Just because someone is positive for a drug screen it does not necessarily follow that that individual has been abusing a drug. Certainly, someone who has used a prohibited drug like, say, Cocaine could be said to be abusing drugs. But if someone were positive for Codeine, and if that person had a prescription for Codeine, that does not necessarily mean that the individual was abusing Codeine. On the other hand, it does not follow either that the individual was not abusing the Codeine. The problem is, lay people like social workers, attorneys and Third Party drug screen administrators do not have the scientific training to be able to analyze and understand those distinctions and make these kinds of determinations. This is where the Medical Review Officer (MRO) comes into play.
An MRO is a licensed physician, either MD or DO, who has undergone additional training to become certified as a Medical Review Officer under federal guidelines. The MRO will review results and other records, interview the client if necessary, and may take other actions to interpret the particular circumstances surrounding a contested positive drug screen or a drug screen being reviewed for potential abuse. She or he will then issue a professional opinion as to whether the positive is a true positive or should be seen as a negative drug screen–or if it appears the client may be abusing a prescription medication. The MRO opinion is admissible in court.
We are fortunate to have Daniel Fink MD, Mph as part of the Span team available to provide MRO services. See Staff for more information on Dr Fink.