A confirmation test is able to definitively detect individual compounds by matching them to a commercially prepared reference standard using one of the following:
- GC-MS (Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry)
- GC-MS/MS (Gas Chromatography – Tandem Mass Spectrometry)
- LC-MS/MS (Liquid Chromatography – Tandem Mass Spectrometry)
Confirmation tests provide qualitative results of drugs and/or drug metabolites present in the sample.
Drugs are rapidly metabolised in the body to aid excretion and detection of the resulting metabolites indicates drug use by the donor. Sometimes it is only the metabolites that are positive in a confirmation test. For example, heroin is rapidly broken down to 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM) and cocaine is rapidly broken down to benzoylecgonine. Detection of these metabolites demonstrates use of heroin and cocaine respectively. Only a confirmation test would allow the laboratory to make the distinction between illicit, prescription medicines or over the counter medication
Confirmation results are expressed as positive or negative and are legally defensible.