Last updated on Sep 5, Facts Types of tests Workplace testing Drug detection times How long to get ? False positives More resources. Drug testing is the evaluation of urine, blood or another type of biological sample to determine if the subject has been using the drug or drugs in question.
There are many circumstances that may require drug testing:. Drug testing is often done when applying for employment, especially for positions that may involve federal transportation, airline industries and pilots, bus drivers, trucker drivers, railways, hospitals, and other workplaces where public safety is of the utmost importance. However, workplace drug testing is now common in general for many U.
Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in the U. Costs are related to crime, lost work productivity and health care. The rate of positive pre-employment workforce drug screens in the general U. A pre-employment drug test is primarily limited to drugs with the potential for abuse, including some prescription drugs, and alcohol.
In addition, sports drug testing may be required for college-level, professional and Olympic athletes.
Illegal recreational drugs, performance-enhancing drugs such as. Pre-employment workplace drug testing usually requires the applicant to give a urine sample, but may also infrequently require blood, saliva, sweat, or hair. In certain jobs, especially those that require a high level of safety, employees may be subject to random drug testing, as well.
Random drug screening may be used in instances of workplace accidents, and if the employer has suspicion that the employee is abusing drugs. Random drug testing may occur without cause for suspicion depending upon company policy. States may have laws regarding random drug testing. Some U. It is important to be sure that the drug testing occurs at a reputable and certified laboratory.
Urine drug testing
Any credible drug screening program will involve a two-step process. The immunoassay is performed first and is often used as a screening method. If the immunoassay is negative, no further action is required, and the are reported as negative. If the sample is non-negative, an additional confirmatory GC-MS analysis is performed on a separate portion the biological sample.
Confirmatory tests, such as GC-MS should be utilized prior to reporting positive drug test to employers. Urine is the most common sample type used for drug testing by employers. A urinalysis will show the presence of a drug in the system after the drug effects have worn off; however, the length of time varies by drug.
What you need to know about pre-employment drug tests
Urine is the only sample type approved for testing of the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce. Typical urine drug tests for employment purposes usually screen for 5 to 10 drugs. Urine screening may detect amphetamines or methamphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, MDA-analogues MDA or MDMAopiates codeine, morphine, 6-acetylmorphine [indicative of heroin use], hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, oxycodonenicotine, or alcohol. After urine drug screening, oral fluid saliva testing is the most common method to test for drug use.
It may be referred to as a mouth swab test, and used if an employer or other tester is interested in knowing about recent drug use. It is not ideal to survey long-term use of drugs. Most saliva drug tests can detect usage within a few hours up to 2 days. The donor should avoid any food or beverages for at least 10 minutes prior to the sample being collected. Saliva is an easy lab test to gather samples, is less susceptible to adulteration or substitution, and can be tested for alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana THCopiates, amphetamines, phencyclidine PCPand methamphetamines.
It is suitable for all testing reasons, including pre-employment testing, random and post-accident testing.
A blood drug test may be used to determine amounts of drug in an employees system at that very moment, usually from minutes to hours. It allows an employer or law enforcement official to determine if a person is actively under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A variety of drugs can be tested for in blood: examples include alcoho, amphetamines, cocaine, fentanyl, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, phencyclidine, nicotine, and tramadol. Blood testing is invasive, requiring a needle stick, but there is little chance for adulteration.
Blood testing may be performed in the emergency room for toxicology testing, as well. However, blood analysis often has a short period of detection, as many illicit drugs are metabolized quickly and eliminated from the body. Drugs in urine can usually be detected in a one to three day time period. Hair testing may be used to determine drug use over the longer term, usually over a day period of time.
Hair can be tested for cocaine, marijuana and THC, cocaine, opiates, amphetamine and methamphetamine, ecstasy, phencyclidine, and alcohol. In general, hair testing allows the longest time frame to detect drugs of abuse.
The collector usually takes a gram sample of hair to strands cut close to the scalp. This method lessens the risk for hair adulteration or substitution, as the sample is collected in full view of the lab personnel. Rapid screening can allow detection of drugs that might metabolize quickly and not be detectable at a later screening.
Screening for most drugs of abuse and alcohol can be performed.
Drug testing in the workplace
Rapid tests can be performed at an employers workplace or at a local, specified laboratory clinic. A breath alcohol confirmation may be required for a positive screen for alcohol with the instant test. Rapid tests often utilize urine or saliva for testing. One advantage to rapid tests is that they provide a screening result within 4 hours on average. Any specimens that screen positive would still require a confirmatory test. Confirmatory test are typically available in 2 to 3 days. An applicant is notified that pre-employment drug testing will need to take place as part of the application process.
They may have to present to the laboratory within a specified time frame, for example within 24 hours, to lessen the chance that drugs in their system will be excreted and undetectable. Applicants are directed to a specific laboratory to submit a sample for drug screening usually for urine test. Once at the facility, the applicant must submit a sample at the discretion of the laboratory personnel and in keeping with their standard policies. Hair, sweat, saliva or blood drug test samples may also be used in pre-employment drug screen, although this is not common practice.
During the laboratory evaluation, strict chain-of-custody practices and standards are followed to prevent adulteration of the sample.
5 panel drug test
This legal procedure requires documentation of each person who handles the specimen through the entire phase of testing. Certain laboratory procedures may require direct visual observation while the specimen is being voided, although this is not common. This occurs most often when the donor has ly attempted to tamper with a sample. Employers may use a standard five-panel test of "street drugs" that may include any of the following substances:.
Some employers may elect a ten-panel drug test that also includes any of the above plus:. Alcohol drug testing may also occur. Other more recent deer drugs of abuse may be included. Which drug test is used is dependent upon the private employer, federal or state requirements, or other workplace guidelines that may be in place.
Many variables may affect the amount of time that a drug remains detectable in the urine or other biological samples, including:. General guidelines are available for detection times. Many drugs stay in the system from 2 to 4 days, although chronic use of marijuana can stay in the system for 3 to 4 weeks or even longer after the last use. Drugs with a long half-life, such as diazepammay also stay in the system for a prolonged period of time.
Many variables may affect the amount of time that a drug remains detectable in the urine or other biological samples. Some employees may ask does alcohol show up on a drug test?
Alcohol has a short half-life in the urine. A urine drug test for alcohol may detect alcohol for 2 to 12 hours. from workplace drug testing are fairly quick and can usually be received in a few days. An employer may also request to have the test done with a rapid test that can provide on the same day. Negative are usually received within 24 hours; however, a non-negative screen will require further testing that may take a few days up to one week.
If the initial screen is negative, a medical review officer MRO will typically contact the employer with the. If a positive result occurs, a MRO will contact the applicant for further questioning. It is important to notify the laboratory or MRO of any medications currently in use, including prescriptionover-the-counter or herbal medications. The applicant may have to provide proof of a valid prescription and prescriber information for prescription medications.
A concern for anyone undergoing drug testing is the possibility of a false positive result. Initial screening drugs tests may infrequently result in false positivealthough confirmatory GC-MS testing greatly lessens the chances of a false positive - reducing the risk to close to zero. It is important that a person undergoing drug testing complete an accurate history of all prescription, OTC, and herbal drug use prior to the time of the sample collection. Certain substances, over-the-counter OTC or prescription drugs may result in false positives due to cross-reactivity with other substances, although many assays have been reformulated to avoid these possibilities.