advanced. accurate. focused.

Southwest Labs is focused on a single area of specialization – clinical drug testing. Because of our dedication to minimizing drug abuse in New Mexico, and our expertise and experience in this field of concern, we choose not to be an all-things-to-all people laboratory.

New Mexico requires use of the State’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) by all physicians who prescribe controlled substances. Because of rampant abuse and misuse of prescription medications, strict protocols of accurate patient testing are imperative, and the PDMP is an important part of this process. However, knowing what a patient is prescribed is only half the information – practitioners need to know what their patients are taking. This is the role of the toxicology laboratory. And not all tests are created equal.

Many physicians use first generation immunoassay (IA) and point of care testing (POCT), which can be 30% inaccurate or second generation, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GSMS) technology. Drug test inaccuracies, including false positives and false negatives, occurring at these alarming rates is simply not acceptable, especially if reducing medication diversion and abuse is a true goal.

Therefore, Southwest Labs uses the most advanced drug testing instrumentation available – liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), which is 99% accurate. Using this technology, physician monitoring programs are truly effective, patient care is administered at a higher level, and the physicians and caregivers take an active role in reducing drug abuse and preventing overdoses.

In addition, Southwest Labs assists practitioners in establishing and maintaining effective internal patient monitoring protocols, thereby supporting medicolegal requirements, elevating patient compliance, and actively lowering drug abuse and overdose deaths in our state.

ASAM encourages wider and “smarter” use of drug testing within the practice of medicine and, beyond that, broadly within American society. Smarter drug testing means increased use of random testing rather than the more common scheduled testing, and it means testing not only urine but also other matrices such as blood, oral fluid (saliva), hair, nails, sweat, and breath when those matrices match the intended assessment process …Smarter testing means testing based upon clinical indication for a broad and rotating panel of drugs rather than only testing for the traditional five-drug panel that was designed not by practicing physicians or researchers, but by the federal government for government-mandated testing …Smarter testing means improved sample collection and detection technologies to decrease sample adulteration and substitution …Smarter drug testing means careful consideration of the financial costs of testing in relationship to the value and in many cases, medical necessity, of the test results. It means considering the advantages and limitations of the many testing technologies available today.

– Drug Testing: A White Paper of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)