifically requested and it is not a drug we routinely look for, the testing may not have been added. Please contact us to request additional specific testing. Screening for a specific drug may not be included in the selected testing. Please review your requested panel or test code to insure the screening for the drug of interest was included.

If you need additional help or have any other circumstance, please contact us so that we may resolve your testing questions or concerns.

What if I need a test that ChemaTox does not list or provide?

Please contact us with the testing you wish to have performed. We work very closely with both local and national reference laboratories. We will help to identify an appropriate reference laboratory and can even facilitate the testing for you.

I want to send a sample to you. How should I package it?
Blood and urine samples can be sent through the U.S. Mail. Samples should be wrapped in a packing material of some type and placed in a box. Do NOT send test tubes in envelopes, regardless of any bubble wrapping they may contain. These can be crushed in transit. You can also use the standard shipping companies (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.) to send samples.
I cannot ship my samples immediately. How should I store them prior to shipping?
Please place samples in refrigerated storage at 8 degrees C or below. Do not freeze samples that are in glass containers.

Customer Service and Consultation

I am interested in switching to your laboratory to perform testing for my agency. What do I do next?
  • Please contact customer service at 303-440-4500 and request account set-up information.
  • You can also order collection kits (where applicable) at this time.
  • Sign up for the web portal.
Who do I contact if I have a question about ... ?
Please see our contact us page [link]. Our general phone line and email address will direct you to a person who can assist you.
Is a toxicologist available for consultation?
Our toxicologists are very accessible and happy to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have. Please contact our scheduling department at scheduling@chematox.com or call 303-440-4500 and select option 2 to set up an appointment to speak with one of our toxicologists.
How do I pay for my testing?
We accept checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. The Request For Analysis form has a payment section that you should fill out.

Postmortem Toxicology FAQs

What is the scope of your postmortem toxicology testing services?
Please see Test Codes [link] for a listing of the testing panels we offer.
Should I test postmortem samples for THC (marijuana)?
THC testing will automatically be performed in deaths involving a motor vehicle, however we strongly encourage testing for THC in all postmortem cases.
How do I prepare my samples for submission?
Please refer to our Submission Guidelines [link] for information
Why should I submit antemortem samples?
These samples, particularly those taken at admission, may have the highest concentration of the agent suspected in the death investigation and may indicate cause of death.
What is the minimal sample volume you need for testing?
We can screen for drugs with a minimum of 1-2 mL of heart blood, however we likely will not have enough sample to confirm any positive results.
Why do you ask for certain volumes of sample?
Insufficient sample volume for testing will render incomplete results that may hinder interpretation. In general, screening and confirmation testing can take anywhere from 4-10 mL of blood and is dependent on what drugs screen positive during initial testing.
When am I required to submit samples for carbon monoxide testing?
If the decedent died in a motor vehicle accident in Colorado carbon monoxide testing is required by state regulation. To meet this requirement you must submit a 7mL lavender top tube blood sample for carbon monoxide testing.
Can you test plasma or serum for CO?
No.
Can you test for inhalants?
Yes, the test code for inhalants is 70003. Please see our Test Codes [link] for a complete listing.
Can you test hospital samples in serum separator tubes?
Generally we can perform ethanol testing on serum separator tubes, but we are unable to perform drug testing on these samples.
Does ChemaTox provide collection kits?
Please contact us if you are interested in collection supplies.
Why do you need the complete medication record of the decedent?
A record of all of the drugs a decedent is prescribed or known to have taken is valuable in aiding the toxicological investigation, as well as interpretation of the testing results.
What if I suspect an opioid overdose?
Please indicate your suspicion on the request paperwork, as that information will better inform the testing that needs to be performed on the case.
Does it matter if I send heart blood or femoral blood?
The most important thing is that you identify whether it is heart or femoral blood on the blood tubes. Both are suitable for screening and confirmation. However, it is preferable to perform quantitative testing on femoral blood as the levels generally more closely reflect antemortem levels. Central blood collected from organs in the thoracic cavity is very useful for screening. However, samples from these sites are more susceptible to having falsely elevated concentrations.
What is Postmortem Redistribution?
PMR is a process by which drugs can be redistributed through the decedent's body via passive diffusion depending on variables such as postmortem interval, level of decomposition, and the chemical properties of the drugs. Depending on the drug/chemical, this may result in an inaccurate concentration if procured from the wrong location. This occurrence is apparent when samples are drawn near organs located in the thoracic and abdominal cavities, especially the heart, lungs, GI tract and liver. Blood collected from these areas is very useful for screening methods.
Can you test physical evidence (pills, paraphernalia, etc. from the scene)?
Yes. However, there are special guidelines for submitting these samples that will vary on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us prior to submission.

Forensic Toxicology FAQs

What are the Colorado rules & regulations pertaining to DUI/DUID samples?
You can get a complete copy of those rules & regulations from the state, here. If they've moved their copy, you can also get it directly from us.
What is the procedure for having a second sample tested?

To have us test a second sample, use the following steps:

Complete a Request For Analysis form.
If necessary, send a DA's release as well.
Please call if you are unsure whether or not this is necessary.
Send the completed form along with payment to:

ChemaTox Laboratory, Inc
PO Box 20590
Boulder, CO 80308
or fax it to: (303)440-0668

If paying by check or money order, please mail it with a copy of the Request For Analysis form. Please n\ ote on the form that you have already faxed a copy.

How much does it cost for a second sample test?
We charge $65 for the test. If the sample is located along the Colorado Front Range, our courier can pick it up. The courier cost depends on whether the sample is located. The list of courier charges is as follows:
  • $30 Denver metro area
  • $40 Fort Collins
  • $30 Shipping from CBI
Please call for courier charges for locations outside of Denver or Fort Collins.
You did the testing on the first sample for the police; can you test the second sample as well?
Yes. We are an independent laboratory and do not have a specific affiliation with any law enforcement agency. Our interest lies in the quality of the science; not the specific outcome in any case. Our goal is to provide the most accurate testing we can to ALL of our clients.
I would like to have another laboratory test the second sample, what do I need to do to have you send it elsewhere?

Rocky Mountain Instrumental Laboratory has couriers who will pick up samples directly from us, we do not charge a packing fee.
If you wish to send the sample to a different lab, the minimum price is $15 for shipping by USPS. ChemaTox will only send samples to other certified laboratories. Please call for additional information and instructions.

When do I get my report?
We guarantee that we will have results for blood alcohol 2 weeks after we receive the sample, drug screens will be completed within 3 weeks. If your sample requires additional work, generally confirmation and quantitation on GC/MS or LC/MS/MS, it typically takes 6 to 12 weeks.
It has been more than 2 days and I don't have my results, where are they?
I've been told there are no retained breath samples, what does that mean?

Beginning in January 2007, Colorado jurisdictions began switching over to a new rule pertaining to breath testing. This regulation does not require the capture of a second sample for testing by an independent laboratory.

A full copy of these rules is available online. NOTE: They still collect second samples for blood tests. These are available to be retested by the defendant. These sam\ ples are retained for a year from receipt.

Can you test a controlled substance that has been taken as evidence by the police?
Yes. We have a DEA registration. This allows us to receive and test controlled substances.
Can you perform testing for DFSA (drug facilitated sexual assault), homicide, civil, or other non-driving cases?
Yes.
Your ELISA screen cutoffs seem higher than what I was expecting, is there a reason for that?
The ELISA cutoffs are for the whole drug class. The drug class includes active and inactive metabolites as well as the parent drug all combined. By contrast the confirmation is specific to each drug in the class. The confirmation testing limits of detection are per drug and are normally much lower than the screen cutoff. For example cannabinoids includes THC, THC-OH, THC-COOH, CBD, and CBN among others. If there is a total of 10 ng/mL of all of the cannabinoids combined, the screen is positive. However when we confirm the sample the THC reporting limit is 1 ng/mL for THC alone.
Is your laboratory familiar with the DRE program?
Yes, the toxicologists in our laboratory are familiar with the DRE matrix and 12-step protocol. Please contact us at DRETox@chematox.com if you have specific questions on a case involving a DRE evaluation. How do I order more collection kits? [link to supplies]
What if my kit is expired and it is the only one we have left?
The expiration date is for the vacuum seal of the grey top tubes. If you are able to perform a blood draw, use the kit and send an email immediately (contact info /link here) to place an order for new kits. Alternatively, many hospitals stock the exact same tubes that are in the kits. If you are able to use tubes the hospital provides please note this on the request paperwork that you submit to the lab.
My subject may be under the influence of LSD, should I do anything special to the sample?
Please be sure to wrap the sample in foil as soon as possible prior to shipping. LSD is photosensitive, meaning it will break down in the presence of light.

Expert Services FAQs

Do you offer expert testimony?
Yes. Our toxicologists are qualified as expert witnesses in forensic toxicology.
How much do you charge for expert testimony?
The rate we charge for testimony time is case dependent. Other charges apply for travel and case preparation. Contact us for more information..
What do I have to do to schedule you for a case?
Fill out our online scheduling form. Before we will appear we will require the following payment in advance:
  • Calendaring fee (non-refundable)
  • 1 hour case preparation time (this includes time for a pre-trial conference)
  • Driving time
  • Mileage
After the trial, you will be billed for actual testimony time, any additional case preparation time, and any additional expenses.
How can I pay for your services?
We accept checks, money orders, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.
I need someone to review the reports from my case and discuss it with me.
Request an Informal Expert Opinion here.
I need a Rule 16 expert opinion letter for discovery.
Request a Formal Expert Opinion here.

Other Testing Services FAQs

Do you perform walk-in Urine Analysis?
No. The Boulder Alcohol Education Center does walk in urine drug testing.
I have an unknown substance; can you test it for drugs? Can you identify it?
Change to reflect general public so this doesn’t confuse LE/PM requestors
Do you perform DNA testing?
No. DNA Services of America has a Denver location and they should be able to help you.
Do you perform blood typing tests?
No. Quest Diagnostics, which has facilities all over the country can perform these types of tests.