Newborn Drug Testing: Laboratory Testing Options and What to Expect From Results


This presentation provides an overview of newborn drug testing, with emphasis on testing meconium and/or umbilical cord tissue, which are neonatal specimens that can be used to detect in utero drug exposures. Guidance for interpretation of results and investigation of unexpected results is discussed as well.

Originally published on January 4, 2023

Lecture Presenter

Gwendolyn A. McMillin, PhD

Gwendolyn A. McMillin, PhD

University of Utah School of Medicine
Scientific Director, Mass Spectrometry Platform; Medical Director, Clinical Toxicology and Pharmacogenomics
ARUP Laboratories

Dr. Gwendolyn A. McMillin is the scientific director of the mass spectrometry platform at ARUP Laboratories as well as the medical director of Clinical Toxicology and Pharmacogenomics. She is also a professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. McMillin received her doctorate degree in pharmacology from the University of Utah, where she also completed a clinical chemistry fellowship. Dr. McMillin is board certified in clinical chemistry and toxicological chemistry. Her research interests include pharmacogenomics, newborn drug exposures, and analytical methods. She is the recipient of the Past Chair award, the Ellis Benson Young Investigator award, and the Outstanding Speaker award.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast specimen types used to detect drug-exposed newborns
  • List challenges associated with comparing cutoffs for meconium and umbilical cord drug tests
  • Describe how unexpected newborn drug testing results should be investigated

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories